Apple TV + is said Purchased rights to Fraggle Rock’s full back catalog, which includes approximately 100 episodes of the live action puppet show that originally belonged to HBO.
Apple has already funded a short line of ‘Fraggle Rock On’ shorts and is now expanding that relationship. In addition to the full Fraggle Rock catalog, Apple is ordering a season restart of the show with full-length episodes.
According to Vulture, the newly acquired Fraggle Rock episodes will be streamed on Apple TV + this week.
The news follows Bloomberg’s reporting that Apple bought an earlier content catalog to support its previously streamed streaming service, ‘All Originals’.
Vulture reports, however, that Apple’s programming strategy remains largely unchanged from the premise of all originals. Apple supposedly doesn’t want to buy up tons of content and only does select deals where it makes sense – like getting the back catalog of a show when they order a restart.
But the source near Apple says that there has been no change in the basic strategy, even if the deal is for Fraggle rock represents a modest development in thinking about the streamer. Apple could only consider buying library titles if it is also working on a new project related to the existing property.
If Apple hadn’t made this deal, customers would have had to use HBO to see the old Fraggle Rock, but would have come to TV + to restart.
Similarly, according to Vulture, Apple has acquired the rights to Long Way Round and Long Way Down, a travel show with Ewan McGregor. Apple has already commissioned a new episode of the franchise company Long Way Up, which will feature Charley Boorman alongside McGregor on Harley electric motorcycles.
This is not the first time Apple has done this. As early as 2018, Apple’s original programming department ordered an American series from a French show called ‘Calls’. This show is still under development and has yet to be presented in service. When Apple bought it, they also acquired rights to the original French-language episodes. At this point it was not clear whether Apple really wanted to broadcast these episodes or whether this was only part of the license terms.
This was of course the exception. Apple TV + has restarted several other series without regaining catalog rights. For example ghostwriters and amazing stories.
It will be interesting to see what Apple will record in the future. The original Apple schedule currently runs through July 10 with a total of 30 titles.