Apple spent nearly $15M per episode on Apple TV+ show 'See,' report says

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Details of Apple's upcoming for-pay streaming service, Apple TV+, are beginning to emerge ahead of an expected launch this fall, with a report on Thursday claiming the tech giant doled out almost $15 million per episode to produce Jason Momoa vehicle "See."

Jason Momoa, Alfre Woodard in See
Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard present "See" at an Apple special event in March.


A small tidbit in a larger Wall Street Journal expos&eacute on the large sums streaming industry newcomers are willing to spend to break into the market, Apple's big budget for "See" tops project outlays from market incumbents like Netflix.

Officially announced by Momoa and Alfre Woodard at Apple's special event in March, "See" is a dystopian fantasy that takes place hundreds of years after a virus nearly obliterated humanity and left all survivors blind.

Citing a source familiar with the matter, the WSJ reports costs for "See" have topped out at nearly $15 million per episode, with each episode running about 60 minutes long. Tallied up, and considering an average 10-episode season, the show's final cost might amount to as much as $150 million, the equivalent of a big-budget Hollywood movie.

Indeed, Hollywood spectaculars are part of the reason why Apple and other companies need to write such large checks, the report said. According to executives, the nature of streaming services pits original shows against theatrical releases, meaning first-party content must be on a par with movies in terms of production value.

Disney, which is also launching a new streaming service called Disney+ in November, is also betting big on its first slate of original shows. Thanks to lavish set design, special effects and other expenditures, each episode of "The Mandalorian," a prequel to "Star Wars: Rogue One," cost the company around $15 million, the report said.

Amazon, too, is spending exorbitant amounts to secure new properties for Amazon Prime, and most recently broached a $250 million deal for rights to make a "Lord of the Rings" series.

The seemingly open-wallet policies of companies new to the industry contrast a rumored tightening of pursestrings at Netflix. With a multi-year head start, mature serial properties and experience in original content production, Netflix can afford to titrate spending. New arrivals like Apple, however, need to make a splash when their respective services launch later this year.
Flytrap
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,015member
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    chemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,645member
    Most of Netflix’s original shows are terrible. And their impulse to stretch documentaries into way-too-many-episodes docu-series is a terrible trend.

    Several of them are clearly taking three episodes worth of content and editing it out to six—lazy stuff. Combine that with original fictional shows with generic I-used-to-make-car-commercials cinematography and sloppy dialog and sub-par directing and I’m left wondering “what they hell are they up to?” And we fit the bill for this shite? Worse and worse Netflix becomes. Shuffling My List every time you click into something? WTF is up with that shite? Assholes at this point.

    At least so far Apple are showing some restraint and seem to be paying the money to get some of the better producers and directors. Budgets will particularly matter for Sci-fi shows, so it makes sense to shore up there. Top-notch effects are a real story telling tool in that genre particularly, along with practical effects. And all that costs money.

    Either way, I’ll be ditching Netflix later this year and giving ATV+ a go.
    edited July 11 ronnAppleExposedcecil4444wonkothesanelolliverFlytrap
  • Reply 3 of 23
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,504member
    Is it me, or is that a lot of money? Are the people behind these productions unreasonably demanding a lot because Apple has the cash?

    Like sports, players (or actors, in this case) get paid a lot for doing the same work that many of us do every day. In sports, it's because ticket prices are so insanely high, so there's a lot of profit, and therefore it gets divided among the players. I think that's a slap in the face for consumers. I think the price should be lower if there's a lot of profit, but only if that money won't be invested back into the industry. Apple gets a free pass from me because they invest heavily into technology and protecting the environment. But that's just me.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    The seemingly open-wallet policies of companies new to the industry contrast a rumored tightening of pursestrings at Netflix. With a multi-year head start, mature serial properties and experience in original content production, Netflix can afford to titrate spending. New arrivals like Apple, however, need to make a splash when their respective services launch later this year.

    Earlier this year AppleInsider and others couldn’t print enough about how little Apple was spending compared to Netflix. Now that Netflix is cutting back on spending large sums of money, AppleInsider prints the above. 
    AppleExposedcecil4444SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 23
    There was a time when Netflix was a rental DVD service, so I don't underestimate the ability for new comers in this territory to make a big impact. Similarly heavyweights such as Disney are likely to have a natural niche due to their utterly massive license portfolio.

