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  • Apple TV+ to air complete first season of 'Dickinson' on Nov. 1

    Following the premiere of Apple TV+ original series "Dickinson" at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn on Thursday, Apple revealed the show's entire first season will be available from day one when the streaming service debuts on Nov. 1.

    Hailee Steinfeld
    Hailee Steinfeld plays Emily Dickinson in Apple's "Dickinson."

    Announced in a press release, Apple will stream all 10 episodes of "Dickinson" at launch. The release strategy promotes binging and is often used by segment stalwarts Netflix and Amazon to drum up interest in original series.

    Apple is varying its approach to content availability, as another launch series, "For All Mankind," will see three episodes debut on Nov. 1.

    Written and created by Alena Smith, Apple describes "Dickinson" as a coming-of-age story that "audaciously explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of rebellious young poet Emily Dickinson." The show takes place in the 19th century, but features thoroughly modern storytelling elements, dialogue and music.

    Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the titular character, is supported by a cast including Anna Baryshnikov, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Ella Hunt, Toby Huss and Jane Krakowski.

    Earlier on Thursday, Apple posted to its YouTube channel a new commercial for "Dickinson" as it continues to promote Apple TV+ originals ahead of a service debut next month.

    Along with notching a role as an inaugural Apple TV+ original, "Dickinson" is reportedly among the first of Apple's slate to rate renewal for a second season. Alongside an expected sophomore season for "The Morning Show" starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Apple is believed to have put in continuation orders for space race drama "For All Mankind," immigrant anthology series "Little America" and detective drama "Home Before Dark."

    Apple TV+ will feature about 10 shows when it goes live on Nov. 1. The service costs $4.99 per month, but customers who purchase eligible devices like iPhone and iPad get a one-year subscription for free as part of a limited promotional offer.
  • Hollywood producers talk about Apple's TV+ plans & 'The Morning Show' problems

    Sources in Hollywood say that 'The Morning Show' was always going to be Apple TV+'s centerpiece but reveal its troubled history -- and comment on Apple's limited library, its television inexperience, plus its interference with shows.

    "The Morning Show" (Photo: Apple)

    When Apple TV+ launches on November 1, it will do so with only a handful of shows, but the now much-publicized "The Morning Show" will be at the center of its offerings. In the two years since Apple began work on this drama series, though, it has had problems.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, the "The Morning Show" production company and producer/stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon did not rate the first-draft script by showrunner Jay Carson.

    It didn't help that the #MeToo plot element that now appears key to the series didn't feature at all, and that it was written at the time this movement appeared. Carson was soon replaced by the more experienced writer/showrunner Kerry Ehrin -- and then Apple got a taste of how different television is to technology.

    Carson filed with the Writers' Guild of America to be credited as sole creator of "The Morning Show," a title which typically infers considerable financial benefits if the show is a success. Apple, Aniston, Witherspoon and their production company reportedly objected, but the WGA ruled in favor of Carson.

    "The Morning Show" was not the only series to change its showrunner. Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" had such a change and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a similar move is soon to happen with "See."

    Such changes and pressures are far from new to television production, but they may be new to Apple. For once, the company is relying much more on outside experience and facing new challenges.

    "They didn't step in halfway," CAA TV agent Sonya Rosenfeld told The Hollywood Reporter. "They were smart to hire people who have spent their careers at the center of the TV business, and they didn't stutter start."

    Apple also didn't skimp on budgets, either. "The Morning Show" reportedly costs $15 million per episode and Apple has a two-season deal which amounts to a total of $300 million. Similarly, "See" is believed to be costing Apple $240 million for two seasons.

    The Hollywood Reporter also says that Apple is spending on the cast and crew talent, by giving every series regular and showrunner their choice of free Apple product.

    Reportedly, Apple sends representatives to the sets of these shows to take orders. Unfortunately, says The Hollywood Reporter, Apple is also said to be sending representatives to sets in order to give orders.

    Apple's interference is said to be why the original "Amazing Stories" showrunners left.

    However, the company has seemingly not balked at adult language being used in "The Morning Show," so long as it is seen as essential to the storyline.

    The Hollywood Reporter also says that Apple had a previous problem with adult-oriented fare, though, before this slate of Apple TV+ programming was created. Allegedly, Apple produced an entire series called "Vital Signs," created by Dr Dre, which has been abandoned over sex and violence issues.

    Apple has not commented on the existence of "Vital Signs," nor did it contribute to The Hollywood Reporter's article.

    Sources who did contribute on condition of anonymity, said that Apple's March launch event had been a disappointment. While it had a very strong lineup of cast and crew, it was light on details and footage -- and especially so when compared to Disney+. In April, Disney+ was announced with its large library and specifics about its cost.

    "Everyone was feeling like Apple threw the best prom ever," said an unnamed producer with an Apple show. "Then Disney came out, and everyone realized, 'Maybe it didn't.'"

    Apple TV+ launches on November 1, and will cost $4.99 per month.
  • Apple launches dedicated media site for Apple TV+ shows and films

    In preparation for the launch of Apple TV+, the iPhone maker has set up a press site dedicated to the content the video streaming service will air, something other streaming services also provides to the media to better inform about upcoming content.

    Launched on Monday, the Apple TV+ Press site is stated as offering "Press materials for Apple TV+, the new home for the world's most creative storytellers." The site is separate from the main Apple Newsroom, which offers press releases relating to Apple's latest announcements, with the new pages serving information about content from the streaming service.

    The creation of a dedicated content-specific media site is something performed by other major video content producers, used to help promote their shows and movies by offering resources to journalists. Elsewhere, such as with Netflix, the media center offers the press releases and other content relating to shows separate from other company announcements, simplifying the process of accessing the resources for reporters.

