Here's why Apple didn't win with a $500 million offer to J.J. Abrams for Apple TV+

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2019
When Apple offered J.J. Abrams $500 million dollars to produce content for Apple TV+, he turned it down to accept less money to work with WarnerMedia and keep more creative control over his work.

JJ Abrams turned down Apple's $500 million


J.J. Abrams has created a lot of popular series, including Lost, Alias, and Westworld. He's also responsible for directing 2009's Star Trek reboot. His clout and talent made him an attractive prospect to Apple, who entered into a year-long bidding war for exclusive rights to work with his production company, Bad Robot.

Reports state that Apple ended up bidding somewhere in the range of $500 million dollars, which Abrams ultimately turned down in order to work with WarnerMedia.

According to sources familiar with the deal, Abrams has signed a five-year deal with WarnerMedia, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The contract is said to be worth somewhere in the $250 million dollar range.

Abrams refusal of Apple's $500 million offer reportedly comes down to risks and benefits. Had Abrams signed a contract with Apple, he would have to produce content exclusively for Apple TV+. Additionally, all of his content would have been shown exclusively on Apple TV+, limiting any potential audience he may get from third-party outlets.

John Stankey, the WarnerMedia CEO, said that he'd made it his personal mission to secure a deal with Bad Robot. WarnerMedia was able to offer substantial IP for Abrams to adapt, something that Apple would not have been able to provide. Additionally, Abrams wouldn't have been locked into a single-platform distribution model, either.

Abrams reportedly felt as though WarnerMedia had more to offer at the time. WarnerMedia is a large, established media giant -- with established intellectual property -- and would have offered more overall benefits and less risk than gambling on a new media service.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45

    John Stankey, the WarnerMedia CEO, said that he'd made it his personal mission to secure a deal with Bad Robot. WarnerMedia was able to offer substantial IP for Abrams to adapt, something that Apple would not have been able to provide. Additionally, Abrams wouldn't have been locked into a single-platform distribution model, either.

    Abrams reportedly felt as though WarnerMedia had more to offer at the time. WarnerMedia is a large, established media giant -- with established intellectual property -- and would have offered more overall benefits and less risk than gambling on a new media service.
    Hmm... something serious to ponder. Incumbents are not just going to roll over as new companies enter the market.
  • Reply 2 of 45
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but, doesn't Apple have over 1 Billion active devices? If so, Abrams does not believe that's enough? I'm sure someone else will comment with deeper analytical insight. I'm willing to listen.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 45
    J.J. Abrams doesn't need the money, he was always going to go for creative control plus the security of existing business relationships. Must confess, I still don't understand Apple's plan...
    CloudTalkinscampercomravnorodombloggerblogkestralchemengin1beowulfschmidtjony0
  • Reply 4 of 45
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,095member
    JJ Abrams have principles to uphold and he doesn't get swayed by more money.
    ravnorodomkestralchemengin1
  • Reply 5 of 45
    J.J. Abrams doesn't need the money, he was always going to go for creative control plus the security of existing business relationships. Must confess, I still don't understand Apple's plan...
    100% this.  Creative control was the key imo.  Then throw in the existing relationships, multiple distribution channels, chance to work on interesting IP...  seems kinda like a no brainer.  It's not like Abrams is an industry newcomer who'd be wowed by the money being bandied about.
    edited September 2019 kestralchemengin1jony0
  • Reply 6 of 45
    Didn’t want to produce Apple sanitized content...
    AppleExposedkestralchemengin1
  • Reply 7 of 45
    I am curious about Apple TV+ but my expectations are safe, family stuff, so things with violence but nothing that would make Mike Pence blush. 
  • Reply 8 of 45
    spice-boy said:
    I am curious about Apple TV+ but my expectations are safe, family stuff, so things with violence but nothing that would make Mike Pence blush. 
    True....it’s all guessing. Just like what they said about apple watch or apple music that its a flop , hmmm 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 45
    Supposedly you get 1 year free Apple TV+ with the purchase of hardware.

    I’m skeptical Apple produced content will be any good.  Disney after all doesn’t just produce cartoons for a reason...
  • Reply 10 of 45
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,062member
    J J: I must have creative control!
    Apple: Sure, no problem. Just – just go easy in the lens flare, please.
    J J: I'm outta here. I must have creative control!

    No, I imagine Apple gave him a general idea of boundaries and he simply chose not to work within that frame work. Certainly his choice and not a bad one for him.

    Just as certainly, nothing wrong with Apple wanting to have certain boundaries and expectations of their content, either.

    CloudTalkin said:
    ...who'd be wowed by the money being bandied about.
    'Bandied about' is certainly not what Apple was doing. That's just ridiculous.

    Must confess, I still don't understand Apple's plan...
    Which is some of the reason we're not running a multi-billion dollar company. Apple is just getting started. There will be growing pains and Apple could bow out at some point. Or, like the iPhone, iPad, Watch, and retail stores, Apple might barely eek by, traveling the treacherous Beleaguered Boulevard to Doomsville. Or they could break even and stay in business another day.

    Apple and JJ both have visions of what they want to accomplish. This time they weren't on the same page. They may never be. Contrary to popular belief, nothing wrong with that.
    AppleExposedpscooter63StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member

    John Stankey, the WarnerMedia CEO, said that he'd made it his personal mission to secure a deal with Bad Robot. WarnerMedia was able to offer substantial IP for Abrams to adapt, something that Apple would not have been able to provide. Additionally, Abrams wouldn't have been locked into a single-platform distribution model, either.

