Original television is what all the cool tech kids are doing these days, and far be it from Apple to sit out a good trend. Last year they announced Planet of the Apps, a show where plucky developers pitch their world-beating app ideas to the likes of will.i.am, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Jessica Alba. If that sounds like Shark Tank, that’s because it’s pretty much Shark Tank, but with less talk about royalties.
Planet of the Apps is debuting on Apple Music this spring, which means it’s time to start the hype machine. Recode tweeted out a trailer for the show this week, which more than anything confirms the Shark Tank similarities. The developers will pitch their ideas, followed by either rejection or a fight among the four judges over who gets to advise the projects. The quartet all have their own companies — i.am+, VaynerMedia, Honest, and, of course, Goop — that will provide resources and advice for those developers.
But, it can’t just copy Shark Tank, so there is a slight, very reality TV-dramatic twist. There’s an escalator (actually one of those people movers usually found at airports) that leads down to the judges. The trip takes about 60 seconds, during which time the developers will have to give their elevator pitch. Unfortunately, if they are rejected, I don’t think they just reverse the direction of the people mover. They really should, though.
But wait, there’s more! There’s actually another level of sharkiness. Once the developers successfully pair up with one of the four judges, they’ll use the resources they get to draw up a clearer business plan, which they’ll then take to the real sharks — members of Lightspeed Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. They’ll decide whether or not the apps and their developers will get the big bucks.
High stakes, but the stakes are highest for Apple. While developers who get venture capital funding in the end will earn featured placement on the App Store, Apple is banking on the show to deliver a new revenue stream. Netflix, Hulu, Google (through YouTube), and Amazon all started producing original content a long time ago, and now even Facebook is getting in on the act. Apple doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines while those eyeballs go elsewhere — it’s a little like how they bought Beats to secure original shows in the world of streaming music. Apple also wants to boost app downloads, which is harder to do now that app usage is dominated by a few companies at the top.
Planet of the Apps will eventually be on Apple Music, but Apple doesn’t have a premiere date just yet.
Via The Verge