Yep, Apple is the Problem with Apple’s Video Service

Posted on March 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Music + Videos with 90 Comments

Image credit: Peter Wells

As I predicted, Apple’s “intrusive” executives are slowing down production of the firm’s TV and movie efforts specifically because they will not allow adult content. And by adult content, I don’t mean sex or porn: I mean, content that any reasonable adult would consider compelling.

This is what happens when the nanny state acts as a gate-keeper to the devices it sells to consumers. So not only is Apple working to prevent certain kinds of content from appearing on users’ iPhones and iPads. It is explicitly working to prevent specific content from appearing there.

According to a report in The New York Post, content makers are freaking out over how difficult Apple is to work with, citing its “lack of transparency,” “lack of clarity,” and “intrusive executives,” which, yes, includes the biggest nanny of them all, CEO Tim Cook.

“Tim Cook is giving notes and getting involved,” a producer who has worked with Apple told the publication. One of the CEO’s most repeated notes is “don’t be so mean!,” the source said.

Don’t be so … mean? Oh man.

That Cook is personally involving himself in the production of shows that will air on Apple’s coming video service was confirmed by multiple sources. Cook only wants content that is family friendly, and he refuses to air anything controversial, like content about religion or the negative uses of technology. That Cook is doing this, of course, is perhaps more controversial than the topics he’d prefer to avoid.

“Apple will make only wholesome, G-rated content in a world that is drenched by the R-rated super-hits we see from HBO, Hulu, Netflix, and others,” I noted last month. “Most TV shows don’t fit neatly into the Disney-like Puritan worldview of Tim Cook and today’s Apple.”

I also made another prediction in that post: That Apple, like Microsoft before it, will discover that creating content—as opposed to just distributing it—makes no sense at all for the firm. “It’s just not in Apple’s wheelhouse,” I wrote.

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Comments (90)

90 responses to “Yep, Apple is the Problem with Apple’s Video Service”

  1. dontbe evil

    hopefully they'll kill their self with their stupidity and arrogance

  2. j_c

    I am all for it! We need more G and PG content. We have the R-rated stuff covered fine.

    Also Disney isn't the only outlet for this. HGTV, Animal Planet, Hallmark, Discovery, etc. There is a very big audience for TV that isn't dripping with profanity, sex and violence.

  3. Patrick3D

    Looking forward to the return of The Martinetti's, wonder what they'll bring home this time?

  4. rm

    I definitely see Tim Cook in the role of someone trying to protect the world from itself; kind of like some movies "The Giver", "1984", or "Divergent". Not a good rule . . .

  5. jrjr

    Luckily we live in a free country. If you don't like their stuff you don't have to subscribe to and watch it.

  6. Mark from CO


    I'm confused also. You seem to be suggesting that Apple push the barriers of its own content. Which, based on your article, they don't seem to want to do. It's their choice, what's the problem?

    What I'm waiting for is a scathing article from you on Facebook and others, who truly seems to believe they are the 'nanny-state gatekeeper' who routinely remove content from Facebook and other sites that does not meet their obtuse and oblique set of requirements that no one on the outside knows or understands.

    Censoring others (Facebook) without recourse is in an entirely different and dark world than censoring yourself (Apple). Maybe we need more of the latter in this world that is characterized by its divisiveness.

    • zybch

      In reply to Mark from CO:

      Go read Cook's latest "I am the saviour" comment.

      "ech firms that don’t ban certain people and material from social media and tech platforms are guilty of “sin.”

      Whos dictating what that content is? I sure as hell don't want some smarmy religious happy clapper telling me what I can and can't watch.

  7. Brockman

    I see a puzzle box, Paul sees a soapbox. This is Paul near his worst-- which admittedly is still 1000% better than most other writers at their worst. He gets something in his head (e.g. Apple shouldn't make content) and thereafter all things will point back to that central thesis. Never mind that drawing a parallel to Microsoft's efforts in the 90's makes no sense because the world of video production and distribution has radically changed. And because it is Apple, he will inevitably weave in his particular Apple/Tim Cook grievances about hubris, over-reach, nanny-state-ism, etc. For the next year or two we'll be treated to multiple pieces that rehash these points, with a few new comments sprinkled between long excerpts from previous posts. It is tiring, and it is largely free of critical analysis.

