How Apple’s Jimmy Iovine helped land HBO Now

HBO CEO Richard Plepler “called up his old friend Jimmy Iovine to help him execute a pivot. Plepler had done PR for Iovine years earlier, at Warner Music,” Nicole LaPorte reports for Fast Company. “Iovine had sold Beats, the headphone business he owned with Dr. Dre, to Apple in May, for $3 billion. Plepler asked if Iovine thought Apple would be interested in being the lead distributor of HBO Now. Iovine didn’t hesitate: ‘I think that’s the shit,’ he said.”

“Plepler also reached out to Time Warner board member Paul Wachter, who worked on the Apple-Beats deal in his day job as an investment banker,” LaPorte reports. “Wachter connected him with Apple’s digital media chief, Eddy Cue, who came to New York for a meeting in Plepler’s office. Plepler explained that he needed a distributor, and that HBO Now would be ready by the spring (when Game of Thrones’ season 5 would bow). Cue tells me that he wanted to do the deal with HBO ‘the next day.'”

“It was an opportunistic arrangement that suited both sides. Apple has long been an also-ran in the streaming-TV wars. Teaming up with HBO, the kind of high-end partner Apple likes best, could help jump-start Apple TV. As for HBO, the deal did far more than simply deliver a distribution partner. Teaming up with the world’s most valuable and respected company would shine a bright light on HBO Now’s debut. Also, the deal focused the company’s digital ambitions—building for just one platform was infinitely less time-consuming than building for several—in a way that could ensure an earlier launch than the old deadline of late 2016,” LaPorte reports. “The deal was sealed before Time Warner’s investor conference in mid-October…”

Tons more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.


    1. How can it be too much if it will pay for itself in product alone, within 2-3 years, in addition to giving Apple a well oiled music business depatrment populated with top industry proven, professionals and connected talent like Iovine …???

    2. Still blows my mind.

      $3 Ba, ba, ba, billion dollars, as in a capital B billion.

      As in 1,000 million + 1,000 million + 1,000 million dollars.

      For what? A headphone company? For $100 million they could create from scratch headphone technology better then Beats. For bringing Jimmy and Dre over to Apple. Please, you could pay both of them $100 million a year each for the rest of their lives and save a lot of money? For street cred? Apple needs to buy street cred now? For their patents? Their patents could be bought for a fraction of a fraction of that.

      1. I thought it might have some better underlying meaning, such as new technology for how headphones connect to devices, like something combined right into lightning, for example. If that were in the pipes, it would have made sense to have another popular brand headphone manufacturer onboard and compatible from day one.

  1. “Apple has long been an also-ran in the streaming-TV wars.”

    …except it has NEVER been an “also-ran.” Quite the opposite, in fact: It has always led the set-top streaming device market, up to and including the most recent periods:,news-20605.html
    “NPD analyst John Buffone told us in an email that as of its last report on streaming devices at the end of 2014, ‘Apple TV remained #1 followed by Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV.'”

  2. This is the problem with Apple’s current PR machine. Where Steve Jobs and Katie Cotton kept a tight lid on the Apple troops and spoon fed very limited, highly controlled communications, it’s now a free for all with everyone at Apple dishing out ill considered sound bites to reporters. Stories like this one and the recent Wired article takes a bit of the magic out of Apple’s “ta-da!” accomplishment of landing this exclusive (albeit for a short period) HBO deal. It’s like seeing how sausage is made. No one needs to see that.

    1. Agreed. The new PR regime seems a bit too keen, a bit too obvious. Eddie Cue at the game, Angela dishing on Tim’s peaceful spirit, a trip in Ive’s Bentley, even a peek into Kevin Lynch’s family life. Yikes.

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