    I am really curious to see how it all goes, because the monthly service fees of each aren't sustainable for many buyers. Apple are well positioned since they can sweeten their bundle with Arcade, News+ and Music, which could help address an audience wider than their typical market of people with high disposable income.

    On the flipside, this does not look good for Spotify.
    AppleExposedlolliverFlytrap
  • Reply 6 of 23
    mytdavemytdave Posts: 438member
    What a waste of money. Damnit Apple, stop wasting time/money on making movies and TV shows, and get back to making computing products. Don't become Sony! Dumb!
    flyingdpSpamSandwichdbvaporchemengin1
  • Reply 7 of 23
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 971member
    There was a time when Netflix was a rental DVD service, so I don't underestimate the ability for new comers in this territory to make a big impact. Similarly heavyweights such as Disney are likely to have a natural niche due to their utterly massive license portfolio.

    I am really curious to see how it all goes, because the monthly service fees of each aren't sustainable for many buyers. Apple are well positioned since they can sweeten their bundle with Arcade, News+ and Music, which could help address an audience wider than their typical market of people with high disposable income.

    On the flipside, this does not look good for Spotify.
    I think they underestimate Apple’s ability to see trends and find the profit point. Apple realized that the big content companies like Disney and HBO would be starting their own services making the real value of being a Netflix greatly diminished. Why pay for Netflix if it will no long be your one stop shop for content. Apple is creating their unique content for Apple TV but the platform is open to all content creators to stream via their Apps. 
    AppleExposedcecil4444lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,162member
    mytdave said:
    What a waste of money. Damnit Apple, stop wasting time/money on making movies and TV shows, and get back to making computing products. Don't become Sony! Dumb!
    That Apple no longer exists and will never return. You need to deal with that fact. Either leave the platform for some outfit you consider to be making “computing products” or suck it up and quit beating that dead horse. Live in the 21st century or stay inside your cocoon.
    chasmlolliverFlytrap
  • Reply 9 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,642member
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    What do you actually know of the plot(s) of this show?

    Oh, that’s right, nothing.
    AppleExposedflyingdplolliverfastasleep
  • Reply 10 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,375unconfirmed, member
    ireland said:
    Most of Netflix’s original shows are terrible. And their impulse to stretch documentaries into way-too-many-episodes docu-series is a terrible trend.

    Several of them are clearly taking three episodes worth of content and editing it out to six—lazy stuff. Combine that with original fictional shows with generic I-used-to-make-car-commercials cinematography and sloppy dialog and sub-par directing and I’m left wondering “what they hell are they up to?” And we fit the bill for this shite? Worse and worse Netflix becomes. Shuffling My List every time you click into something? WTF is up with that shite? Assholes at this point.

    At least so far Apple are showing some restraint and seem to be paying the money to get some of the better producers and directors. Budgets will particularly matter for Sci-fi shows, so it makes sense to shore up there. Top-notch effects are a real story telling tool in that genre particularly, along with practical effects. And all that costs money.

    Either way, I’ll be ditching Netflix later this year and giving ATV+ a go.

    Netflix is just protecting their business. They will lose more and more 3rd party content going forward so they need to build their exclusive library.

    After Apple was rumored to be losing licensing deals I predicted Apple would do the same. Looks like that's happening but don't be surprised if content creators start looking to Apple for content deals in a full circle turn around. If TV+ becomes popular many creators will want in on Apple money. I wouldn't even be surprised if down the road Netflix decides to license some shows/movies to Apple.

    Remember, even if Netflix(the service) goes down they still have this backup of content they can license.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,145member
    genovelle said:
    There was a time when Netflix was a rental DVD service, so I don't underestimate the ability for new comers in this territory to make a big impact. Similarly heavyweights such as Disney are likely to have a natural niche due to their utterly massive license portfolio.

    I am really curious to see how it all goes, because the monthly service fees of each aren't sustainable for many buyers. Apple are well positioned since they can sweeten their bundle with Arcade, News+ and Music, which could help address an audience wider than their typical market of people with high disposable income.