    There are a million interesting business questions to explore but Paul just throws up his hands and says "pointless". Why should Apple create content? Why does anyone create content? What is the benefit to creating content vs. just distributing it? Is there a market for family-friendly content? Is this a viable niche? Who would this appeal to? What are the pro's and con's for Apple of staking out such a position? Who does that put them in competition with? What might the distribution strategy look like? Will it broadly available or only on Apple devices? Why or why not? We don't get any of that here.

    The site already has a "Premium" badge. Maybe we can add badges for "News", "Analysis" and "Opinion" so we know what to expect when clicking on a link?

    • Craig Smith

      In reply to Brockman: I think you've misunderstood the article. Paul feels that the extensive interference in the productions and the creative process - as reported by others, not him - has the potential to hinder the success of their platform. At least to me, he was not suggesting Apple shouldn't have a video service with original content.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Brockman:

      I think the point you missed is that it’s questionable whether a company can crank out movies the way a company cranks out phones. The center of movie and tv entertainment for a century has been Hollywood, with all its peculiarities. Hollywood specializes in dealing with creativity of a very ephemeral nature. If the movie doesn’t excite or touch the heart of the viewer it will be mediocre at best, This is not something engineers and engineering CEOs are trained to do. And Apple isn’t doing this as a lark or one off project, they expect to make a sustainable business on this.

      Hollywood is a creative sector that, with the exception of sequels, requires original and creative thinking. Completely unlike cranking out laptops or phones, which merely requires a slight update to a long ago original idea.

      The head of HBO has stepped down now that ATT has started running its creative acquisition like it runs the rest of the corporation. It’ll be interesting to see if HBO stays at its creative level or if Apple achieves any creative level at all. Five years from now HBO may be a much less exciting version of itself and Apple will have given up. That’s my bet.

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to Greg Green:

        Yep, I agree the issue of interference raises a question about long-term viability. OTOH, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect Apple to have a bit of a learning curve here. Nor is it surprising that Apple would want to be a little more hands-on given they're trying to protect their brand. I think the concern here is the "SEE, I TOLD YOU SO" tone of the article when we're still months away from having any real sense of how this is (or isn't) working.

  8. Hoomgar

    LOL!  Apple.  Why was I not surprised at all after I read this?

  9. PeterC

    In reply to Stooks:

    Nope. I’m simply pointing out what in my opinion Apple are doing.

  10. m_p_w_84

    There's plenty of competition in this space. If the content from Apple isn't competitive the service will fail. Simples.

  11. slerched

    This is a little confusing as written.

    If this is truly just about Apple's own content and not them wanting to prevent "compelling adult content" from iOS / Mac users, then who cares? If it were about removing "compelling" adult content from the iTunes and their services, then yeah, get all up in arms about it since THAT would be BS.

    Disney can make family friendly content and when they don't, they pretend it isn't them and use another studio's name to hide they actually own the content (Princess Mononoke original DVD release comes to mind being on Disney owned Miramax when back when Miramax existed).

    Apple is welcome to make whatever content they want. If people don't want to see violence, rape, murder, blood, etc with "adult" language in it, they will watch it. Disney has titles that show that content can be created that is compelling to adults without any of the above... maybe Apple can too.

    And if Apple tries, neuters its content purposefully and fails, well, they get what they deserve trying to create uncompelling content G, PG or even XXX regardless.

  12. waethorn

    Say bye-bye to another Deadpool movie.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Waethorn:


      I rented both of those movies off of iTunes. You can do that right now, even purchase them. Apple does not make those movies and will not make something like them but they will sell them.

