Apple is in talks to move its original content division to the studio where both “Gone with the Wind” and “The Matrix” were shot, according to the Financial Times.
The Culver Studios, which are located in Culver City, just west of Los Angeles, has 13 soundstages that are set up for producing television, film, music videos, and commercials. But Apple would likely be using the space primarily for office space, rather than for producing original content, the Financial Times reported.
The iPhone maker would essentially use the space as its base in Hollywood as it attempts to ramp up its push into video programming, the Financial Times said. By operating out of Culver Studios, Apple could send a signal to both Silicon Valley and Hollywood that it’s serious about its original content ambitions. The studio is a Hollywood mainstay that was created in 1918 by Thomas Ince, a silent movie pioneer.
It was unclear from the Financial Times article whether Apple is considering buying or leasing the studio. Apple didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Apple has reportedly set a $US1 billion budget for its original productions over the next year, and recently hired two former Sony Pictures executives to lead its original programming division. But it stumbled out of the gate with its video effort. Its first original show, “Planet of the Apps” is widely considered a flop.
Competition for original content has been ramping up as players like Amazon and Netflix make serious investments in the space. Budget wise, Apple is trailing the pack.
Netflix is the clear leader, with a budget of $US7 million for 2017. Amazon plans to spend $US4.5 billion on video this year and has already scored Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.”