Yesterday Eddy Cue, Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) senior vice president of internet software and services, took questions about the company's new reality TV shows during the Code Media conference. Cue shared the stage with Ben Silverman and Ben Winston, producers partnering with Apple. During the live-streamed conference, the audience got a sneak peek of Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke: The Series, which will be made available this spring to the more than 20 million Apple Music subscribers. The trailer of Carpool also aired during the 59th Grammy Awards Sunday night. "We've got the greatest platform in the world, the one that's in your pocket all the time – the iPhone," said Cue.
Planet of the Apps bears a striking resemblance to ABC's Shark Tank. App developers pitch their ideas to four celebrity entrepreneurs – namely, Jessica Alba (The Honest Co.), Gwyneth Paltrow (Goop), Will.i.am (i.am+) and Gary Vaynerchuck (Vayner Media). Those selected work with their advisers to develop a final pitch to present to investors from Lightspeed Venture Firms. Successful apps will be promoted on Apple's App Store. When gently chided that there must have been a reason no one made a reality show about apps before, Silverman said the fact that the audience can use the product, in this case the apps, is a "game changer." "This is the American Dream. It is individuals, it's not large companies, that have the opportunity to really change the world and do that as individuals. It's hard to do that. Apps provide that," said Cue.
Produced by CBS (CBS), Carpool Karaoke: The Series is a version of comedian James Corden's popular segment on The Late Late Show. The premise of celebrities driving around and singing along to music played in the car has proven incredibly popular going by the views the clips have received on YouTube. Guests featured include John Legend, Ariana Grande, Will Smith, Chelsea Handler and Blake Shelton.
The shows will not have any advertisements played during their duration. Interviewer Peter Kafka tried to prod Cue into revealing whether Apple has any big content plans, but Cue denied that Apple is looking to enter the TV space in a big way through the acquisition of a large company like Netflix (NFLX) or Time Warner (TWX). He said it's hoping to use its own platforms to deliver something "unique" and "cultural." This is one of its strategies to promote Apple Music and Cue says there is more to come. Apple Music Chief Jimmy Iovine has told The New York Times that Apple is producing more original content this year, including scripted dramas. When asked again about the growing trend of content being bought by distribution channels, Cue wearily said, "We are doing some innovative things in the video space and we'll see where that takes us." (See also: Netflix Consumer Engagement to Increase: eMarketer)