For any film studio looking to make $1 billion or more at the worldwide box office, China holds a ton of power. The Middle Kingdom is quickly becoming a powerhouse in the entertainment industry due to its love of films and the citizens’ willingness to spend a lot of money on movie tickets. But for Apple, who is just now entering into the world of entertainment with its streaming service Apple TV+, appealing to China is not only important for potential streaming revenue, but also because of the company’s core technology business. And that reportedly means that Apple is not looking to make enemies with the country anytime soon.
According to a new report from Buzzfeed News, producers and filmmakers that have recently signed deals with Apple for original content for its upcoming November-launching streaming service have been given strict warning that none of the content on the service will portray China in a bad light.
The report states, “Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development. It was part of Apple’s ongoing efforts to remain in China’s good graces after a 2016 incident in which Beijing shut down Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they debuted in the country.”
As mentioned, singling out Apple as some terrible studio that caters to China (as right or wrong as that might be) isn’t fair to the tech company. That’s because you just have to look at some of the recent blockbusters from Disney, Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, and other studios to see how pandering to Chinese and Asian markets has been commonplace for years. However, up until now, we’ve never heard of any studios specifically telling creators to keep China clear of any criticism.
This news comes hot on the heels of news that Apple blocked an app from its online store that allowed members of the Hong Kong protests to keep tabs on where the Chinese police are. This was seen as the tech company bowing down to China and staying in the country’s good graces. And if this news is correct, about the company warning creators about being critical of the Middle Kingdom, then perhaps it’s a good argument for why a tech company might not be the best fit to create original, thought-provoking content.
Apple TV+ launches on November 1.