      • jgraebner

        In reply to Stooks:

        Admittedly their was some doubt about whether Deadpool would continue to be R-rated now that is is moving under Disney (and supposedly the PG-13 re-cut that came out last December was kind of a test), but they've recently indicated that they still expect to produce R-rated films under the Fox brand.

  13. datameister

    I for one, hope they can pull this off. The "adult" content coming from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon seems like decent PG-13 stories but trashed up with 20-30 uses of F--- and S--- for no other reason than to slap the TV-MA or R rating on it. That's poor storytelling and makes most of the so called adult shows not worth watching.

    There are very few stories that actually require an abundance of profanity to tell properly so it would be nice if the writers, directors, and actors could take the time to think about their verbs and adjectives instead of just using F--- and S--- everywhere they can fit it in.

    I don't normally buy anything from Apple, but if they can build out a decent library of well told stories and if they make it cross platform, they might have a new customer.

  14. zybch

    Unsurprising for a man who recently compared apple to a religion. In his latest proclamation involving religion, Cook said explicitly:

    "tech firms that don’t ban certain people and material from social media and tech platforms are guilty of “sin.”

    And apparently he sees himself as the arbiter or morality here.

    Hes a Happy Clapper religious nut that, like the rest of them, seek to impose their morality, twisted as it might be, onto the world.

    We DO NOT need corporations to act like this, dictating what is and isn't suitable for mature adults to watch. I'm sure he'd be perfectly happy if ALL any TV service ever showed was The Waltons.

    With their profits flatlining, and stupid statements like that, its not going to be long before they kick this idiot out and bring in someone why actually wants to get the company back into more profitable terms rather than playing 2nd fiddle to both MS and Amazon. Being head of the first corporation to breach the $1trillion mark means nothing if they were only able to hold that position for less than a month and are now well under that while others have reached and then stayed above it.

  15. truerock2

    My wife mostly watches things on the Lifetime TV network. The things she mostly watches put me in a stupor after about 1 minute. But, I guess there are a lot of people who like that kind of thing. Nevertheless, we watch Vikings (History Channel) together and that is very edgy compared to what my wife normally watches - and, amazingly she watches Game of Thrones (HBO) with me - and, GOT is way edgy.

    I think it is really difficult to anticipate where people want a line drawn within the context of sex and violence.

    Do ultra-conservative people consider Game of Thrones acceptable entertainment?

  16. cddouglas

    While I enjoy darker shows and content, I also would like to see a return to more family-oriented content being available, the sort that I could watch with my 10 year-old niece, 6 year-old nephew or 86 year-old mother and not cringe when some overt or not so overt sexual comment is made, let alone profanity, nudity, or sex. I'm no prude but there is a time and place for everything.

    I disagree with Paul, Apple may be a "nanny state" but it has sure worked well for them to this point hasn't it. The walled garden is well designed, safer than alternatives and a large percentage of users in the US seem to prefer it. Apple has every right to control the content produced and consumed under its name. At least it knows who it wants to be, unlike Microsoft.

  17. wocowboy

    It is NOT censorship when a PRIVATE company decides they do not want to be known for producing or selling porn, or any specific type of content for that matter, to their customers. If the owner of a convenience store does not want to sell Penthouse in their store, that is just fine, and is not censorship. They have the perfectly legal right to determine what is sold in their privately-owned store. If the government owned the store, it would be censorship if they refused to sell Penthouse. The government is not telling Apple what they can and cannot produce for their video service beyond what laws exist, and if Apple wants to abide by those laws a little more than what is stated in those laws, fine and dandy. I have no problem with what Apple or Tim Cook is doing. The service will either succeed or fail based on what they produce, the market will decide. They are not required by the government or anyone to produce pornography or "edgy" content.

