21st Century Fox CEO ribs Apple's video efforts as insufficient

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 30
Apple's efforts to produce original video content could be grander in scale, according to 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, suggesting the slower pace of commissions may not have as big an impact as competitors like Netflix.




When asked for the kind of advice he would provide non-media companies entering the industry, Murdoch highlighted the need to encourage creativity from producers. Speaking at Recode's Code conference, he noted that this should be done at scale, and to accept not every project will be successful.

"Managing a creative business is quiet challenging," he said. "I don't think it's that different. I think every part of every business, every great business, is creative."

Speaking from his experience at 21st Century Fox, Murdoch adds that to understand how to manage a creative business, there also needs to be an understanding of the "diversity of output you'll be required to have and to encourage," and in his case, being entrepreneurial in his approach.

Part of empowering creators and encouraging them to push the envelope also means having to embrace when projects go wrong, with the CEO admitting "We often fail, and I think being tolerant of failure is important."

Using Apple as an example of where companies are "dabbling" in the market, Murdoch notes Apple's approach leaves little room for failure. "If you look at Apple, going piece by piece, one by one, show by show, etcetera, is going to take a long time to really move the dial and have something mega."

Producing to scale is a massive challenge, Murdoch acknowledges, but then turns to Netflix as an example of a massive investor in content. Netflix's expenditure on original content is being made "in anticipation of potentially their not being able to acquire rights from outside programmers," with Murdoch calling the strategy one involving "enormous bets."

During South by Southwest in March, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue advised of Apple's strategy to produce fewer shows is intentional, stressing the need for quality over quantity. "We want things that are of great quality," said Cue. "That doesn't mean everything will be a hit, but everything should be very very high quality, and I think that's where we will stand out."

Apple's video production efforts are by no means minimal, as Apple is believed to have a $1 billion war chest dedicated to original content, with a report from last year suggesting the investment can grow far beyond that figure over the next few years. By comparison, Netflix reportedly has plans to spend up to $8 billion on content in 2018 alone.

Current notable Apple production deals including a revival of Amblin Television's sci-fi anthology series "Amazing Stories," an animated musical series from the creator of "Bob's Burgers," and a drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. The total number of projects is believed to be in excess of 12, including nine "straight-to-series" orders without a pilot, with the first batch of shows from the effort potentially arriving in early 2019.

Apple has also reportedly signed a lease for a building in Culver City, Ca., which is speculated to become the company's content-related headquarters. Opening in 2019, the building includes 128,000 square feet of office space across four stories, minutes away from another 85,000-square-foot facility that has been linked to Apple since last year.

21st Century Fox is currently the subject of two acquisition offers, from Disney and Comcast. The $52.4 billion Walt Disney Co. deal, which involves Fox's entertainment properties and assets round the world, is currently awaiting regulatory approval, while Comcast is believed to be preparing a separate all-cash offer worth $60 billion in a separate bid.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,004member
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    mike1jony0lolliverStrangeDaysclaire1
  • Reply 2 of 17
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,899member
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    Yep. Remember when the Swatch CEO called the Apple Watch a "toy"?
    mike1jony0lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,367member
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    edited May 30 rogifan_newmattbookairlkrupp
  • Reply 4 of 17
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,719member
    Soli said:

    Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.

    That's exactly how Apple operates all their divisions, why would content production be any different. Apple going "gung-ho" is exactly how they ended up in the mess they did in the mid-90's. Steve Jobs coming back and cutting off all the fat is what saved the company.

    That strategy works for Netflix because that's their entire business. Apple doesn't need to play that game - it's a brand new market for them, any amount of success will just increase their bottom line even further.
    techprod1gylito_lupenalolliverStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,367member
    mjtomlin said:
    Soli said:

    Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    ...why would content production be any different.
    I refer you back to Murdoch's comments.

    Apple going "gung-ho" is exactly how they ended up in the mess they did in the mid-90's.
    You really think putting a few hundred million more into content creation will doom Apple? You really should have more faith in Apple.

    Steve Jobs coming back and cutting off all the fat is what saved the company.
    No, it didn't. it slowed how much they were losing. That's it. What saved the company were compelling products that people wanted to buy.

    That strategy works for Netflix because that's their entire business.
    No, hardly any of Netflix's content is owned. It's almost all licensed. Even stuff they add "Netflix Original" to is often licensed or bought after it was created elsewhere.

     Apple doesn't need to play that game.

