Apple pondered Time Warner buyout in 2015 - report

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Eddy Cue, Apple's head of internet software and services, raised the idea of his company buying Time Warner in talks with the media giant late last year, a report said on Thursday.




The topic came up during a meeting with Olaf Olafsson, Time Warner's head of corporate strategy, three sources told the Financial Times. The meeting happened at Time Warner's Manhattan headquarters, and was nominally focused on potential partnerships, such as Time Warner channels being featured in an Apple streaming video service.

Talks of a buyout didn't go beyond a preliminary level, and in fact didn't reach Apple CEO Tim Cook or Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, the sources said.

A Time Warner takeover would have given Apple instant access to a wide range of content, since the company owns channels like HBO, TBS, The CW, and Cartoon Network, as well as studios like Warner Bros., Castle Rock, and New Line.

It's not clear why the talks fell through, but sources told the Times that Apple is planning to ramp up spending on original content to "several hundred million dollars a year," and that it still hasn't ruled out buying a media company.

The latter option might be difficult if it doesn't want Time Warner though, since many other media corporations have dual share structures and are controlled by founders and their families. Disney is technically an easier an option in this regard, but likely far too expensive given a $162.52 billion market cap.

Rumors of an Apple video streaming service have all but died, with reports suggesting that content providers have been hesitant to exclude some of their channels from a "skinny" bundle costing less than $30 per month. In January, though, Apple was said to be keeping a close eye on Time Warner going up for sale, possibly with the intent of snatching up individual assets.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,999member
    So Apple can't successfully negotiate a skinny down cable like bundle but Eddy Cue thinks he could run an old media conglomerate? Even acquiring TW and leaving it as a standalone business....does Apple really need to spend that much money to get exclusive content? And no way a deal like this would ever get approved unless the content was available on all platforms. Seems to me Eddy has enough on his plate as is.
    thewhitefalconlord amhrancalipatchythepirateanantksundaramcornchip
  • Reply 2 of 53
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,101member
    As much as we fans would like to see iOS device sales continue to grow exponentially common sense tells us that that cannot happen. The problem is determining what the next big thing is going to be in order to diversify. Artificial Intelligence? Maybe. Virtual Reality? Blathering nonsense. Autonomous automobiles? Could be. Software and services? Probably. Personally I see the hardware business becoming less and less profitable as miniaturization and automation lower production costs and margins greatly. When everybody can produce the same great hardware for the same cost there goes profit. I think Apple’s executive team is feeling more and more pressure every day to use that cash hoard for something.
    lord amhranbaconstangdasanman69xamax
  • Reply 3 of 53
    schlackschlack Posts: 693member
    funny, Time Warner buys AOL and destroys it, now Apple considers buying Time Warner. For the billions it would cost Apple to do this, they might be more successful putting that money into standing up their own studio and/or creating their own original content.
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 4 of 53
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,143member
    Apple could certainly buy a media company like TW but why would they? They would have to make everything available on all platforms like they are now for it to continue to be successful. 
  • Reply 5 of 53
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    How about just making the AppleTV competitive? If I were after a new streaming box I'd go with the latest Roku, as it has both all the content I want and it's got better hardware. 
    anantksundaramdasanman69
  • Reply 6 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,590member
    Hope they get a skinny bundle one day with live news and sports so they can take that full set out of their labs on contract and subsidise the price to sell millions of them. No box under the TV is the ideal and all but inevitable long-term.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Not buying Time Warner was the moment Apple dodged a bullet. Best of the thousand "NOs" they have said.
    rogifan_newpalominepatchythepiratepscooter63wetlander
  • Reply 8 of 53
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,959member
    Make AppleTV must have living room gadget..Besides other functionalities of AppleTV, it must support plenty streaming contents. Either skinny TV bundle, original contents of your own or make others to support their streaming App like SLING, XFINITY, Amazon, etc.
    cali
  • Reply 9 of 53
    rkrk Posts: 3member
    Too late to buy TWC anyways. Sale of TWC to Charter has been approved. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-timewarnercable-m-a-charter-communi-idUSKCN0XM22H
  • Reply 10 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,886member
    rk said:
    Too late to buy TWC anyways. Sale of TWC to Charter has been approved. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-timewarnercable-m-a-charter-communi-idUSKCN0XM22H

    TWC is different from Time Warner. Apple wanted Time Warner, not TWC.  
    edited May 2016 iosenthusiast
  • Reply 11 of 53
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    Not buying Time Warner was the moment Apple dodged a bullet. Best of the thousand "NOs" they have said.
    How true. It would be nothing but problems buying the entire company.  Now it may make sense to purchase parts, but which parts is the question. 
    interdyne
  • Reply 12 of 53
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,527member
    The only reason to buy a large content production company like TW is if the landscape changes significantly such that content becomes more locked up by large tech companies, and having your own content is the only effective means of negotiating access to the broader content.  For example, if Amazon and Google were to enter into content ownership, and their strategy was to limit content to their own devices.