  18. Tony Barrett

    This is about sanitizing users, control and perception. Apple want to be perceived as squeaky clean - a company for families if you like. Yes, you can make content like this, and historically Americans have lapped this stuff up. Years of totally inoffensive, dumbed down, closed set comedy shows loaded with canned laughter and punchlines you can see coming so far off you can take a holiday while you wait. But, there are a very large percentage of viewers now who prefer darker, edgier content with adult themes - much more 'real world'. That's what's attracting viewers these days - breaking the mold if you like. Even Hollywood know this, with more and more adult rated movies like Deadpool - very adult, very successful. Apple might regret this decision, and the meddling they seem intent on to ensure zero offensive content.

  19. kjb434

    This is a completely opposite of how Netflix and HBO operate their services. Netflix and HBO give their productions full creative independence and a bank role to fund it.

    Apple has money, but acts like a school marm butting in on every little detail. This makes broadcast TV censors look quite lenient.

    The issue Apple will run into is that the volume of creators that are willing operate with straight jackets on is minimum. There isn't a lot of money in PG and G content. The market is limited because kids just don't watch the amount of TV their parents use to in the past. Disney has eliminated cartoons and using 3D animation which is cheap for G and PG content. Sesame Street jumped to HBO for funding reasons since they would need advertisers to stay on PBS.

    • j_c

      In reply to kjb434:

      Except for the billions of dollars generated every time Disney, Dreamworks or Sony release a new animated family-friendly movie. You know, the ones A list Hollywood actors race to be a part of.

  20. Xatom

    More credit to them if they can pull it off. There is to much extraneous sex, violence, cursing and low brow appeal in most of what is offered up. Said differently, the entertainment oligops deliver the equivelant of the worst quality fact food using ketchup, sugar and sauces to disguise it. That the Twilight Zone, the Original Star Trek, Honeymooners and films like To Kill A Mockingbird can endure says the problem is a bang it out to make a buck culture in Hollywood. Pushing the envelope culturally has some benefits but you can push so far you end up debasing that which truly matters. I look forward to what Apple creates. Hopefully they will deliver something that isn't 1960s Disney but not the demeaning material being churned out today.

  21. gvan

    Apple is just terrified of SJWs and other other leftists, many of whom work at the company. For example, a movie like Ghost Busters with the EPA is the bad guy and capitalist entrepreneurs as the good guys can not be made today. These pressure group tactics were invented by the right wingers in the 80’s and 90’s so they are guilty too.

  22. locust infested orchard inc

    I take exception to Paul's assertion that Apple is the problem to its soon-to-be-unveiled video streaming service. Rather its executives and Tim Cook, if indeed the New York Post has authentically quoted Tim Cook with his remarks of "don't be so mean", are to be applauded in standing firm on the moral high ground, with their insistence that all forms of unsavoury ills of society and controversy are not to be themed in any of Apple's productions.

    Tim Cook et al rather than being "intrusive" or "nitpicking" are actually in a position of power to coordinate and set right the corrupt institution of Hollywood, which churns out mindless frivolities to feed our minds, in addition to the real life rampant sexual misconduct and indiscretions amongst the male so-called A-list in Tinseltown.

    The suggestion by those Hollywood agents and producers that Apple executives are "intrusive" with their demands of the direction of the script demonstrates Hollywood has never been directed by another entity, nor has it ever submitted itself to something/someone else, and nor would it accept a change from their set agenda from outsiders.

    For more than a century, the powerful within Hollywood have dictated what themes were viewed in cinemas in the Western World, inch-by-inch incorporating dystopian vision of society, attempts to break the silence on issues considered as taboo, immoral decadence, inappropriate sexual themes, nudity, and a license to depict war with not an ounce of regard for the innocent civilians who have been persecuted by the waring factions throughout the beleaguered history of man.

    With the presence of Apple in Hollywood directing how content should be made, I am hopeful that the actors and actresses that have worked in productions for Apple will come to recognise that Hollywood's approach to acquiring a box office mega blockbuster with the articulate use of profanity, tasteful nudity, suggestive storylines, mindless violence, amongst other things, is totally inappropriate and unnecessary, and the Apple way of content production is the way forward.

