Why Apple’s Eddy Cue currently isn’t ‘a big fan of the skinny bundle’

“Apple has spent years trying to assemble a ‘skinny bundle’ of TV channels that it could sell directly to consumers. Last year it tried it again,” Peter Kafka writes for Recode. “So it was surprising to see Eddy Cue, Apple’s top media exec, tell the Hollywood Reporter today that this isn’t something he’s particularly interested in.”

“‘As a matter of fact, I’m not a big fan of the skinny bundle,’ he said, and then went on to argue that the real problem with TV isn’t that people are paying too much for channels and programs they don’t want, but that the tech they use to watch TV isn’t good enough,” Kafka writes. “Again, this doesn’t square with Apple’s longstanding efforts — led by Cue — to deliver a skinny bundle. I asked Apple to explain the cognitive dissonance, and they referred me back to the Hollywood Reporter piece.”

Kafka writes, “So now that we’re done with that exercise, I’m going to suggest that there are some things Cue would say differently if he were speaking to someone privately, instead of in an on-the-record interview.”

Kafka’s translation is here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote so concisely this morning:

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.

Eddy Cue on Apple’s TV plans and why Comcast and Netflix aren’t competitors – July 14, 2016


    1. He may have cracked it, figured it out, etc. But in then entertainment industry you have to pay in order to play. While Steve and Apple know what would improve media consumption, for the rest of us. That is not the goal of the producers. We are the product and the advertiser is the customer.

      The market is locked up. The only way for Apple to safely enter the market, is to buy out an established media giant and then rewrite the book.

        1. I think they look at this and know what to do, but truly see that no matter the path they take, it’s a bag of hurt, as Steve said about Blu-Ray.

          If they buy a company they have to deal with the FCC, and other governmental agencies. I think what’s happening now is they are trying to work with third parties like Dish and DTV (AT&T) as proxies. It would be desirable for the satellite providers to be able to reach customers who don’t want or can’t have all the extra equipment to access their services.

          I hope something good is coming.

    2. He also called it a big bag of hurt. There is no way the media cartels are just going to let Apple in on their money stream the way iTunes barged into music. They have slammed that door shut and are actively working to keep Apple out.
      Cracking it may be the best term. Apple has fomented technologies that are now cracking the age old monopoly the networks have held from all directions. They just have to wait. Fear of falling behind technically, coupled with greed and demand, will drive the networks to create a new scheme. Once the old paradigm has fallen, Apple will be one of the most capable of providing services under whatever new rules arise. Eventually the “bundle” and set top boxes we suffer will die. Just now, networks are beginning to offer their shows ala carte on-line, the way Youtube broadcasts subscriptions to individual subscribers. And … If they do it, so can anyone else, legally, including Apple.
      Don’t forget, Apple didn’t invent the GUI, MP3 player, nor the Cell phone. They came in late but made them far better than anyone else.

      1. Apparently folks are cutting the cable and dropping the satellite at a rate of 70,000 customers per month. How long is the current business model sustainable?

  1. What is with Eddy Cue? Everything he leads is a big bust. Apple TV is incomplete, he keeps adding third party apps to search and still hasn’t added a search for My Movies or My Tv Shows. iTunes is bloated and broken, took him almost a year to release a new Remote app. I’m wondering if he removed the search function on it as well!

    1. Not being able to search for My Movies and TV Shows with Siri shows that Apple is designing for them and not the people who actually buy and use the products. Once again I ask, what is Apple using their resources on? Could care less about a car. I do care about the hardware and software that I use every day of my life.

  2. One day, when the content creators cartel is broken, we will get on demand programming at rates the cable carriers currently pay per channel.

    Viewership will increase with payments flowing to quality programming vs the way it is now: pay for 200+ channels of crap to get the 5 or 6 (national average) you actually watch.

    1. That question has already been answered above. From the perspective of media companies, we are not their primary customers. Advertisers are the true customer and we are the product. Until Apple figures out how to be a wedge between content distributors and content providers little will change.

      The fact that 70,000 cable/satellite subscribers are leaving each month is helpful. But at that rate it could take many years before content distributor feel any sort of financial pinch. Apple needs to find a business model that can increase rewards for content providers of successful movies and TV shows than they would get under the current distribution system. This will eventually pit successful content owners against less successful content owners. This divide and conquer strategy motive enough content owners to shift their business models, opening the way for Apple to exploit the opportunity.

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