    You're right, they don't need to do it, but they also don't need to create any content and yet they are.


    … any amount of success will just increase their bottom line even further.

    That sentence shows that you've completely missed his point.

    edited May 30 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,607member
    Aren't things always insufficient while getting up to speed and identifying niggling problem areas? Apple will be just fine.
    jony0lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 17
    nunzynunzy Posts: 332member
    Apple haters never change.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,266member
    Really hope Disney wins out on the Fox bid, if for no other reason for bringing all of the Marvel properties under one roof.
    edited May 30 lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 17
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,842member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I hope Apple offers a compelling reason why they’re getting into original content. Monetizing the user base/increasing ARPU isn’t it. I don’t think the issue is a derth of content. I would argue there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch. Is Apple’s content going to be better than what Netflix/Amazon/HBO etc. offer? Is there some innovative way they’re going to deliver/sell this content? I remember when Apple Music was launched at WWDC. It started with a confusing, rambling intro by Jimmy Iovine followed a much too long Eddy Cue presentation which was nothing more than an app demo. I hope when their TV content is finally announced it’s presented better and we get more of a vision behind it.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,367member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I hope Apple offers a compelling reason why they’re getting into original content. Monetizing the user base/increasing ARPU isn’t it. I don’t think the issue is a derth of content. I would argue there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch. Is Apple’s content going to be better than what Netflix/Amazon/HBO etc. offer? Is there some innovative way they’re going to deliver/sell this content? I remember when Apple Music was launched at WWDC. It started with a confusing, rambling intro by Jimmy Iovine followed a much too long Eddy Cue presentation which was nothing more than an app demo. I hope when their TV content is finally announced it’s presented better and we get more of a vision behind it.
    1) There's certainly a lot of content out there, but the argument that "there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch" has probably been true by the 1950's with television programs. We're always want more and better stuff. One could argue that entertainment is healthy.

    2) I don't know if it will be better and I don't know what it really offers the company, but I hope it's something great. Unlike with the original Apple TV where Apple struggled to get content owners to license to Apple because streaming was still very iffy in their minds and Apple had completely owned the music industry by licensing content which I'm sure they didn't want to happen to them, the content is already available to the iTS, not to mention countless services available to major Apple products for streaming content. 
  • Reply 11 of 17
    nunzynunzy Posts: 332member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I hope Apple offers a compelling reason why they’re getting into original content. Monetizing the user base/increasing ARPU isn’t it. I don’t think the issue is a derth of content. I would argue there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch. Is Apple’s content going to be better than what Netflix/Amazon/HBO etc. offer? Is there some innovative way they’re going to deliver/sell this content? I remember when Apple Music was launched at WWDC. It started with a confusing, rambling intro by Jimmy Iovine followed a much too long Eddy Cue presentation which was nothing more than an app demo. I hope when their TV content is finally announced it’s presented better and we get more of a vision behind it.
    Apple's content will be first rate. Think Game of Thrones meets The Sopranos on steroids, but all suitable for Disney family hour.
    edited May 30
  • Reply 12 of 17
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,068member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    Apple has barely begun to get into video content production and there is no shortage of unsolicited advise coming in.

    Remember the advice Apple was given about building its own cars? What The NY Times and other rags won’t state clearly is Apple has designed seats, dashboards, sensors, batteries, etc for cars and will be testing this hardware with Volkswagen. 

    I think Apple is figuring out how to use a lot of its video production software and Mac hardware to help with post production. Ramping up scale as suggested would become a nightmare fast. 


