Stalled talks with Ron Howard highlight Apple’s content confusion

“Apple was an early pioneer in the digital distribution of music and video with the iTunes store. But will it be a player in the next phase of content distribution?” Matthew Garrahan reports for The Financial Times. “The iPhone maker has been stalking Hollywood for more than a year, talking to leading industry players while it tries to formulate a cogent video strategy. It has considered a range of acquisitions and targets including, most recently, Imagine Entertainment, the Hollywood production company owned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, according to several people briefed on the discussions.”

“The talks were serious enough to involve Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, and Eddy Cue, its senior vice-president of internet software and services,” Garrahan reports. “The talks included a possible ‘first look’ distribution deal of Imagine movies and television shows, as well as an investment by Apple — or even a full purchase. But, as with many other potential deals involving Apple, the discussions fizzled out.”

“A tie-up with Apple, on paper, at least, would have made some sense,” Garrahan reports. “But then, Time Warner, which Mr Cue approached last year about a possible takeover, would have made sense too. Must-have Time Warner content, like HBO’s Game of Thrones, or hit Warner Brothers movies, could have underpinned an Apple video subscription service, strengthening the link between the device maker and its customers… Apple could get up to speed by buying a company. Or it could follow Amazon’s model: hire the right talent and give them the backing to get the ball rolling. Amazon made no films in 2015; it released 15 in 2016 and has seven Oscar nominations to show for it, including a best picture nomination for Manchester by the Sea.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re embarrassed for Apple, but, don’t forget what Tim Cook told us last fall, “And now, with the TV app, there’s really no reason to watch TV anywhere else.”


Thanks for the laugh, Tim!

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue
It’s quite possible that without Steve Jobs’ help, Eddy Cue couldn’t get ink in a stationery store.MacDailyNews, November 5, 2015

One more time: Which Apple VP is in charge of Apple TV among other chronically glitch-prone services that are uniformly saddled with Microsoftian UIs?

Therein Apple’s problem lies.

A jovial, fun-loving nature wrapped in unbuttoned shirts is no substitute for execution, quality, taste, and signed contracts, Tim.

Beloved by all, yet failing the company. It’s a conundrum that needs to be solved.MacDailyNews, November 3, 2016

Apple vowed to revolutionize television; currently prepping an unremarkable 4K Apple TV instead – February 16, 2017
Apple TV: Still not ready for prime time – February 15, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Are you ready for 4K TV? Apple TV isn’t. – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016
Here comes á la carte programming – without Apple – July 13, 2016
Apple TV 4 is a beta product and, if you bought one, you’re an unpaid beta tester – November 5, 2015


  1. personally i don’t know enough about eddy cue and his abilities – although there doesn’t seem to be much if anything to show yet for all his time or effort in this endeavor.

    on the other hand the mdn take “It’s quite possible that without Steve Jobs’ help, Eddy Cue couldn’t get ink in a stationery store. —” cuts to the heart of the issue.

    so…..could steve have gotten the deal done? well, maybe, but my guess is maybe not…. because the tv and film industry saw what he did to the music industry model and they are not particularly interested in getting outfoxed in a similar manner themselves.

    perhaps some of those executives took to heart the words of william shakespeare’s carved upon the the national archives building

    “what is past is prologue”

    and don’t want to get caught with their pants down, in a manner of speaking

    1. Yes but Apple has become the company it is vecasue it found ways to circumvent teh status quo (ie Microsoft) and outflank it. Sadly at present Apple is in danger of becoming like Microsoft as others are taking the same tactics to make progress whereas apple is so far falling flat in its head on approach and writing off any other tactics. Equally it seems scared to risk doing what either Google and even more-so Amazon are doing to make progress in this field. Yes its early days but if Apple finds itself trailing those companies the way it did/does Spotify when it saw no future in music streaming then its chances of catching up will be close to nil considering their far superior status, competences and size as compared to Spotify.

    2. Eddy Cue is a tech guy and should not be booking deals with Hollywood. He lost the skinny TV package and with time will piss off Hollywood, who are a different breed of people. Basically I still can’t see anything that Cue is in charge of comes off strong.

  2. Surely by 2013 at the latest if must have been obvious that content was going to be the key to any progression in Apples plans streaming plans. If it didn’t know then well it can hardly fail to know it now can it? Yet it behaves as if its just a desirable but non crucial desire. Yet it is anything but, Apple needs two things 1) to be able to stimulate its products/platforms by unique and desirable content instead or or at least prior to other players in the field, or more new players. 2) It needs new areas of interest to supplement its reliance on the iPhone especially as (totally predictable) recent events show may plateau at any time. So developments in the media streaming and original content field linked at the hip to its stalling AppleTV hardware is not only the most blatantly obvious area to push into it may in the shorter term be the only substantial area available to it to make a serious impact. Its deeply sad that Amazon and Google come from no wehere to leave Apple in the dust because they actually see the important of this move from both a defensive and attacking perspective. They must be absolutely delirious with the stupidity over at Infinite Prevarication that’s allowing them such free runs at the biggest new platform opportunity in, and for years to come.

  3. The one thing that MDN and many others do not consider is how profitable Apple’s media ventures might be. Amazon and others may tolerate tiny margins — or none at all — to be out there with their high-quality content. Since Apple’s success is perceived mostly through earnings, not hype and “growth” like Amazon and others of its towering PE peers, all the readers of MDN who own AAPL would not like it if Apple ventured into areas that were loss leaders, mostly for putting a shine on their image rather than helping their shareholders. Having a good image with customers is good but Apple has that. Going into highly competitive areas that cannot generate adequate profits would not, in the long run, help Apple.

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