Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Apple is expanding its investment in podcasts. Today, Apple Books and Oprah announced the launch of “Oprah’s Book Club” podcast, an eight-episode series that will explore themes related to Oprah’s Book Club pick and bestseller, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson. The podcast is the first to cross over from Apple’s streaming TV service, Apple TV+.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg had reported Apple was looking to make original podcasts related to programs on Apple TV+. These podcasts would serve as companions to Apple TV+ content, helping to market the Apple’s growing slate of Apple TV+ originals.

Other podcasts were also in development, later reports had claimed. In an interview with Forbes, for instance, an executive producer of the Apple TV+ anthology series “Little America,” Lee Eisenberg, had said the show would have its own podcast as well. But that one hasn’t yet launched.

Apple declined to talk about any other podcasting efforts.

Oprah’s Book Club, however, would make for an obvious start for any expansions on this front.

Image Credits: Apple Podcasts, screenshot via TechCrunch

Today, Apple already streams the “Oprah’s Book Club” series on Apple TV+. The company also has a number of ways to cross-market Book Club content. In addition to the new podcast series, for example, customers can also buy Oprah’s book selections on Apple Books, access a discussion guide for the book on Apple Books, and read and listen to an exclusive excerpt from “Caste” on Apple News, among other things. Apple Music Radio (formerly Beats 1) also features an author interview.

The premiere episode of the new podcast will focus on a conversation where Wilkerson talks about what inspired her to write “Caste” and how she believes society needs a new way to talk about racism, Apple says. Subsequent episodes will focus on specific pillars of caste, as described in her book. The new episodes will be released twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting today.

Apple so far has only made limited investments in podcasting, compared with the sizable efforts from rivals like Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon. Spotify has has hundreds of originals and exclusives available to its users. It also acquired several podcast networks and podcast startups, including Gimlet, Parcast, Anchor, and The Ringer.

Pandora, meanwhile, tapped into parent company SiriusXM’s assets to turn its talk shows into podcasts and developed a new podcast-and-music format, Pandora Stories. Amazon wraps in a premium collection of Audible podcasts with a Prime members.

Apple, on the other hand, releases more standard corporate fare as podcasts, like its Apple Keynotes and quarterly earnings call. Apple Retail had previously offered podcasts focused events at the Apple Store, but these are no longer updated. Apple News produces “Apple News Today,” and Apple Music produces “The Zane Lowe Interview Series” and “Songs for Life,” which also stream on Apple Music.

Apple Books, however, is the partner producer on the Oprah podcast, not Apple TV+, so it may not “officially” count as the first Apple TV+ companion series, we should note.

Unlike Spotify’s efforts, Apple’s podcasts are truly podcasts. That is, they’re made available for free on Apple Podcasts and can be added to any other podcast listening app via RSS, as the podcast format requires.

 

 


TechCrunch

“The Lovebirds” was originally slated for a theatrical release, but with movie theaters closed, Paramount decided to release the film through Netflix instead.

But even without a global pandemic, a Netflix release was probably the right call. As we discuss latest episode of the Original Content podcast, this doesn’t feel like a movie that would have done well in theaters.

It is, to be clear, a funny and watchable, thanks in large part to the charming performances of Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae as a couple who have hit a rough patch in their relationship — right as they’re also embroiled in a murder mystery. (There seems to be a whole subgenre of movies about couples who are inadvertantly caught up in crime stuff.)

The plot, on the other hand, is pretty thin, and it becomes even more perfunctory as the movie tries to wrap everything up at the end. That’s particularly disappointing since “The Lovebirds” reunites Nanjiani with his “Big Sick” director Michael Showalter — do not expect it to be as good as “The Big Sick,” or even close.

Before our review, we also discuss the launch of WarnerMedia’s HBO-and-more streaming service HBO Max.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:25 HBO Max discussion
10:51 “The Lovebirds” review
23:41 “The Lovebirds” spoiler discussion


TechCrunch

“Upload” feels like a slight, funny show — until you realize that without the jokes, the story would be unwatchably bleak.

The Amazon Prime Video series (created by Greg Daniels of “The Office,” “Parks & Recreation” and the upcoming “Space Force”) takes place in a near future where people can upload digital copies of themselves before they die.

The experience is marketed as a virtual retirement community, but it quickly becomes clear that being trapped in an afterlife run by a for-profit tech company has plenty of pitfalls. That’s doubly true for the show’s protagonist Nathan (played by Robbie Amell), who finds his entire existence controlled by his still-living girlfriend.

As we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we enjoyed the show’s humor and the richness of its worldbuilding. If we had a complaint, it was that the murder mystery plot was fairly perfunctory.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down.
0:00 Intro
0:20 “Upload” review (mild spoilers)
30:11 “Upload” spoiler discussion


TechCrunch

“The Platform” is not a subtle movie.

