Apple Hires Ex-HBO Boss Richard Plepler to Build Out TV+ Lineup
By Sebastian Herrera
Former HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Plepler signed
an exclusive production deal with Apple Inc.'s new TV streaming
service, a five-year deal that underscores the tech giant's growing
ambitions in entertainment.
The deal will include original series, feature films and
documentaries for Apple TV+, its new streaming service, according
to the company. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported in
November that Apple and Mr. Plepler were in advanced discussions,
and the New York Times first reported that they had reached a
Mr. Plepler will be working with Zack Van Amburg and Jamie
Erlicht, the company's heads of world-wide video. Mr. Plepler
launched Eden Productions, a new production company based in New
Apple's signing of Mr. Plepler gives its streaming service,
which launched Nov. 1 with nine new programs, an experienced and
well-known entertainment veteran, as it aims to compete with
Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.'s dominant streaming
"I'm excited to work with Zack, Jamie and the standout team at
Apple who have been deeply supportive of my vision for Eden from
day one," Mr. Plepler said in a statement Thursday. "Apple is one
of the most creative companies in the world, and the perfect home
for my new production company and next chapter."
Mr. Plepler had been with HBO for nearly 30 years, the last six
as its CEO. He left the company last February after it became clear
that he would have less control under AT&T Inc., its new owner,
than under prior owner Time Warner Inc.
Apple is in a race to beef up the offerings of its fledgling TV
service, which is available for a price of $4.99 a month or free
with some purchases of new company merchandise. Apple has struck
agreements for shows with producers Steven Spielberg and J.J.
Abrams and mogul Oprah Winfrey. Apple has also held talks with
James Bond-franchise owner MGM Holdings Inc. and the Pac-12
Conference, according to people familiar with the matter.
Apple has joined a heated competition with Netflix, Walt Disney
Co. and other companies seeking to build streaming content, as
viewers opt out of big cable television packages.
The company is also seeking to steer consumers toward
subscription options for video, music and other services. Its goal
is to surpass 500 million paid subscriptions next year. Apple
currently has 450 million paid subscriptions, a 36% increase from
the 330 million it reported in 2018.
Tripp Mickle contributed to this article.
Write to Sebastian Herrera at Sebastian.Herrera@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 02, 2020 20:27 ET (01:27 GMT)
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