    On the flipside, this does not look good for Spotify.
    I think they underestimate Apple’s ability to see trends and find the profit point. Apple realized that the big content companies like Disney and HBO would be starting their own services making the real value of being a Netflix greatly diminished. Why pay for Netflix if it will no long be your one stop shop for content. Apple is creating their unique content for Apple TV but the platform is open to all content creators to stream via their Apps. 
    Are any of these services going to be a one stop shop? People complain about cable and satellite but at least with my satellite TV I don’t have to care who the content owner is I just need to know what channel it’s on.
    Carnage
  • Reply 12 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,375unconfirmed, member
    genovelle said:
    There was a time when Netflix was a rental DVD service, so I don't underestimate the ability for new comers in this territory to make a big impact. Similarly heavyweights such as Disney are likely to have a natural niche due to their utterly massive license portfolio.

    I am really curious to see how it all goes, because the monthly service fees of each aren't sustainable for many buyers. Apple are well positioned since they can sweeten their bundle with Arcade, News+ and Music, which could help address an audience wider than their typical market of people with high disposable income.

    On the flipside, this does not look good for Spotify.
    I think they underestimate Apple’s ability to see trends and find the profit point. Apple realized that the big content companies like Disney and HBO would be starting their own services making the real value of being a Netflix greatly diminished. Why pay for Netflix if it will no long be your one stop shop for content. Apple is creating their unique content for Apple TV but the platform is open to all content creators to stream via their Apps. 
    Are any of these services going to be a one stop shop? People complain about cable and satellite but at least with my satellite TV I don’t have to care who the content owner is I just need to know what channel it’s on.

    I had this same argument when people wanted to cut cable. Also cable is better for discovery. How is someone supposed to discover TV+ content if they're subscribed to HBO?

    There are some drawbacks with cable like having to watch content on their time unless you have some DVR plan that may or may not block you etc. Commercials, paying for channels you may never be interested in, crappy boxes.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 1,015member
    chasm said:
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    What do you actually know of the plot(s) of this show?

    Oh, that’s right, nothing.
    I know I wouldn’t survive on a post-apocalypse world blind.  How would you grow food? How would you identify seeds?  How would you avoid the packs of feral dogs? Etc. etc.  I’m not even sure I could find my way to Costco and it’s right down the street.

    How would a virus spread to the point it makes everyone blind?  Isolated communities still exist...

    The hole premise for the show is dumb.  Sounds like Apple is trying to rip off Bird Box with something even more ridiculous...

    Might as well make the next umpteenth zombie show...


  • Reply 14 of 23
    chasm said:
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    What do you actually know of the plot(s) of this show?

    Oh, that’s right, nothing.
    I know I wouldn’t survive on a post-apocalypse world blind.  How would you grow food? How would you identify seeds?  How would you avoid the packs of feral dogs? Etc. etc.  I’m not even sure I could find my way to Costco and it’s right down the street.

    How would a virus spread to the point it makes everyone blind?  Isolated communities still exist...

    The hole premise for the show is dumb.  Sounds like Apple is trying to rip off Bird Box with something even more ridiculous...

    Might as well make the next umpteenth zombie show...


    Stranger Things - evil creature from another dimension = unrealistic and therefore dumb

    Star Wars - good fights bad but in space and on other planets = unrealistic and therefore dumb

    Avengers - superheroes = unrealistic and therefore dumb

    Game of Thrones - medieval times but with dragons = unrealistic and therefore dumb

    It could be that I have accurately summarized your feelings about all of the above. You would be hard pressed to prove that they weren’t popular. 
    Flytrapchemengin1
  • Reply 15 of 23
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 341member
    chasm said:
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    What do you actually know of the plot(s) of this show?

    Oh, that’s right, nothing.
    I know I wouldn’t survive on a post-apocalypse world blind.  How would you grow food? How would you identify seeds?  How would you avoid the packs of feral dogs? Etc. etc.  I’m not even sure I could find my way to Costco and it’s right down the street.

    How would a virus spread to the point it makes everyone blind?  Isolated communities still exist...

    The hole premise for the show is dumb.  Sounds like Apple is trying to rip off Bird Box with something even more ridiculous...

    Might as well make the next umpteenth zombie show...