    Abrams reportedly felt as though WarnerMedia had more to offer at the time. WarnerMedia is a large, established media giant -- with established intellectual property -- and would have offered more overall benefits and less risk than gambling on a new media service.
    Hmm... something serious to ponder. Incumbents are not just going to roll over as new companies enter the market.
    Just remember that the same things were said when Apple entered the music player market, the smartphone market, the tablet market, and the watch market. Apple was invading incumbent’s turf and they wouldn’t just let Apple take over. They would fight back. We know how that turned out. Why not give Apple some time before declaring their streaming services can’t compete with the likes of WarnerMedia and are DOA? This scenario has repeated itself several times and Apple has managed to succeed in spite of the obstacles placed in front of it.
    AppleExposedStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 45
    “Additionally, Abrams wouldn't have been locked into a single-platform distribution model, either.“

    As I understand it, Apple TV+ is open to more than just Apple devices, including TV manufacturers. Am I wrong?
    AppleExposedRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 45
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member

    spice-boy said:
    I am curious about Apple TV+ but my expectations are safe, family stuff, so things with violence but nothing that would make Mike Pence blush. 
    And millions upon millions of people want just that, not explicit, gratuitous violence and sex along with Hollywood social propaganda. Bullets crashing through a victim’s head with their blood and brains splattered against the wall? Women being violently raped and murdered by sociopaths? Glorification of drug dealers and criminals? All Hollywood fare gobbled up by our debased  and depraved culture. Oh, but violent video games. movies, TV series don’t have any effect on our cultural psyches, don’t desensitize us to the violence. it’s all just good, clean fun, right?
    edited September 2019 AppleExposedmacguimacpluspluswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 45
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    sacto joe said:
    “Additionally, Abrams wouldn't have been locked into a single-platform distribution model, either.“

    As I understand it, Apple TV+ is open to more than just Apple devices, including TV manufacturers. Am I wrong?
    The only thing I can think is that might not have been part of the plan, or even acknowledge as intent, when JJ was approached.

    Either way no biggie for me. JJ has had a history of not being able to finish things, and as The Force Awakens shows, he's recently had a hard time starting things.
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 45
    Good. “Lens Flare” Abrams is a hack. 
    pscooter63StrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 45
    1-AT&T, who owns Warner, is the most heavily indebted large company you can name and is counting on Warner/HBO to pay the bills. DIRECTV is in decline, DIRECTVNow was a failure and has been rebooted. The cell market is mature and the costs of building out AT&T Fiber and 5G are eating up the profit from those lines of business.

    2- Apple has a reputation going back to Steve Jobs as prudish regarding content. Family friendly is the order of the day.

    3-Warner has physical studio space and Apple has none. You can go to a Warner lot, but there is no Apple lot in Los Angeles County.

    4-Apple has clueless Eddie Cue. I would not want to work for him, either.
    airnerd
  • Reply 17 of 45
    Wait - so JJ Abrams was on stage at the launch of Apple TV+ for what reason?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 45
    JJ is overrated. Apple should give an underdog a chance. Steve did that often during his tenure, Tim seems to be starstruck.

    Tim and Jon were nobodies before Steve gave them the opportunity to shine!
  • Reply 19 of 45
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    If Apple is setting guidelines that's not good for creatives. Tim Cook said he is not getting in the way of those who "know what thwey're doing". Who do we believe? Rumors or the CEO of Apple?

    Also why in the world would Apple approach JJ and M. Night Shyamalan knowing what they produce? Something doesn't seem right here....

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but, doesn't Apple have over 1 Billion active devices? If so, Abrams does not believe that's enough? I'm sure someone else will comment with deeper analytical insight. I'm willing to listen.

    The idea is his content will be distributed on all Apple devices plus knockoffs, possibly Netflix and Hulu in the future etc.

    I have a feeling this will backfire on him though when TV+ takes off.

    lkrupp said:

    spice-boy said:
    I am curious about Apple TV+ but my expectations are safe, family stuff, so things with violence but nothing that would make Mike Pence blush. 
    And millions upon millions of people want just that, not explicit, gratuitous violence and sex along with Hollywood social propaganda. Bullets crashing through a victim’s head with their blood and brains splattered against the wall? Women being violently raped and murdered by sociopaths? Glorification of drug dealers and criminals? All Hollywood fare gobbled up by our debased  and depraved culture. Oh, but violent video games. movies, TV series don’t have any effect on our cultural psyches, don’t desensitize us to the violence. it’s all just good, clean fun, right?

    I liked your comment but,
    I think some people are not anti-family but want variety. Peanuts has it's audience as does Game of Thrones.

    We already seen that See has weapons and war in it so like I said, looks like something is wrong with the rumors suggesting Apple is only allowing family friendly content. Why would they approach JJ and Shyamalan if that was the goal?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 45
    I still don’t get why Apple is in the business of original TV shows other than they think they need to start charging customers a monthly fee for stuff and TV shows is one thing they came up with. And no one so far has given a compelling reason why Apple is doing this. All the podcasts and Apple centric talking heads focus on the what and the when but never the why. It feels like Apple starting with the financials and working backwards towards a product. Every time Cook paces the stage and talks about these shows as anything other than entertainment I want to vomit. These shows aren’t going to change the world. Sure some of them might be good and entertaining to watch, but they exist to keep you in Apple’s ecosystem and extract $5/mo out of you nothing more than that.
    FileMakerFeller
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