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THE BANKER – An Original Apple TV plus movie

In an era where streaming movies and TV programs has become the norm, Apple has joined the race by launching their new platform: Apple TV plus. Heavy-weight programs like The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon plus other original programming will stir up the heat in the streaming space. In addition, taking a cue from other platforms like Netflix and Amazon Video, Apple TV plus is also expanding its presence into movies. I was invited to the screening of The Banker at a private home on Hollywood Hills. This movie screening session had the trademark Apple style of connecting to users with panache and swag. The venue had breathtaking views of Los Angeles with a full-size theater with a fully geared control panel and sound system and a capacity of hosting 50-60 viewers.

Directed by George Nolfi and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie and Nicholas Hoult, The Banker centers around one of the first African American banking pioneers, Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris, who built their wealth on real estate by using a Caucasian face as the frontman. Bernard Garrett realized that the “American dream” is only feasible for people with access to credit, which the African Americans were often denied because of race. On their journey to combat racial discrimation in the ’60s, Bernard and Joe decided to purchase two banks that could enable African American businesses to expand their operations. Samuel L. Jackson’s powerful performance was electrifying and charming at the same time. Without giving away too much, I would highly recommend this movie to all my friends.

At the end of the screening, we heard directly from the production director about how they came up with the concept in 1996 (23 years ago!!). With a very limited budget, the production team had to recreate the US bank scene of the ’60s and ’70s without compromising on the authenticity of the script. The two bank buildings that feature in the film were actually shot on location at a local library and printing plant in Georgia with some minor scenes shot in Los Angeles and Texas. As the movie spans over 25 years of timeline, the costume director had to manage over 70 dressings to cater to different eras and ages. She also explained how they used different colours to emphasize the contrast  in the movie. Watching an Apple original movie on a Sunday afternoon at this amazing house was already a treat, but hearing directly from the production team was endearing, genuine and meaningful. Thanks to our hosts John Ross and Apple TV plus.

The streaming space is getting crowded with competition, with Disney, Netflix, Amazon Prime and now Apple TV plus all trying to woo subscribers. Traditional cable operators must act fast before they become obsolete completely. “Survival of the fittest” are the keywords.

What would I do if I were a local TV cable operator?

1 Change the business model and make it more subscriber-friendly and customizable by abandoning the “channel bundle” concept. Subscribers should be able to choose and not forced into buying worthless packages.

2. Make sure everything is mobile-friendly as more and more people are watching content on their phones.

3. Establish a purchasing team (in tune with market trend) to procure cost-effective content.

4. Create an ecosystem to reign in subscribers interested in gaming, dating (take reference from the hugely popular Chinese show You Are The One or Tinder model), housing (Netflix’s Stay Here), online auction (let audience submit their items for auctions make it more exciting than QVC and the like), online gaming, make your own movies (tik tok), reality shows with interesting and relevant topics like (how to become an influencer )   and sports related gaming platforms

5. Cable operators do not need stuffy “suits.” They need young people with fresh ideas who are more in tune with the market and better understand what the audience needs and wants.

6. Buy Netflix or similar content consolidator platforms through mergers and acquisitions

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