Tech giant Apple is joining forces with Oscar-winning studio A24 to produce a slate of original, feature-length films in a move that is expected to ramp up its competition to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

New York-based A24, founded in 2012, is probably best known for producing “Moonlight”, the winner of the 2017 Oscars, alongside “The Witch”, “Ex Machina” and other hits.

The multiyear partnership will see A24 create several original movies for Apple as the iPhone manufacturer seeks to reduce its dependence on the smartphone market and pushes into TV and movies, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Only last month, there were reliable reports that Apple plans to launch a TV subscription service in the US in the first half of 2019 and has set aside $1bn to create and purchase original content.

The company's agreement with A24, and push into full-length, adult-oriented movies, marks a departure from its previous original content that focused on documentaries, such as “The Elephant Queen”.

People “familiar with the matter” told the WSJ that two top Hollywood producers, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, both poached from Sony Pictures Television – where they were in charge of shows such as “The Crown” – would oversee the Apple initiative.

Apple, which WPP and Kantar Millward Brown ranked last week as the most valuable brand in the US ($316.1bn), declined to comment on whether any of the A24-produced films would have theatrical releases.

But Variety made clear that its deal with A24 is not exclusive, meaning the studio will continue to produce and release other movies independently.

Nor will Apple have a “first look” arrangement, so A24 will be able to continue its US distribution deals with DirecTV, which offers films on-demand 30 days prior to theatrical release, as well its post-cinema deal with Amazon.

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Variety; additional content by WARC staff