Matthew Ball+ Your Authors @ballmatthew Venture investor, strategist, essayist, that guy on Twitter. Former Head of Strategy @AmazonStudios, ex-Otter Media, @MediaREDEF. 🇨🇦 Nov. 02, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

1/ Lots of gleeful dunking on Apple having (allegedly) mediocre launch shows. “Tech still doesn’t get it!”, “Wow look at how much money they spent on this”, etc.

Few important points there.

2/ It’s really hard to make good shows. Having even one great show out of four “at bats” would be great. At least two should be bad. Most likely outcome is the basket is fine-to-good.

Also been three years since anyone launched a homerun (This is Us, Stranger Things, Westworld)

3/ This is even harder when you start from scratch. When most networks start original programming, they’re no ones top choice

AMC only got Mad Men because no one else wanted it. Sometimes that works, but what’s key is you get seconds, thirds, fourths

4/ Netflix had years of experience in media, but no one wanted to sell their show to the network in 2011. They had to meaningfully outbid HBO for House of Cards and THEN commit to two seasons just to get it.

Most showrunners will prefer HBO or Showtime to tech, even for less $!

5/ It took years for Amazon to have a slate of outstanding series – 2019 has Maisel, Fleabag, Transparent, Jack Ryan, Grand Tour, The Boys. Most of the early pilots never went to series, most of the early shows were cancelled after 1-2 seasons (Betas, Alpha House). It takes time.

6/ What's more, networks like HBO have decade long pipelines of talent, rights, scripts and so on to draw upon. Apple started from zero only 2.5 years ago.

It's like expecting a pharmaceutical company to produce a lipitor right out of the gate. You can, but won't

7/ Existing players also benefit from time to improve shows (e.g. Succession S2 v Succession S1 – perhaps The Morning Show is incredible in S2). Judging a network by the first three episodes of its first four shows... against any other premium net is flawed

8/ Most importantly, it doesn't matter what you or critics think. What matters is what the audience likes.

Trying to observe quality, especially based on limited pre-release reviews from critics, is a distraction

And Apple TV+ is free! 

9/ Ultimately, you have to launch a network. You can't wait years and years until magically you have only perfect shows - and these shows can also somehow be stockpiled.

You get to MVP, then you grow, you learn, you iterate, you improve.

My text SoundCloud is at 

You can follow @ballmatthew.


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