Apple rumored to back Dr. Dre TV project – WTSP 10 News

11 months ago Comments Off on Apple rumored to back Dr. Dre TV project – WTSP 10 News

SAN FRANCISCO — Dr. Dre is busy filming a dark, six-episode drama called Vital Signs and his financial patron may be none other than tech giant Apple, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter Friday.

If accurate, this would represent Apple’s first official foray into scripted content. The move echoes the already successful efforts of technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix, whose shows Transparent and Narcos, respectively, have gained significant critical acclaim and shifted the entertainment axis from Hollywood offices to Silicon Valley boardrooms.

Apple spokesperson Christine Monaghan declined to comment on the report, as did representatives from Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, the parent company of Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment label.

Apple has been at the center of speculation with regard to a number of possible business ventures, none of which have been confirmed. Those rumored projects include automobile manufacturing and virtual reality goggle development. In both arenas, Apple would be playing catch-up to efforts such as Google’s six-year-old self-driving car program and Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset, which is set to hit consumers this year along with other VR launches.

Industry watchers began speculating that Apple would get into content production a year ago, when there was also an expectation that a revamped Apple TV would be able to grab a larger share of viewers that increasingly are getting their binge-worthy content from streaming services as opposed to cable TV providers. When the new Apple TV bowed last fall, it was considered not a big enough technology leap to reshape the landscape.

That said, getting into the content creation game is viewed as critical for companies that hope to differentiate themselves with consumers in the streaming space, saysGreg Boyer, a partner in PwC’s entertainment, media and communications practice.

“This would be a logical move (for Apple), because the cost of acquiring marquee content (for your service) is extremely high,” says Boyer. In fact, Netflix and Amazon both spent millions at the recent Sundance Film Festival to acquire streaming rights to new movies.

“You have to hook consumers, and the most compelling way to do that is not through stale, old programming but original shows,” he says, adding that Apple partnering with an established cultural figure such as Dr. Dre is a savvy move. “Between his success as a recording artist and movie producer, people will tune in. If this is a risk (for Apple), then it’s one with great upside.”

The speculation that Apple (AAPL) may be entering the content-production space did not impact its stock Friday, which remained even at $93. Apple and other FANG tech stocks – Facebook, Netflix and Google, now re-named Alphabet – have all taken significant hits in the new year, leading to expectations of broad reassessments of private and public tech company valuations.

Apple’s falling stock price — down 20% from $115 three months ago — is being pegged largely to reduced expectations around future iPhone sales as well as Chinese economic woes.

If Apple is indeed funding Dr. Dre’s project, it could represent a relatively risk-free dipping of toes in content production waters. Six 30-minute episodes don’t represent the financial burden typical of longer series with elaborate locations and production schedules. And the connection between the 50-year-old rap icon and the storied tech company is hardly random. Apple bought Beats Electronics, which was started by Dr. Dre and record executive Jimmy Iovine, for $3 billion in 2014.

Apple made the purchase less for the company’s popular $300 headphones and more for its innovative streaming music service, Beats Music, which boasted playlists curated by humans as opposed to algorithms. Apple used Beats Music as the anchor for its new Apple Music service, which debuted last year and features a live radio station, Beats 1.

It is unclear whether Dr. Dre’s series will be made available to consumers as a pay-per-episode option on iTunes or perhaps as free content to those who pay monthly for Apple Music.

According the anonymously sourced THR article, Vital Signs’ semi-autobiographical episodes have already begun production in Los Angeles. The first shoot allegedly included a group orgy scene. The dramatic life of Dr. Dre, born Andre Young, was a focal point of the 2015 feature film Straight Outta Compton, the story of the rise of one of the L.A. rap scene’s seminal groups, N.W.A.

Apple rumored to back Dr. Dre TV project – WTSP 10 News

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