Apple is partnering with Oprah Winfrey in a major new multi-year deal for original content.
The agreement, which was announced at the end of this week, will see the TV legend create original programmes for Apple TV. It’s a huge coup for the technology and music titan, as it seeks to catch up with Netflix and Amazon and establish its own video service as a serious player.
Apple has a long way to go, with its rivals already racing several years ahead, but the company has rapidly assembled an impressive team and is spending heavily to line up a starry slate of content. That includes a documentary about Ed Sheeran, snapped up at the Tribeca Film Festival, a new TV series based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy from David S. Goyer, a morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a space drama from Ronald D. Moore, a show from Damien Chazelle, a comedy starring Kristin Wiig, a psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, a drama called See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, and a reboot of Spielberg anthology Amazing Stories.
Oprah, though, is a deal that tops the lot. Not just a talk show host or actress, Winfrey’s extensive career ranges from esteemed producer and philanthropist to publisher and CEO of OWN, making her a powerhouse in the media world. Apple acknowledged her “incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world” in a statement announcing the deal.
Apple’s total commitment to its TV push is reportedly around $1 billion, a drop in the ocean compared to Netflix’s $8 billion it is spending this year alone. While Netflix has the Obamas on board, not to mention Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes in exclusive in-house deals, Apple’s ability to sign Oprah is a promising sign of what it has in store.