Oprah Winfrey Inks Multiple-Year Content Deal With Apple

In the war for talent, Apple has just scored a major victory.

The tech giant and eventual streamer has inked a multiple-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey. Under the pact, terms of which were not immediately available, Winfrey and Apple will create original content that will be released as part of the latter’s lineup of content. Sources say the pact includes everything from film, TV, applications, books and other content that could easily be distributed on Apple’s all-encompassing platform. Sources note that Winfrey landed at Apple in a competitive situation with other tech giants, likely including Netflix and Apple, all pursuing similar deals. Apple is said to have aggressively pursued Winfrey as part of a larger push to reach a broad audience.

The deal is non-exclusive as Winfrey will continue to remain chairman and CEO of Discovery Communications-backed cable network OWN. Winfrey in December extended her deal with OWN to remain through at least 2025, with Discovery acquiring an additional 24.5 percent of OWN from Winfrey-owned Harpo. All told, Discovery has more than a 70 percent stake in OWN as Winfrey and Harp retain a significant minority interest in the joint venture. Winfrey’s OWN exclusivity remains same she has always had since the formation of the cable network. She is exclusive to OWN for pay cable for on-camera work and has the ability to render on-camera services on other platforms on a limited basis.

Winfrey’s deal with Apple comes amid a growing arms race for established writers and producers after Netflix poached Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy from their longtime broadcast-focused homes at ABC Studios and 20th Television, respectively, in a push to own more of its content. That has ignited a nine-figure war for top talent and forced both traditional studios and rival tech giants like Apple and Amazon to step-up their game and offer more than typical overall deals used to include as both Murphy and Rhimes’ deals stretch beyond TV and include film. To that end, Amazon this week inked Nicole Kidman to a first-look film and TV pact, with SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels recently moving his film deal to Universal, further aligning him with its corporate sibling TV studio as he renegotiated his NBCU pact.

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Lesley Goldberg