    Apple's site takes viewers to a list of 15 shows and movies that will either be available at launch or shortly after. The list includes prominent shows like "The Morning Show" and "Dickinson" at the top, while lesser-known items like "Little America" and "The Banker" reside lower down the list.

    Each page offers a synopsis of the show or film, links to trailers and other related videos, photographs, and a cast list with details of the characters they portray. Other production credits including producers, directors, and writers are also offered, as well as social media links, and press contact details.

    Apple is launching Apple TV+ on November 1, priced at $4.99 per month. As a promotion, customers buying select Apple hardware will be able to access the service free for a year.
  • Apple TV+ interface is more important to streaming video users than content

    A consumer research report claims that users of video services like Netflix are more likely to recommend it to others because of the user interface and overall ease of content discovery, more than what programming is available.

    Tim Cook promotes Dickinson, one of the shows Apple TV+ is launching with in November
    Tim Cook promotes Dickinson, one of the shows Apple TV+ is launching with in November

    Research firm Parks Associates claims that the content of a streaming video service is less important than the user interface design and how easy it is to find something to watch. The report comes ahead of the launch of Apple TV+, which has the advantage of Apple's design and the disadvantage of a much smaller library of material than its rivals.

    Parks Associates researcher Brandon Riney also told AppleInsider that despite its lack of content compared to Netflix and the forthcoming Disney+, Apple brings a distinct advantage to the market.

    "Apple's unexpected $4.99 pricing appears to be a response to Disney+'s $6.99 per month," he said. "This, in combination with announcing a fuller slate of originals, addresses criticism from detractors that Apple TV+ did not have adequate content and value to compete."

    "Offering a complimentary year of service to buyers of an Apple product as a loss leader is a strategy consistent with Apple's background as a device maker," he continued. "This move provides a value-added feature for all of its hardware that other services cannot easily replicate."

    However, according to the report, 70% of US households who have a video subscription already rate their user interfaces as "good," and 48% as "very good."

    "Roku and Apple TV lead the streaming media player space in terms of ease-of-use," says Parks Associates' senior analyst Kristen Hanich, "while Fire TV is the undisputed leader in terms of voice control."

    Users in the report's survey who said they had both a streaming video player and a smart TV, were asked which they preferred in regard to ease of use.

    Of the households with an existing Apple TV, 38% said they preferred it to their smart TV, compared to 20% who expressed a preference for the other way around.

    In comparison, 27% of Google Chromecast users preferred it to their TV, while 38% ranked their smart TV higher.

    "Apple TV owners give relatively strong marks to the device's UI," says the report. "Chromecast owners rate [their] device relatively low in terms of ease of use and ease of finding something to watch. Tellingly, ease of use is relatively less important to those who purchased a Chromecast."

    Despite an overall preference for ease of use and searching, the report also says that users are now more focused on shows rather than having channel loyalty.

    "Consumers are interested in finding particular shows or genres of content and have less interest in browsing by channel," said Hanich.

    Apple TV+ launches on November 1, and is followed on November 12 by Disney+.
  • Apple TV+ promotes 'See' with personalized free trial offer

    Subscribers to Emmy Magazine this month get behind the scenes details of the new drama "See," plus a full-page ad offering them a free three-month trial by name.

    Jason Momoa promoting
    Jason Momoa promoting "See." Photo: Emmy Magazine

    As the November 1 launch of Apple TV+ gets closer, its dramas are increasingly being featured and promoted. A long, detailed piece about "See" in Emmy Magazine is accompanied by a full-page ad for the service on which the magazine subscriber is invited to a three-month free trial by name.

    Emmy Magazine is the official publication of the Academy Awards, and is available to both subscribers and one-off issue buyers. The idea for personalizing one of its ads reportedly came from new Apple TV+ hire, Ralph Galvan.

    Galvan joined Apple in January, with a position in Awards at Apple Worldwide Video. He was previously Director, Awards Strategy at Disney's ABC Studios. Before that, he was Awards Editor for Gold Derby, Inc, a firm that predicts awards ranging from the Oscars to the Grammys.

    His hiring and this very "For Your Consideration" kind of ad fits with previous claims that Apple is aggressively pursuing awards for its programming.

    Galvan's old firm is already begin its predictions for Apple TV+ awards success, starting by listing the programs that will be eligible for the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

    The new drama "See" is surely one of the titles most likely to be submitted for awards, and the Emmy Magazine feature describes it as a high-quality "Game of Thrones" type of drama series.

    Stars Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa both say that it was the script by Steven Knight that got them on board.

    "My agent said he was going to fight for me to get the role and I needed to read the script right away," Momoa told Emmy Magazine. "I was so blown away by the first three pages, I read them out loud to my two best friends, who were with me. It's the first time I've ever done that with a script. I was like, 'Get me that meeting! Get me that role!'"

    Alfre Woodard promoting
    Alfre Woodard promoting "See." Photo: Emmy Magazine

    Woodard says she is a fan of Steven Knight, best known for "Peaky Blinders" and "Locke," but also one of the original creators of gameshow "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

    Speaking in an accompanying video, Woodard said that the attraction was the challenge of how to tell a story where almost all the characters are blind or have low vision.

    "It's actually a back to the land [story]," she said, "[and it was] really wonderful to figure out how to work without the very thing that is the underpinning of all of camerawork, how do you tell that story, how do you communicate without eyes?"

    "See" is among the first of the Apple TV+ programs to air at launch on November 1.

    Ralph Galvan's tweet was first reported by 9to5mac.