Apple is working on an unscripted reality television series centered around app developers. Who’d have thought it. They’re working on this with Black Eyed Peas member, tech entrepreneur and long time friend of the Apple brand, Will.i.am. The series will target new and upcoming developers and challenge them to come up with the next big app.
Mimicking the same format that shows like ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘American Idol’ have etched in to our minds, the show will attempt to bring on the best developers from all over America. Apple has issued an open casting call and says that the show will include advice and guidance from experts in the tech and get funding from “top-tier VCs”. They will also receive promotion in the App store, Apple’s gold standard for the apps market. The show has called for about a 100 app developers and will begin filming in Los Angeles on October 21. By then, all contestants are supposed to have a beta of their app running. There’s no word yet on whether they’ll be a Gordon Ramsay or Simon Cowell type figure in the show, though let’s face it, there’s no fun watching a show like this if there isn’t one.
Apple is accepting registrations for the show up till August 26. The registrations are supposed to include who you are and the names of your team members, what you’re working on, how far you’ve gotten and how much cash do you need to bring it to market. Also, and this should be a no brainer, don’t show up with an app that doesn’t run on Apple’s ecosystem. You don’t need to be part of the Apple Developer Program and if you’re accepted, the show will pay your $99 fee for you.
The show is being produced by Propagate, a relatively new production company and has Ben Silverman, former co-chairman of NBC and Universal Media Studios, behind it.
The show is something quite unheard of for Apple. They’ve never come in to this territory before and really the only thing that they could benefit from in a contest like this is perhaps a marginal boost in popularity for their App store and more contribution to it in the long run; but really the one area that they can get the most out of this show is the Apple TV.
According to an article, the streaming device is still ranked 4th in the US market despite a surge in sales due to the hardware refresh. Apple TV accounts for 13% of the sales in streaming devices following Roku (34%), Chromecast(23%) and Amazon Fire TV(16%).
If “Planet of the Apps” is only available on the Apple TV, this may drive sales. Though it’s quite simplistic to hope that one show will prompt even Apple fanboys to buy the streaming device in large numbers. No, my guess is that the show will be available across all major streaming devices in the U.S. but will require some sort of special subscription.
The Ultimate Failure Of Competition Reality Shows
This format has never worked to be honest. Shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent and their variations all around the world have never yielded winners with incredible star power. Sure, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were superstars for a while but were they really as big as you could go? And what about groups like One Direction? They have the same story, a few seconds of fame and then poof. If history is any guide, Planet of the Apps will not yield the next Angry Birds, Doodle Jump or even the next Pokémon Go. At best we can hope for something as popular, though not as annoying as Flappy Bird.