    Unlikely as this may sound to those who know my stance on Apple, I wish Apple's content creation and video streaming service a beaming success, rewarded for their clean output by profitability. Tim Cook genuinely has a bright future as a director within Hollywood – his core talents are not being realised at Apple.

    Trending on Twatter:


  23. skane2600

    "nanny state"? What is, this the principality of Apple?

    No need to parade out tired old tropes.

  24. jgraebner

    It is interesting to see reports of Cook interfering this much with the content producers in light of how Steve Jobs handled Pixar. Despite his reputation as the ultimate control freak, it is pretty widely reported by the creatives at Pixar that Jobs essentially left them alone, only stepping in with the business side or on occasions when his advice was requested. He recognized that content creation wasn't his area and that Pixar had other people who excelled in it that should be allowed to do their jobs.

    I will say that I'm not at all troubled by Apple's decision to stick to family-friendly programming as I think that is an under-served market. I see that as largely a separate issue from excessive network interference. In fact, that problem does come up on the other side as well, with some of the current content producers exerting too much pressure for "R-rated" content. A particularly glaring example was Amazon's Jack Ryan series from last year, which had some extremely gratuitous sex and nudity that added little to the story while being out of sync with the previous incarnations of the franchise.

  25. Subhadip Sen

    My sympathies to the content creators. Making films and TV is not like hardware, it's all subjective, and the writers, directors and producers should be given ample room to express themselves. Dull hardware is passable if functional, but content is subjective. And yes, of course, even G-rated content from Pixar, Disney are inherently political. Artists wouldn't bother if they had nothing to express about their worldview. Remove the drama, and you'll have a soulless, boring shell of a show that no one will engage with. They should stick to hardware. Or hire people from Hollywood/HBO/Netflix, who know what the hell they are doing. But of course, it's the typical Apple arrogance - they know everything better than everyone! With this attitude, they will never diversify successfully, and will face a slow decline while the world moves on from smartphones.

    PS: "They want a positive view of technology" - I'm afraid this is not content. It is propaganda. No one is going to pay for this nonsense. (Well, apart from the millions of Apple zealots...)

    • datameister

      In reply to Sen1:

      I think "creators" often get too much slack to be lazy and then call it "their vision" when a much better product could be created if they spent more time to hone all the steps in the process. There are good ways and bad ways to tell the same basic story and for someone like Apple that is writing the check, you don't necessarily want to say they can't contribute ideas to get a product they want to sell.

      I realize it is possible to micro manage things into a worse product, but we have no idea if that is what is happening or if some of these producers are just being a cry baby for being force to do the extra work to refine their product.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Sen1:

      So you are saying Apple should just write a check and let them do whatever. No. Everyone content producer should pick what content they want to produce. They HAVE hired very successful people from Hollywood. I think we should wait for the content to come out before we criticize it.

  26. darrellprichard

    I have zero interest in a Disney wannabe streaming service. Cook has royally fudged this up.

  27. Stooks

    I predict this and their new "News" service will fail hard. Apple = iPhone/iPad. Everything else is "meh" at best.

    Their iPhone/iPad business is being driven by huge momentum and their false "privacy" stance which is only a thing because they sell hardware and limited services tied to that hardware. If they deepened upon ad sales like Google, Facebook, Twitter and others their privacy stance would be completely different.

    That said they have lots of "meh" products that make serious money for now. (Watch, Mac etc).

  28. rob_segal

    Apple is very controlling. This intrusiveness is to be expected. Millions of Apple fans will subscribe to the service. They will subscribe to anything Apple. However, can it grow beyond the hardcore Apple fans with G-rated content only? Creating good cinematic or television drama without any kind of adult content will be difficult to consistently do. Even children cartoons in the 1980's had violence. You can have too-family-friendly content in addition to adult content (at least cartoon violence). Every other streaming service, television network, and movie studio have struck this balance.

