Eddy Cue on Apple’s TV plans and why Comcast and Netflix aren’t competitors

“A son of Cuban immigrants, [Eddy] Cue — married with three children, including two adult sons who now work in tech — is defined as much by Apple as he is by his love of Duke basketball, rock music and expensive cars,” Natalie Jarvey reports for The Hollywood Reporter. “He invited THR to his sports memorabilia-adorned office in Cupertino, Calif., to reveal what he learned about Hollywood from Jobs, why TV distribution is broken and to whom he turns for advice.”

A few snippets:

Will we see an Apple skinny bundle or live-TV streaming service?

Whether we’re providing it or somebody else is, it really doesn’t matter to us. What we’re trying to do is build the platform that allows anybody to get content to consumers. If a Time Warner [Cable] or a DirecTV wants to offer a bundle themselves, they should do it through Apple TV and iPad and iPhone. As a matter of fact, I’m not a big fan of the skinny bundle.

Why not?

I think it’s a misconception. Most people, at the end of the day, end up paying more, not less, for the things they love… People pay for Netflix as an add-on to TV, and they’re happy doing it. And why is that? Because they’re happy with what they’re getting from Netflix. So the question to ask about skinny bundles is, why are customers not happy?

So, why aren’t they happy?

They’re not getting the features that they want. The fact that I have to set things to record seems idiotic. And channel guides — I get home and I want to watch a Duke basketball game; why do I have to go hunting to find out what channel it’s on? Why can’t I just say, “I want to watch Duke basketball.” Or, even better, why doesn’t the system know that? “Here’s the Duke basketball game.” Those technical capabilities exist today. They just don’t exist for television.

If an agent came to you with a show pack-aged with a big star, you wouldn’t take it?

Probably not right now. We’re not in the business of trying to create TV shows. If we see it being complementary to the things we’re doing at Apple Music or if we see it being something that’s innovative on our platform, we may help them and guide them and make suggestions. But we’re not trying to compete with Netflix or compete with Comcast.

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A cynic might add to Cue’s quote thusly: “I’m not a big fan of the skinny bundle” ever since I couldn’t get the deals hammered out.


  1. Eddy Cue is the very definition of someone who got rich riding Steve Jobs’ coattails and continues to do so today – even after the Apple Music shitshow and the horribly unfinished Apple TV alpha release.

  2. Seems to me, Cue is carrying out Jobs’ original vision for iTunes. Don’t create the content—create the means for getting the content to the consumer. And monetize the flow. How is that so different from what Cue is saying? Virtually none of us knows Eddie Cue but we feel free to eviscerate him. How fair is that?

    1. One does not have to know someone intimately to judge their decision making, intelligence, leadership prowess, technical capabilities, and capacity to communicate. Each of these attributes can be evaluated individually without having to know a person’s personal predelictions, dietary habits, political persuasions, sexual preferences, or favorite color.

      1. Ah but also none of us are privy to what’s in the pipeline albeit maybe late in the pipeline. Easy to criticize when everyone here is ignorant of what might be just around the corner but moving at the speed of Apple. People too have a tendency to generalize and vilify about people they either don’t like or question (like you and me). All judgments are still vaporous conjecture, specious or otherwise without being a fly on their wall.

        That’s one of the reasons I find harsh criticism of Tim Cook is unwarranted (and believe it or not I have my own Tim complaints regarding the Mac Pro design debacle and slow upgrades) when in a single marketing cycle stroke all objections can be swept away and delight sets in instead. Until the next building sense of dissatisfaction that is, legitimate or otherwise. No point in being vicious, petulant & impatient whining babies about it. Complaints are fine but it’s when people start attacking those in charge personally, well then they’ve stepped over the line.

        For me it’s simple – September should see new 2016 Mac Pro’s along with the new macOS, hopefully back in an upgradeable form pro’s really want and Nvidia support. If not it’s a regrettable trip to the dark side in a PC workstation (preferably using Linux but not realistic for the pro apps I want to use) for me while using Macs for everything else.

    2. Fair point. I don’t have any personal issues with Cue or Cook. But ideas, words, and actions are always fair game for criticism.

      Any novel ideas from Cue? Nope.

      Any inspiring words from Cue? Nope.

      Any promising actions from Cue? Well, you’d have to have low standards and be ignorant of the strides the competition is making to consider Apple’s media distribution attempts to be progressing well. You have to have the premier product to charge the premier price, and Apple has lost it on many fronts. Apple Music and Apple TV are both also-ran platforms that fail to impress. iTunes languishes without user-friendly improvements (and restoration of simple features like multi-window functionality) that users have been asking for for years now. Clearly this is no longer a company focused on great user experience. It’s all about getting you on subscription.

      Cue, Cook, Ahrendts, … most of the executive team is overpaid and out of touch. Far too much time is spent on office decoration and gay rights and blue t-shirts instead of fundamentally improving the products and services. Product development proceeds at glacial pace, both hardware and software has glaring innate flaws in basic concept, and are delivered half-baked. GUI rules are violated, pro hardware buyers are given the middle finger. Sales and stock price now reflect that.

      Do you think if Cue’s buddies in U2 give away another throw-away album by pushing it to consumers without asking that would boost interest in Apple? What a great marketing idea, that’ll fix everything. Riiiiiiiiight.

  3. >> Virtually none of us knows Eddie Cue but we feel free to eviscerate him.

    Agreed. With regards to what we know and don’t know, lots of details are never made public leaving lots of possibilities for connecting the dots.

    And … yes, lots of bugs in Apple TV 4, from missing artwork, to shows that will or won’t download depending on how you go about finding time, to mostly uninspired apps, to the linear alphabet setup for typing (sure you can use voice but what if your voice isn’t a good match-up for Siri?).

  4. Apple does not need to own the whole thing.
    A platform where we can pick the channels we want that are supplied by content owners.

    I am tired of the cartel like bundling that forces us to subsidize crap we do not want.
    Give me HBO, Showtime, BBC World News, Bloomberg, Turner Classic Movies and CNN International – the London feed instead of the US feed. That will take care of it.
    I watch maybe 5-10 hours of ESPN in a year- just a few NCAA Football Games, so why should I have to subsidize them all year long? Pay per view for games would be nice.

  5. As much as I despise Comcast, their voice-activated remote is really slick and way better than the antiquated channel guide I have to live with using FIOS. They beat Apple to the punch on this long ago.

    On the bundling front – ESPN should be charged as a premium channel just like HBO. I resent paying the $10 a month tax for having ESPN bundled into my monthly bill when I absolutely never watch it. Let those who want it pay for it and those who don’t benefit from not having to subsidize it.

    And finally, the FCC needs to pass legislation saying that you should be able to buy your own cable box, and if you do rent the box, you own it after you’ve paid off 110% of the prevailing retail cost for similar boxes. Further, any new boxes they deploy must be backwards-compatible for five years to prevent their predictable shenanigan of changing hardware/software specs every two years to ensure nobody can use their paid-for boxes.

  6. Lack of skinny bundles… or ala carte programming… is pretty much the universal complaint I read about or hear. It’s the sine qua non of the cord cutting movement.

  7. The only way any bundle has any appeal to me is if I get to pick the assortment. Otherwise any bundle, skinny or fat is just the same thing as cable tv, channels I don’t want for too much money.

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