Apple’s suggestion of Time Warner bid hints at Hollywood ambitions

“Even if Apple Inc. never made an actual move to buy Time Warner Inc., a tentative approach shows that the iPhone maker is serious about getting into media content,” Jing Cao and Gerry Smith report for Bloomberg.

“Eddy Cue, who’s in charge of iTunes and Apple Music, brought up the idea of a possible deal with Time Warner corporate strategy head Olaf Olafsson in a meeting late last year, according to a person familiar with the situation,” Cao and Smith report. “While the two never started negotiations, Time Warner, which owns HBO and the Warner Brothers studio, is on the top of the list of media companies Apple would buy should it eventually commit to the content business, the person said.”

“Apple has tried to break into television for years, but has faced a number of roadblocks in the content business. Talks with TV networks such as CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. to license their content for a live television service fell apart last year.,” Cao and Smith report. “Apple was attempting to offer a Web package of the most popular channels for $40 a month — known as a ‘skinny bundle’ — which would cost about half of the average cable bill in the U.S. Late last year, CBS CEO Les Moonves said Apple put the plans for the service on hold. In the meantime, Apple has focused on building entertainment content for its set-top box, holding talks with media executives about obtaining exclusive shows for Apple TV.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in January, “Apple should use their cash pile to create some much needed leverage to finally get their Apple TV subscription bundle(s) up and running even if all they do is flash their cash around.”

Apple’s “skinny bundle” will have to have ESPN. It will also likely require the “Big Four” networks.

What others networks should be considered to be must-haves? Beyond the Big Four, if you go by primetime ratings (total viewers), the top 20 U.S. cable networks are:

2. Fox News Channel
2. USA
3. TBS
4. Disney
5. Discovery Channel
6. History Channel
7. TNT
9. Nickelodeon
10. AMC
11. Adult Swim
12. FX
13. Cartoon Network
14. Food Channel
15. Lifetime
16. ABC Family
17. Syfy
18. TLC
19. Hallmark
20. Investigation Discovery

Source: Nielsen estimates, Live plus-3 for Dec. 29, 2014 – Dec. 16, 2015 (M-Su 8-11 p.m.)

Apple contemplates dramatic push into media industry – May 26, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue proposed bid for Time Warner – May 26, 2016
Obviously, Apple could buy Time Warner, but they shouldn’t – January 14, 2016
Apple eyeing Time Warner assets to ease launch of a stand-alone streaming TV service – January 13, 2016


    1. That’s exactly what I was going to post. AOL bought Time Warner. It wasn’t a merger, it was a purchase (but the media kept referring to it as a “merger” because they couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that AOL could buy freaking Time Warner). But Time Warner was bigger in size and scope, and they slowly ate AOL Time Warner from the inside out. Eventually, a sad pathetic AOL was spun off, a shadow of what it once was.

      The same thing could happen to Apple. Apple is by far the bigger company in terms of revenue and market cap, but I’m pretty sure Time Warner dwarfs them in employees and in the scope of what they do. The weight of managing all that would require giving more and more power to the Time Warner people, until eventually they take control.

      Now, Apple taking a stake in Time Warner in return for the first shot at their content, I could see that. But buying the company would be dumb.


  1. The notion that Apple wants to get into Hollywood is kind of absurd. But since content is driving hardware sales, Apple needs to be involved. This is a knock down drag in. It is not a desire.

    Again I am not in the know and welcome input.

  2. Remember the MDN article that posited companies build huge HQ buildings just about when they jump the shark?

    I realize the article is speculative, but Apple increasingly looks like a company that has more money than it knows what to do with and has no unified or coordinated vision. Apple has spent decades developing a reputation and the trademarked logo is one of the most valuable and recognized in the world, so the new regime decides to take it off of the new look Apple Stores. Go inside and you can buy crap available anywhere but a Thunderbolt Dock or something a Mac user might need- no way.

    The App Store and third party sellers have games that cannot run on the crappy Vampire Video Intel Graphics that populate most of the Macs sold new.
    Apple Music, after billions invested has about 13 million paying members. ITunes has close to a Billion credit card linked accounts. That is an abject failure despite the PR spin.
    The new Apple TV does not support 4K TV, despite others selling them everywhere. No 4K content exists on iTunes.
    The Apple monitor is still $1,000 and does not support the latest connections or have 4K resolution.
    HomeKit is still not ready for Prime Time..
    Apple killed fingerprint sign-in on Macs with it’s purchase of AuthenTec and has yet to rectify the situation.
    Not a single Mac mini can be bought with even Iris Pro integrated graphics, much less a discrete graphics card. They are also sealed and have soldered in memory.
    No tower exists for the Pro Market that Apple continues to ignore.
    Apple spiked Aperture without an equivalent replacement application.

    They look like a trust fund dilettante, jumping from thing to thing and lacking focus to follow through.

    1. I basically agree.

      Apple seems to lack focus. They have some many “projects” that come and go, they are starting to look like Google Beta! For example, they cancelled iAd or whatever.

      I am not against moving to new cutting edge tech with little regard for backward compatibility, but this isnt tech, this is just poor product management.

      AppleTV – Behind the curve (no 4k, no tv package, etc.0
      Mac Mini – Too limited
      iPad/iPhone – lack of innovative features … 3D touch is not innovative
      Apple Watch – please ….
      itunes – still a mess (i can rent a movie, but can only watch on the device it was rented from. In other words, if I start watching on my appletv, i can not finish on my ipad, and once i start watching the rental, i only have 24 hours to complete? )

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