  29. Jason Peter

    To be honest, Im okay with their not putting on R-rated original media like the sorts that Netflix and HBO are prone to do. We have enough of that already to the point that Im sick of it.

    My fear is, Apple is going to produce only liberal/progressive G-rated content that leans far left of typical Disney kids-fare. I’m not opposed to some of that. But it needs to be balanced in a moderate form. I don’t think Apple is capable of doing that. I fear that with original media, Apple is going to be as tone-deaf as Microsoft is with their brand advertising.

    My wish would be to just open up large amounts of iTunes movies/TV for subscription, much like an Apple Music subscription. cripes, I’d pay 3-4 times what I pay for Netflix or HBO just for that alone minus the original content.

    But yeah, if wishes were kisses, I’d be a happy man but not much else. I guy can dream...

    Im figuring at best, Apples video service is going to be mediocre at first. But hopefully they can learn from their mistakes as time goes on, listen to feedback, and make appropriate course-corrections. They have the necessary money to burn towards carrying the service for a few years without profit while they slowly gain membership as content and experience theoretically gets better (remember, Apple Music subscription sucked the first year or two, but is now closing in on Spotify, who had years of lead time). It can be done.

    But definitely, Tim needs to back away. He’s an awesome executive with proven operations skills. But when it comes to style and the pulse of his customers, he’s no Steve Jobs. In that area, he’s more Steve Ballmer...

    • sabarrett

      In reply to Jason_P:

      If apple wants to run it that way, thats their business. However, assuming we can actually have an open market, the market will decide if it succeeds or fails. I don't use apple for anything any more. I used to have them provide my music, however now that streaming (and podcasting) has been my option, I don't think I"ve bought a song or a CD in over 12 years. It certainly won't be me that gives them my dollars. Any videos I"ve purchased have been on amazon (right or wrong).

    • zybch

      In reply to Jason_P:

      So because you're 'sick of it' nobody else should have the option to watch it?

  30. ruusterc

    I agree with everything you said but as disapointed as i am in apples intrusive behaviour. Im glad that alteast there nagotiating an not taking the easy way out .which is what i worry about because apple if they wanted could say screw it were just gonna buy are way out of this an thats a solution alot of companys would take if they had apples money because all they would have to buy is disney an hbo an they pretty much have everything people want. so as atrocious as i think there being im glad there actually trying to make deals instead of trying to buy there way out of this problem.

  31. markbyrn

    Ironically Tim Cook must be catering to the "American Family Association" and "Protect yourself from TV filth in 2019"

  32. yaddamaster

    So tired of the Puritans getting a bad rap. They actually had a very robust view of human sexuality for their time.

  33. PeterC

    Come on Paul, your missing the “play” here. Apple are demonstrating what a responsible platform vendor looks like. The volume of families on iOS and family content controls needs is huge and set to become a key selling point for Apple. They’re making sure when parents set parental controls that lock out Netflix, Amazon, you tube content their Apple streaming content remains accessible and viewable...

    I clung onto windows mobile because of the excellent windows/Xbox parental controls. Now that’s gone iOS is the natural choice, not android/google.

    If you want content that’s more violent, sexually orientated or edgy there’s plenty of places to obtain this - why would apple spend money on an already well stocked market place.

    Better to offer what paying parents want for their children and be ready for the next gen of internet data privacy laws and content/copyright restrictions being negotiated and discussed regionally around the world.

    all my points above don’t mean Apple won’t make some appalling content decisions either, but in my opinion the play they’re developing will become more apparent in 6 months or so, especially in Europe.

    • Stooks

      In reply to PeterC:

      So instead of being the parent you want Apple or Microsoft or Google to be?

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to PeterC:

      Or, instead of them only offering content that works for children they could implement Parental Controls and not force baby food on adults because infants can't eat steak.

