While details about Apple’s original content plans are still largely unknown, the news that it signed a deal with the independent studio A24 has made some waves. The Hollywood Reporter says that deal in addition to industry giant Paramount Pictures making a multi-picture pact with Netflix shows just how much the entertainment industry is changing.
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The Hollywood Reporter notes that while studios like Disney and Warner Bros. are steering clear of Netflix, Paramount Pictures has this month partnered up with the streaming service.
At a time when competitors Disney and Warner Bros. are withholding their movies from Netflix to feed their own future streaming services, Paramount is trying another tactic: becoming a ready supplier in exchange for what Gianopulos called “an incremental revenue stream.”
THR says that deal and Apple’s news about partnering with A24 who produced popular films like Lady Bird, Moonlight, Eighth Grade, and more are signals about the big changes happening in the entertainment industry.
Taken together, the deals represent a major shift in the industry: Movie studios are no longer making films just for themselves, but for the deep-pocketed technology companies that have become Hollywood’s latest conquistadors. And it’s not hard to visualize a time soon when an iconic studio like Paramount becomes a mere supplier.
The report mentions that these agreements also allow studios to produce content that might not be a good fit for “theatrical release.”
In producing new films designed for Netflix from the greenlighting stage, Paramount will mine its IP and creative relationships to make movies that might not justify the expense of a theatrical release, most likely the decent dramas and mid-budget movies that have a hard time luring audiences in a marketplace driven by tentpoles.
It’s still unclear exactly how Apple will make its original content available, but the company has said that its new shows could launch as soon as March 2019. The deal with A24 is said to include both TV shows and films and has been interpreted by USB professor, Jason Squire, as a statement about the type of content they’re committing to.
“Apple is projecting an aesthetic by committing first to A24,” says Jason Squire, author of The Movie Business Book and professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. “They’re making a statement that they are committed to these mid-range, independent movies.”
It seems like Netflix may have a big lead in the original content space over Apple for now. However, at least one analyst thinks Apple could seriously compete with Netflix by 2025 and generate $4 billion in revenue with its original content.
Though the A24 deal is a tiny transaction for Apple, the largest company in the world, it’s part of a pivotal retrenchment in the movie industry — how Apple and Netflix deploy their billions is already reshaping the next generation of film.