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Apple hates sex, drugs, and violence — on Apple TV, anyway

For the past several years, Apple has talked about making a true entry into the home entertainment business and challenging the likes of Netflix or Amazon. But the tech giant’s foray into Hollywood has been plagued by delays — many of Apple’s own making.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, in a bid to protect its image, Apple is restricting the content of TV shows regarding sex, violence, and the use of illegal drugs. One of the earliest examples was when Tim Cook was shown an early screening of Apple’s “Vital Signs.” The drama covered the life of rapper Dr. Dre and featured an orgy, people doing coke, and weapons. Apple told the show’s staff it was too violent for Apple.

The company imposed other restrictions on a series by M. Night Shyamalan, which focused on a family’s loss of a child. Apple agreed to produce the series but requested that the crucifixes be removed from the family’s home. Apple, apparently, is wary of shows that deal with religion or politics.

Despite these restrictions, Apple is spending plenty of money to make a push into the entertainment industry. The company has outbid established players such as Netflix and NBC for high profile projects. It appears that Apple is serious about entering this industry, but wants to be cautious about how it does so.

Preston Beckman, a former NBC and Fox executive, told the Journal that Apple, as a consumer company, is particularly wary of offending audiences. If Netflix produces a show that offends some people, those people may not subscribe to the service. Apple risks losing out on sales of its hardware as well, which is the main thrust of the company’s profits. “With Apple, you can say, ‘I’m going to punish them by not buying their phone or computer,” Beckman said.

Such fears are part of the reason that Apple has delayed the launch of its original content. With a billion-dollar annual budget, the company’s first lineup of shows was initially expected to launch in March 2018. That date was pushed back to later this year — but without a firm date still, expect yet another delay of the company’s original content.

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Eric Brackett
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