HBO spent about $2 billion on content last year, while Amazon spent around $1 billion in 2013, the year after it leapt into original programming.
Combined with the company's marketing clout and global reach, that immediately makes Apple a considerable competitor in a crowded market where new media players and traditional media companies are vying to acquire original shows. It's unclear if the company will rebrand the service once several new video offerings hit the airwaves, or if video could be its own standalone service. Apple still derives the vast bulk of its revenue from iPhone sales, with a growing chunk coming from the apps on its devices. Netflix is set to spend $6 billion that year, too. An episode of some high-end shows such as "Game of Thrones" can cost more than $10 million to produce.More news: NTSB Helps Investigate Deadly Helicopter Crash Near Violence in Virginia
Apple shares were up 0.2% in premarket trading Wednesday, indicated to open at $161.92.More news: Pakistani cancer patient gets Indian visa for treatment
Matt Cherniss has been drafted in to oversee development two months after the tech giant appointed ex-Sony Pictures Television (SPT) execs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht to work across its programming worldwide. Mr. Cherniss also has movie experience, having worked as a production executive at Warner Bros. Cue, who reports to CEO Tim Cook, is in charge of the iTunes Store and Apple Music, along with other products and services including Apple Pay, Siri, Maps, and iCloud services.
To date, Apple's forays into original video have been in support of Apple Music subscription service.More news: Tillerson: US 'interested' in negotiating with North Korea
Joe Flint contributed to this article.
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