Apple to take on Netflix and Amazon in battle of streaming services

26th Mar 19 | Entertainment News

Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have given Apple TV+ their backing as all three platforms plan big budget releases.

Apple Streaming TV

Apple is entering the battle of the streaming services with the launch of Apple TV+ and will hope to take on dominant forces such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The technology giant has already enlisted the help of Hollywood heavyweights such as Oprah Winfrey, JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon to create both content and hype for the launch in the autumn.

It has revealed a first look at its original series including The Morning Show, starring Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, and See, starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, in hopes it will draw viewers to the service.

Both Netflix and Amazon have also revealed ambitious programming schedules as they bid to become indispensable to TV and film enthusiasts.

Netflix, which recently staged an aggressive and largely successful Oscars campaign for Alfonso Cuaron’s passion project Roma, has signed multi-million-dollar deals with Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy for a batch of new shows for the service.

Murphy recently revealed his first Netflix project, The Politician, will star Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Lange and Ben Platt, and he has also confirmed he is working on Ratched with Sarah Paulson, Sharon Stone and Cynthia Nixon, plus another show , Hollywood, about the golden age of Tinseltown.

Rhimes, who has reportedly signed a nine-figure production deal with Netflix, is developing eight shows for the platform.

These include  adaptations of books The Warmth of Other Suns, about migration from the south to the north-east of the US in the 20th century, and Reset, Ellen Pao’s memoir of her legal battle against sexual harassment in Silicon Valley.

The service also has another big budget project in the form of The Crown, with the third series starring Oscar-winner Olivia Colman due for release later this year.

It is also making a foray into interactive programming in a new series with Bear Grylls, following on from the success of the Black Mirror project Bandersnatch.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video announced in November 2017 it has made a multi-series production commitment to adapt The Lord Of The Rings.

Speculation about the value of the deal varies widely from 250 million US dollars (£188.9 million) to 700 million US dollars (£528.9 million) but the adaptation, exploring new storylines preceding The Fellowship Of The Ring, is due to launch in 2020.

The streaming platform also has other big budget shows in the offing in the form of Carnival Row, a fantasy series starring Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom, and Good Omens, starring David Tennant, Michael Sheen and John Hamm.

Good Omens creator Neil Gaiman has also signed an exclusive deal with Amazon and will create further content for the platform following the successful adaptation of his book American Gods.

Amazon has also announced an adaptation of Wheel of Time, a multi-book fantasy story by Robert Jordan, and the return of Eco-Challenge, starring Bear Grylls, while its blockbuster show Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski, is also expected to return for a second series this year.

While Netflix and Amazon have dominated the streaming landscape for the last five years, yet another contender is waiting in the wings hoping to snatch viewers and subscription fees away from the old guard.

Disney will launch its own streaming service Disney+ later this year, offering access to its huge library of film and television projects, including those from Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic and Lucasfilm.

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This will include the new original Star Wars show, in which see Diego Luna will reprise his Rogue One character Cassian Andor, and another entitled The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau and starring Pedro Pascal.

Also expected to launch later this year is BritBox, a joint venture between the BBC and ITV into the TV streaming market and said to feature the “biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service”.

© Press Association 2019

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