    Maybe Apple needs to run a survey of all their users who may potentially sign up for Apple TV+ to find out what each of their preferences are in relation to story line, plots, themes etc.. and then ensure that any show they produce meets the expectations of every one of those potential subscribers. /s


    Bird Box was a very popular movie for Netflix even if it's not to your tastes. I haven't seen it either but that doesn't mean Netflix shouldn't have made it. The "zombie shows" you refer to are also some of the most popular TV shows and movies around at the moment. Just because you don't like that style of show doesn't mean it's not popular. I never watched Game of Thrones and I'm not interested in watching it but it would be insane for me to claim HBO shouldn't have made it just because I'm not interested in it. 
  • Reply 16 of 23
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,684member
    I like sci-fi and post apocalyptic stuff and I'll be watching this when it comes out.

    I'm not going to make any hasty, ignorant judgements, unlike some others, until I have seen it. 

    And this show is merely one of many that Apple will be releasing. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 23
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 106member
    ireland said:
    Most of Netflix’s original shows are terrible. And their impulse to stretch documentaries into way-too-many-episodes docu-series is a terrible trend.

    Several of them are clearly taking three episodes worth of content and editing it out to six—lazy stuff. Combine that with original fictional shows with generic I-used-to-make-car-commercials cinematography and sloppy dialog and sub-par directing and I’m left wondering “what they hell are they up to?” And we fit the bill for this shite? Worse and worse Netflix becomes. Shuffling My List every time you click into something? WTF is up with that shite? Assholes at this point.

    At least so far Apple are showing some restraint and seem to be paying the money to get some of the better producers and directors. Budgets will particularly matter for Sci-fi shows, so it makes sense to shore up there. Top-notch effects are a real story telling tool in that genre particularly, along with practical effects. And all that costs money.

    Either way, I’ll be ditching Netflix later this year and giving ATV+ a go.
    I don't know what you're watching but their are some great original shows on Netflix. Better than all the others currently with the possible exception being HBO. I doubt Apple will come close to matching Netflix anytime soon, if ever. It seems everyone is jumping on the streaming service bandwagon lately. People will eventually get fed up and just go back to cable/sat since it will be cheaper than loading up on all these services. Maybe that's by design.
    rob bonnerchemengin1
  • Reply 18 of 23
    mobirdmobird Posts: 219member
    TCM meets my preferences for the most part.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,375unconfirmed, member
    chasm said:
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    What do you actually know of the plot(s) of this show?

    Oh, that’s right, nothing.
    I know I wouldn’t survive on a post-apocalypse world blind.  How would you grow food? How would you identify seeds?  How would you avoid the packs of feral dogs? Etc. etc.  I’m not even sure I could find my way to Costco and it’s right down the street.

    How would a virus spread to the point it makes everyone blind?  Isolated communities still exist...

    The hole premise for the show is dumb.  Sounds like Apple is trying to rip off Bird Box with something even more ridiculous...

    Might as well make the next umpteenth zombie show...




    I don't even know where to start....

    Blind people have brains dude. They can do things.

    Viruses like smallpox infected half of the planet 400 years ago in a world full of isolated communities only.
    lolliver
  • Reply 20 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,354member
    There are so many problems with the plot of See, I don’t know where to start.  Maybe a star cast will save it...

    I don't see Momoa and Woodard being part of the saving of it. I don't know anything about the plot, but both of those actors don't bring a lot to the screen, as far as I'm concerned. But for Apples sake, I hope they pull it off.

     Even more than vampires and zombies, the whole 'dystopian fantasy that takes place after an apocalyptic event' has been done so many times that 'dystopian' is pretty much a dealbreaker for me, especially with Momoa and Woodard. So I'll make the hasty leap to say this would really have to be something... else, especially at $15M an episode to get me to tune in.


    ireland said:
    Most of Netflix’s original shows are terrible. And their impulse to stretch documentaries into way-too-many-episodes docu-series is a terrible trend.
    True, most of their original stuff is bad. Some of that is actually somebody else's content licensed by NF. And to be fair, that do have some really good content. They're using the Samsung method of producing product: make a bunch of stuff and see what sticks. Make 8, 10, 12 episodes and if it doesn't do well, cancel it.

    Network TV does the same - a lot. It's rare that a good show that doesn't do well the first season, gets a chance to develop an audience. So I hope that Apple gives these shows a chance instead of treating them like the Cube.
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