  • Reply 13 of 17
    I'm not totally sure why Apple wants to be in video content, but I suspect they want to grow the services business. And I think they recognize that Netflix is to streaming video as iTunes was to downloading music for a long time. These days Apple Music is doing good, but they're competing against Spotify, whereas they never had a real strong competing service with iTunes in downloads. I suspect that they find that they can't get enough networks to agree to license their content to Apple, so they're doing this so that they can demonstrate to people what video consumption "the Apple way" looks like. (I know they had some patents on cloud DVR tech back in the day). I still think that they should do what they did with the iPod (though this time do it intentionally) and make it brain dead simple for the Apple TV to play pirated content. They should allow you to connect external HDDs to the Apple TV and they should let loose the dogs of war on the cable providers until they come begging to Apple. I mean by that point Apple won't be able to roll back the damage of allowing torrent apps onto the App store, but they would be able to offer a 10 dollar a month package that would get those networks a small chunk of the money they're losing out on. They could eat the market for Kodi boxes if they just put in the effort. It would also allow them to get a big install base for tvOS to help prop up the gaming apps that should already be flourishing on the Apple TV but aren't. Seriously though, the big cable providers keep trying to milk a shrinking user base and keep pulling user hostile garbage. I'm sure Apple could make back on hardware sales what they'd lose in iTunes movie rentals.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,787member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I hope Apple offers a compelling reason why they’re getting into original content. Monetizing the user base/increasing ARPU isn’t it. I don’t think the issue is a derth of content. I would argue there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch. Is Apple’s content going to be better than what Netflix/Amazon/HBO etc. offer? Is there some innovative way they’re going to deliver/sell this content? I remember when Apple Music was launched at WWDC. It started with a confusing, rambling intro by Jimmy Iovine followed a much too long Eddy Cue presentation which was nothing more than an app demo. I hope when their TV content is finally announced it’s presented better and we get more of a vision behind it.
    Yeah this is the sort of crazy double-standard people reserve for Apple. Did Amazon, who started as an online bookseller, "need" to start creating video content, or was there enough content in the world? Of course there was enough. But they wanted some of it to be theirs. So that entire angle doesn't make any sense. 

    Nor does the delivery have to be unique in some bizarre way. Again, there's no rational reason to demand this of Apple. They sell stuff, people pay them money and use the product. There's no reason to expect some silly nonsense like air drone delivery of content.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,367member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I hope Apple offers a compelling reason why they’re getting into original content. Monetizing the user base/increasing ARPU isn’t it. I don’t think the issue is a derth of content. I would argue there’s way more content than people have the time or the want to watch. Is Apple’s content going to be better than what Netflix/Amazon/HBO etc. offer? Is there some innovative way they’re going to deliver/sell this content? I remember when Apple Music was launched at WWDC. It started with a confusing, rambling intro by Jimmy Iovine followed a much too long Eddy Cue presentation which was nothing more than an app demo. I hope when their TV content is finally announced it’s presented better and we get more of a vision behind it.
    Yeah this is the sort of crazy double-standard people reserve for Apple. Did Amazon, who started as an online bookseller, "need" to start creating video content, or was there enough content in the world? Of course there was enough. But they wanted some of it to be theirs. So that entire angle doesn't make any sense. 

    Nor does the delivery have to be unique in some bizarre way. Again, there's no rational reason to demand this of Apple. They sell stuff, people pay them money and use the product. There's no reason to expect some silly nonsense like air drone delivery of content.
    And Netflix didn't need to ship DVD through the mail when we had a video store on every corner, and here we are today with video stores being so rare that if you do pass one you wonder if it's a front for some illegal business because you can't imagine how they can possibly stay in business today.
    edited June 1
  • Reply 16 of 17
    asciiascii Posts: 5,634member
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I agree. One of the main benefits of streaming to consumers instead of broadcasting is that you can see exactly what people like and don't like. You don't have to rely on statistical samples, you get the actual complete figures. Spamming content is a more valid strategy that its ever been.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,367member
    ascii said:
    Soli said:
    lkrupp said:
    I seem to remember a few other CEOs who “ribbed” Apple when Apple entered those CEO’s turfs. 
    His comment is not the same as RiM's. In fact, I don't see where he says anything negative about Apple entering this space. His comment seems straightforward about how going piece-by-piece takes a long time to move the dial. The reasoning is sound and I agree with him that creating a lot of stuff and expecting failures in content is the best plan. I neither care, nor remember, all the failures for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and all the network stations, but I know their hits. Maybe Apple should be less cautious and more gung-ho about creating content.
    I agree. One of the main benefits of streaming to consumers instead of broadcasting is that you can see exactly what people like and don't like. You don't have to rely on statistical samples, you get the actual complete figures. Spamming content is a more valid strategy that its ever been.
    Amazon has been doing something interesting the last couple(?) years. They green light a bunch of pilots to be made, they make those pilots available to Prime members (or maybe no login is required), and then viewer vote on which pilots they like the most.

    It's effectively no different than the prescreening that movies and TV shows do to gauge audience reactions, sometimes retooling things before the final release. I believe I read something recently about Deadpool 2 a) doing reshoots to add more comedic elements because test screenings enjoyed that, and b) removing both a montage of Deadpool repeatedly trying to commit suicide and removing a post credits scene where he goes back in time to murder baby Hitler, which the audiences felt were too much.
    edited June 1
Sign In or Register to comment.