      • PeterC

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Agreed, the MS parental controls were excellent for my sons laptop Xbox and mobile, admittedly lacking certain apps, but that’s gone now. I still use the Xbox settings to a degree but it’s ios for mobile and tablet I have to work on now for him. I don’t think iOS parental controls are great at the moment and as I posted I reckon they’re making a play to parent led sales here for the streamed content and Apple/iOS as a “responsible” platform provider in contrast to Facebook google etc including user data privacy.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        So you are saying Apple shouldn't produce to content they want to produce. They should just give people money and say have fun. Give us the results. It doesn't work that way. Apple is paying these people to produce the content that they want to offer people. Apple sees little choice in the family friendly sphere. So they want to fill the gaps.

  34. scottib62

    Wait for the content to come out to judge? This about the company where they start talking about the next iPhone before the latest one comes out. Don't tell me that's not Apples fault, they leak to their darlings in the press. Got to keep the churn going it's fricking tiresome.

  35. dcdevito

    Will it matter? We all know the Apple S̶h̶e̶e̶p̶ fans will blindly subscribe to this service.

  36. Daekar

    I'm confused. Is it a crime for Apple to want to keep their branded content on the Disney side of things, which is in-keeping with the rest of their business practice? Are people so screwed up that if it doesn't include sex, violence, or some appalling tragedy then they're not interested?

    I'll be honest, after years of being exposed to the stuff that Paul considers "compelling" to "reasonable adults," I'm sick to death of it. It's the same trashy crap recycled over and over again, and even the shows that sometimes have the technorati writing impassioned articles about them are so shallow or transparent in their messaging that they're artless. If Apple produces high-quality clean programming, I might actually give them some money for it. It would be nice, nobody else has earned my money in TV or movies for years. The only fictional shows I really love tend to get canceled, like Galavant.

    You know what you do, Apple? Start making chick-flicks again. Hollywood gave it up and my wife will never forgive them. She's got a fist full of money and a few evenings a week that could be yours.

  37. Skolvikings

    I have no issues if someone wants to create high quality G or PG content. As a parent of young children, it would be a refreshing change. I can go to countless other sources for adult-friendly content.

  38. red.radar

    I support cook in this regard. Their brand has to appeal to many. If people start associating certain controversial viewpoints with apple then it could drive customers away.

    But I think it’s great that they are trying to produce family friendly content. So far your only saying good things to me.

  39. lvthunder

    Oh yes another one of Paul's let's bash Apple executives and prove I'm right posts without seeing any of the content.

    Apple is paying these people to produce content. They have every right to control the content that they are spending their money on to produce. Only time will tell if that content is compelling. Personally I would think it would be a travesty if we can't create some compelling content that is family friendly. Is our culture really that screwed up?

    • nicholas_kathrein

      In reply to lvthunder:

      What you say is true but it doesn't take long for everyone to know that Apple acts this way and turns off the best people from wanting to work for Apple from the tv / movie side of things.

      So here is an example. You're a wanted person in your field. You can get hired anywhere you want. One pays a bit more than the other so you go work there. You soon find you have difficulty doing your job because you are micro managed in a way that doesn't let you bring out the best of your abilities. How long till you decide to take the other job where people you know have said they are a great company and won't micro manage you and they'll make sure you can do what you want as long as your productive. I would leave if I voiced my complaints and Tim Cook just says "tough".

      So I'm saying that "if" this is true then these artist will start telling their friends how much they hate working for Apple. They don't feel they can produce the work that they would have elsewhere and aren't proud of the finial product. They tell them go work at Netflix or Amazon where you are free to create what you envision. All Apple's money won't help them create good service.

      The only way this flies is if they inform everyone before taking the job how this all works and the point is rated G content and Tim will give you notes that you have to follow. Then maybe it will work where people won't feel constrained but then you're loosing the quality of shows of a Game of Thrones.

      • jgraebner

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        One thing that hasn't been clear from a lot of the posts about this is whether or not the show producers are required to act on Cook's notes. I doubt that there are any content distributors out there that completely refrain from providing feedback on productions that they are airing/financing. Depending on the philosophy of the distributor and the clout of the producers, those notes can either be mandatory instructions, simply suggestions, or something in-between.

