WSJ News Exclusive | Apple Looks to Lease Hollywood Hub for Filming Shows and Movies

Apple Inc. told real-estate developers it wants to lease a large production campus in Los Angeles for its growing entertainment operations, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that would further deepen big tech’s presence in Hollywood.

Apple told development executives it is looking at several possible locations, the people said. The new hub could exceed half a million square feet and would complement Apple’s current arrangement, where the company leases soundstages to film in the Los Angeles area and other parts of the world.

Since launching in November 2019, Apple TV+ has streamed a handful of well-known shows and movies, including hits “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show,” but it remains a relatively small operation compared with entrenched rivals like Netflix Inc. or Inc. Now, with an expansion under way, the company is using big-budget movies and a spate of new film and TV deals to set the stage for it to compete more directly with other tech players.

A larger Apple footprint in the entertainment capital would reinforce the commitment of the world’s most valuable company in the streaming wars that are defining modern-day Hollywood. Apple TV+ has occupied a curious position in the industry, known for well-regarded shows but lacking the scale many producers assumed it would have, especially given its aggressive push into music and podcasts.

In recent months, investors have come to believe that even a Goliath like Apple will need to double down on entertainment if it wants to compete for subscribers, as consolidations like the WarnerMedia- Discovery Inc. tie-up turn the market into a top-heavy brawl. Apple executives appear to agree, announcing in the past year a new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, record-setting acquisitions and a series of other initiatives that signal a new chapter for its Hollywood efforts.

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