Apple in talks to produce own TV programmes: reports

Entertainment executives in Hollywood have been discussing with Apple Inc about production of exclusive shows for Apple TV, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reported.

The iPhone maker has been discussing investing in original series, according to the person, who requested not be named as the discussions were private. The company had not decided whether to proceed, the person added.

With original programming, Apple would transition from being one of the top retailers of entertainment to its wealthiest producer and source premium content for a live TV service it was said to be planning.

Next week, the Cupertino, California-based company would be expected to unveil a new version of its Apple TV set-top box, along with the latest iteration of the popular mobile phone.

According to commentators, the move would pose another threat to the pay-TV industry, which had suffered losses as young consumers watched video using online services like Netflix Inc and Google Inc's YouTube and older ones pared spending.

Netflix shares were down 8 per cent to $105.79, while Apple also fell amid declines in global markets, by 4.6 per cent to $107.72.

Apple's move would also challenge established online streaming companies like Netflix, Inc, and Hulu, which were the established offerings in the current Apple TV set-top box.

According to Variety, Apple had attempted to win a bidding war for Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the former stars of the BBC's motoring programme,  which finally was won by Amazon in July, with a reported $250 million payment for the trio.

Making original content would come as a major step for Apple, which made most of its money from selling hardware.

Apple sells music, films and television shows on the iTunes Store, but not its own. The company had however made a move into production with Beats 1, the international radio station included in Apple Music.

Netflix and Amazon's Prime TV had made heavy investments in original content, with titles such as House of Cards and Transparent that had won critical acclaimed. The Clarkson investment however represents commitment of a different level.

Apple was widely expected to introduce a new model of its internet-connected set top box Apple TV next week, alongside new iPhone and iPad models.