        To give an obvious example, one of the producers that is developing a series for Apple is Steven Spielberg. I'd be pretty surprised if his deal didn't give him total freedom to reject any notes from Apple.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        I'm sure the type of content was discussed beforehand. I'm also not sure the point is for everything to be G rated. I would like to see the content before deciding. They have hired some really talented people. I'd be surprised if they couldn't come up with something good. Even if it is family friendly. I think family friendly could be a big selling point. Even if it all gets mixed in with the other content in the TV app.

        • nicholas_kathrein

          In reply to lvthunder:

          It might not be that it's all about being G rated but more that Tim Cook is putting his nose into the production when as you say they hired some really talented people who should be taking care of this. That is the issue. You can have the best people but if you don't let them do their job and instead you have someone who knows nothing about making great tv or movies telling them how to make TV it ends up like "Planet of the Apps" or "Carpool Karaoke." The original "Carpool Karaoke" is so great but not the version Apple did.

  40. warren

    Every hour that Tim Cook spends frittering over details of TV shows, is an hour he isn't putting into improving the Mac.

    • red.radar

      In reply to warren:

      Their are two sides to this issue that need appreciated and it’s just apple learning to work in a new industry.

      Apple doesnt know how to articulate their requirements to the content creators causing some churn. It’s not that the vision of the final product is bad but you need to be able to accurately describe what you are wanting delivered.

      On the other side I don’t view one necessarily creative just because they dable in contraversy. I also think some people jumped in thinking this would be an opportunity to be the next hbo/Netflix. Whoops

    • lvthunder

      In reply to warren:

      He's got people working on that. It is more important for the heads of a company to oversee the direction of a new product instead of one that they have been working on for 20 years.

  41. chrishilton1

    “Most TV shows don’t fit neatly into the Disney-like Puritan worldview of Tim Cook and today’s Apple.” - Don't Disney own Marvel, which in the last Avengers movie, saw Thor plunge an axe into Thanos' (who sat in a chair in space for 10 years) chest (it should have just taken his arm off and finished it there), right before wiping out half of all existence in the galaxy, and then sitting in a cave watching the sunset, which he could have done without wiping out everyone - puritan worldview

  42. vernonlvincent

    This is going to sound a bit extreme, but it's something that's been percolating in my head for a while now.

    Apple is China-as-technology-company. The practices of the company, from managing what you see and how you see it, to what 3rd-party devices it will permit to work with itself, to 'protecting' you from 'harmful' things - this is all part and parcel of a company that feels it can do a better job of managing your life than you can. Given that comparison - it's no wonder then that Apple hasn't established any boundaries with China in terms of how and what it will or will not permit the Government to use the services Apple makes available.

    In a similar way that China permits certain members of its party more flexibility in the resources they access, so too Apple gives certain companies privileges that would otherwise not be permitted under App Store 'guidelines'. Anyone remember the special access Uber got to record a user's iPhone screen - obstinately so their app could provide better service? This seems to go beyond more traditional agreements between companies, and verges into special privileges that others either cannot get due to their lack of clout or that others never knew was a privilege that could be obtained at all.

    I realize that these points are not the thrust of the article, but the paternal nature of Apple's decision making (like how they are hyper-controlling the content for their video service) and how they enforce that decision-making on the customers who purchase their products is very China-like.

    Sorry for the tangent, but this post brought to mind all of the thoughtwork I've done on Apple-as-China.

  43. darkgrayknight

    This doesn't seem as bad as Facebook deciding what is or isn't fake news and blocking content that it doesn't like. Only because they can dictate what people will see on their site/app/etc. and limit it how they want. So in that regard this can be similar, though I'd prefer the government stay out of this and let the companies do what they will. Eventually, people will either start using Brave as their browser and as their search engine and find the less restrictive, less watchful Facebook/Instagram/Twitter type websites. One can hope any way.

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