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Apple TV Plus wins its biggest show yet – Netflix should be worried

When Netflix began its original content strategy, there was one tell-tale sign the streaming giant meant business – it outbid HBO for House of Cards, which would go onto become one of its most popular shows ever.

Now Apple is on a similar journey with its soon-to-launch Apple TV Plus platform and we’re seeing some similar signs. Today it emerged the first series to be made by Apple’s new in-house production company is Masters of The Air – a follow-up to the beloved HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, which aired in 2001.

Masters of Air is based on the book by Donald L. Miller and follows the true-life story of American Air Force pilots in World War II, particularly the 8th Air Force, who were instrumental in the invasion of Normandy and the bombing of Dresden.

Variety reports the series will be executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who also fulfilled those roles for Band of Brothers and the follow-up series The Pacific.

Given the first two instalments appeared on US premiere cable network HBO, it’s somewhat of a surprise Apple has won the rights to produce this series, particularly because the report says Spielberg and Hanks had ben trying to get the production off the ground with HBO since 2013.

Related: Apple TV exclusive shows

The original Band of Brothers series helped to set new standards in Hollywood-style production values and was one of the HBO shows that kickstarted the so-called 21st century ‘golden age’ of television.

It’s unclear how much Apple has paid for the privilege of showing this series on its TV Plus platform, which costs $4.99 a month, but the company certainly isn’t being shy about obtaining high profile original content.

Earlier this week the company signed Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron to a lucrative content deal, while it reportedly acquired the rights to a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol starring Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.

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