That’s true of its approach to horror, with intense, bloody scenes that prompted plenty of screaming and pausing from your hosts at the Original Content podcast. It’s also true of its thematic material — right around the time one of the characters accuses another of being communist, you’ll slap yourself on the forehead and say, “Oh, it’s about capitalism.”

The new Netflix film takes place in a mysterious prison, with two prisoners on each level (they’re randomly rotated each month). Once each day, a platform laden with delicious food is lowered through the prison. If you’re on one of the top levels, you feast. If you’re further down, things are considerably more grim, and can become downright gruesome as the month wears on.

“The Platform” is a hard movie to sit through, and it has other faults, like an irritatingly mystical ending. But it’s certainly memorable, and even admirable in its dedication to fully exploring both the logistical and moral dimensions of its premise.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:27 “The Platform” review
17:29 “The Platform” spoilers


TechCrunch

“The Family” is a new documentary series on Netflix, based on the work of journalist Jeff Sharlet — whose books promise to expose “the secret fundamentalism at the heart of American power” and “the fundamentalist threat to American democracy.”

Sarah Perez joins us on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast to discuss the series series, which offer a fascinating glimpse at a secretive group of evangelical Christians known only as The Family. Their most high-profile activity involves organizing The National Prayer Breakfast, an even that attracts major political figures, including every U.S. president since Eisenhower.

While the series opens with extensive, sinister and often cheesy reenactments showing Sharlet’s introduction to The Family, later episodes offer a broader perspective, interviewing figures who are part of or remain sympathetic to the organization, and pressing Sharlet on whether his view on The Family is correct.

Ultimately, “The Family” seems more interested in raising questions — about a specific organization and about the broader role of Christianity in American politics — than it is in answering them. It’s an admirable stance, but one might leave viewers a bit unsatisfied when they reach the end of the five-episode series.

In addition to our review, we also discuss Apple’s announcement of pricing and a November 1 launch date for its TV+ streaming service.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:53 Reader feedback
3:30 Apple TV+ pricing and launch date
16:59 “The Family” review


TechCrunch

“The Red Sea Diving Resort,” a new film on Netflix, is based on the true story of Mossad agents who took over an abandoned holiday resort in Sudan to smuggle Jewish Ethiopian refugees out of the country.

As we explain in the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the film feels like it’s made in the “Argo” mold, fashioning a political thriller out of a too-crazy-for-fiction events. But it’s not as well-made as “Argo,” while struggling with the same challenges — mixing serious and comedic tones, and balancing real-world politics with blockbuster thrills.

The balance feels particularly awkward with “Captain America” actor Chris Evans playing the Mossad agent leading the operation. He’s not bad in the role, but there’s not much substance or complexity to it, and his presence underlines the feeling that we’re watching a Hollywood fantasy.

The film also skimps on providing any broader political context. Maybe it deserves credit for not holding the audience’s hand, but as a result, all we know who the good guys are and who the bad guys. Meanwhile, none of the refugees — not even Kabede, who’s played by Michael K. Williams of “The Wire” — fully emerges a three-dimensional character.

Before our review, we discuss the apparent end of Disney and Sony’s agreement making Spider-Man part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, news that prompted outrage and petitions from unhappy fans.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro
2:25 Spider-Man news
14:37 “Red Sea Diving Resort” review
37:02 “Red Sea Diving Resort” spoiler discussion


TechCrunch

When we reviewed “Another Life” last week, we described it as an old-fashioned science fiction space show, something that’s been absent from TV for the past decade or so. “Wu Assassins” is another new Netflix series, and it’s also is a kind of a throwback — this time to ’90s martial arts series like “Vanishing Son” and “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.”

As we explain in the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, “Wu Assassins” — which tells the story of Kai, a San Francisco chef who receives mystical powers and must battle powerful nemeses known as the Wu Lords — has plenty of delightfully cheesy writing and special effects. But it’s set apart from those older shows in a couple key ways.

First, there’s the fact that Indonesian martial arts star Iko Uwais (who you might recognize from “The Raid” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) plays as Kai — he’s not a great dramatic actor, but once the action starts, he becomes a blur of punches and kicks.

The producers have surrounded Uwais with other other accomplished martial artists, so the resulting fight scenes are extraordinary. “Wu Assassins” includes a couple big set pieces, but even more remarkably, every single fight (and there are plenty) feels like it’s been choreographed for the perfect mix of beauty and brutality.

Even better, there’s Byron Mann’s performance as Uncle Six, a ruthless triad boss who has a long history with Kai. Mann brings real charisma and humanity to his performance, and he turns his dramatic scenes with Uwais into absolute highlight of the show. Plus, he’s just as compelling when he’s called upon to beat the crap out of his enemies.

In addition to praising “Wu Assassins,” we also discuss the CBS-Viacom merger and listener response to our review of “Another Life.”

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you want to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:40 “Another Life” listener response
11:51 CBS/Viacom merger
20:30 “Wu Assassins” review
33:52 “Wu Assassins” spoiler discussion


TechCrunch

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