Oprah’s plan to build “the biggest, the most vibrant, the most stimulating book club on the planet” has come to fruition with the announcement of Oprah’s Book Club TV show exclusive to Apple TV+.
The Californian tech giant is partnering with Oprah ‘to build a vibrant, global book club’, ahead of the September launch of their video-on-demand streaming service.
Apple is spending US$2 billion on original programming alongside Oprah’s Book Club, in a bid to fill its streaming service with original content much like Netflix, who spent a reported $13 billion on content last year.
Though in a Q2 investor letter, Netflix admitted its original content had not driven enough growth for the streaming giant.
Apple’s partnership with Winfrey begins with “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Winfrey will interview the author in front of a live audience at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington D.C. next month.
The first episode will be available for Apple TV+ subscribers premiering 1 November, with pre-orders available now for “The Water Dancer”.
“There’s nothing more thrilling than being transported by a brilliant book!” said Oprah at Apple’s ‘Show Time’ event.
Apple is cross-promoting the show in its Books app, where each title covered will be available as either an e-book or audiobook.
Plus for every Oprah’s Book Club selection sold, Apple will contribute to the American Library Association to support local libraries and fund access programs.
The move is being seen as mutually beneficial for both parties, with Apple CEO, Tim Cook himself highlighting that “few people in the world can bring us together like Oprah.”
With Apple releasing a new episode every two months, the multi-year contract with Winfrey could help foster subscription numbers in the early days of Apple TV+.
Winfrey herself even mentioned Apple’s enormous market reach in her keynote, “they’re in a billion pockets ya’ll,” she said.
The Oprah Book Club first arrived in late 1996 on her original television show, and now over twenty years later, her reach will grow even more extensive under the Apple umbrella.
In an article by Forbes, Hoopla Content Strategist Tara Carberry suggested book clubs have moved from a ‘traditionally local gathering’ to sub-culture status; “Book clubs are really having a moment right now” he said.
This move by Apple and Oprah will seek to capitalise on the sub-culture boom across both its TV streaming and e-book/ audiobook platforms.
Oprah will also be developing two documentaries for the streaming service, including “Toxic Labour” focusing on workplace harassment.