Apple TV+: Not quite skunked at the Emmys

That didn’t stop the Washington Post’s Steven Zeitchik from dancing on its grave.

From “Apple, with a big bet on streaming, gets a shock from the Emmys. Disney gets a boost” posted Wednesday:

Apple, which spent a whopping $150 million to produce the TV-world drama “The Morning Show” and was thought a lock for outstanding drama? It ended up shut out, startling those same pundits and consultants.

For Apple… the news was a harsh and potentially strategy-changing reminder that the money and brand ubiquity that has helped it come to dominate the tech sector isn’t having close to the same impact in Hollywood.

Apple’s unveiling of “The Morning Show” came with much fanfare last fall. The company paid a “Game of Thrones”-like $15 million per episode to enlist the services of Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a cast with 17 Emmy nominations between them; Witherspoon is also an Oscar winner…

But when the Emmys nominations came around, voters left the show off the list for best drama, and even some acting categories… The absences are more than just an ego bruise: The Television Academy that votes on the Emmys consists of more than 25,000 television industry professionals and is considered one of the greatest bellwethers of industry fortunes.

Equally important, it highlighted that Apple may need to change its approach. The firm has been attempting to produce a fairly small amount of content but at the highest echelon, a quality over quantity tack that sets it apart from many digital competitors.

But that only works with a high number of arrows hitting the bullseye, not when your best shot misses the big prize.

My take: Zeitchik doesn’t get it. Quality over quantity is one of Apple’s core principles. Tim Cook is not going to abandon it because Apple TV+ only got 18 Emmy nominations last night. Netflix, for the record, scored 160.


  1. John Blackburn said:
    My new MacBook Pro came with that 1-year-for-free AppleTV+ subscription, and I’ve found AppleTV+ better than expected. Not every show is to my taste—the programming is too broad to expect that—but they’re all high-quality. Apple’s playing the long game here, and that high-quality will gradually color the brand in general.

    July 29, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    “We don’t want to sell the most. We want to make the best.” Tim Cook has said this many times.

    July 29, 2020
  3. David Drinkwater said:
    Think of many TV series that have had very long legs through time:

    I’ll choose Law and Order SVU. The video quality and the overall impact of the early seasons is WAYYY different than the later seasons.

    I’m sure that the same applies to the early seasons of Game of Thrones.

    It’s hardly been a minute. It will get better. I’m sure everything will be fine.

    (I must admit, I’m a troglodyte: I have not watched The Morning Show or The Game of Thrones. I barely have enough time for a social life. TV won’t help that.)

    July 30, 2020

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