The already-crowded streaming market is on the verge of getting some new competitors, with Apple TV Plus, Disney+, HBO Max, and more gearing up to face off against more established players like Netflix and Hulu. These companies are willing to shell out some big bucks to try to compete, with Apple reportedly spending nearly $15 million per episode on See, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
To put that number in perspective, Game of Thrones — likely the most expensive TV show made yet — took eight seasons to work its way up to a $15 million-per-episode budget. Apple is starting See out at a similar cost, which feels like a pretty big bet to place on a brand-new sci-fi series, even one with the star power of Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard behind it. See is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of humanity is blind. The company briefly previewed it in its sizzle reel at the Apple TV Plus announcement.
Disney’s upcoming series The Mandalorian was expected to cost around $10 million per episode, but the WSJ’s report notes that it also has seen costs nearing $15 million per episode.
These numbers are certainly indicators of what the skyrocketing costs of trying to capture Hollywood blockbuster-level CGI and spectacle on a TV show have become. But they also highlight how important companies like Apple and Disney feel their streaming services are going to be to their overall business models since they’re willing to shell out this much cash upfront to win the market. All that’s left now is to see if these shows are actually good — and if they’re enough to keep these services afloat.