    Seems unlikely, as most services require cross-platform support to be successful (look at Netflix), and iOS has the most valuable subscriber base.

    Lots of other things that Apple can do here vs. buying a studio, in the shorter term:
    - Keep the upgrades coming in Apple TV (yearly updates) to keep it fresh & in the minds of consumers.  Really be aggressive with the App owners to get that universal search API supported.  Make it easier to work with content from your Mac.  Give me back the ability to pull photos and music from my Mac in my house, rather than needing to upload everything to the cloud, only to then download it to each Apple TV.
    - Use that cash to negotiate better deals for iTunes TV and Movie content.  Get more bundled options, and lower prices for older content.  Kind of ridiculous the prices to rent and purchase older movies, and TV show seasons.  How about the ability to "rent" older TV content - like previous seasons - for much less?  Make iTunes the best place to go to get access to the widest possible content.  Netflix is great at $10/mo, but it is very hit & miss.
    - Push to solve the H.265 codec issue (which despite claims here by many is likely the reason for not having 4K support on Apple TV).  Then get all of the iTunes content encoded in this for both lower BW HD and to support 4K for many more homes.
    cali
  • Reply 13 of 53
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,999member
    lkrupp said:
    As much as we fans would like to see iOS device sales continue to grow exponentially common sense tells us that that cannot happen. The problem is determining what the next big thing is going to be in order to diversify. Artificial Intelligence? Maybe. Virtual Reality? Blathering nonsense. Autonomous automobiles? Could be. Software and services? Probably. Personally I see the hardware business becoming less and less profitable as miniaturization and automation lower production costs and margins greatly. When everybody can produce the same great hardware for the same cost there goes profit. I think Apple’s executive team is feeling more and more pressure every day to use that cash hoard for something.
    Your last sentence is what concerns me. Apple shouldn't make big acquisitions because Cook is feeling pressure to spend some of Apple's cash.
    calichiamike1anantksundaram
  • Reply 14 of 53
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,999member
    rk said:
    Too late to buy TWC anyways. Sale of TWC to Charter has been approved. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-timewarnercable-m-a-charter-communi-idUSKCN0XM22H
    Time Warner and Time Warner Cable are two different things. TWC hasn't been owned by TW since 2009. This report says Apple was/is interested in TW, not TWC.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    How about just making the AppleTV competitive? If I were after a new streaming box I'd go with the latest Roku, as it has both all the content I want and it's got better hardware. 
    I disagree with regards to Roku software. They may have more channels, though most require existing cable/satellite or separate per channel subscriptions, but i find their software very slow. I have a Roku 2, and a Roku 3 in addition to a few ATV3s and I think the Apple TV software is both cleaner and more responsive. I can't comment on the ATV4. We only got the Rokus for the kids for watching Amazon Prime as they have a contract with Nickelodeon. 
    calimike1patchythepirate
  • Reply 16 of 53
    techprod1gytechprod1gy Posts: 836member
    Seems like this would make it tough to then bring on other competing content providers. I am by no means an expert in this area. I would like to see Apple create an eco system to support original content. There is so much good original content I am not sure we need major providers anymore. My 3 teen girls almost exclusively consume original content from the internet. As you create a stage for this the better it will get and soon the majors become irrelevant. May seem a bit far fetched but I guess it is my wish list item.
    cali
  • Reply 17 of 53
    How about just making the AppleTV competitive? If I were after a new streaming box I'd go with the latest Roku, as it has both all the content I want and it's got better hardware. 
    Have you actually used a Roku? It's UI is horrendous. Tons of garbage you don't need. Awkward navigation. And if you're trying TW's "streaming cable" you don't get individual channels. Just the right to use their terrible app.  You don't even get other app options like games, news, etc which extends the overall entertainment value of said box. Roku is kind of a waste if it's your only device. Supplementally, if you already have cable what does Roku do?


    Using TWC's app you actually have to scan past the channels you didn't pay for to get to the channels you did? Ugh aging corporatist F-_-'s just can't think any other way. It's like arguing with an old man who grew up in the 1920's without enough imagination to establish a viable Eco system that doesn't bleed customers dry. But I guess that's the end of all previous generations at this stage. They are eco system destroyers, figuratively and literally. They can't see that gaming for instance is going to be a huge competitor to TV as "web" in general has become. We don't all have to watch TV to be entertained or informed. 

    While I agree making the ATV more competitive to traditional cable is needed (more live streaming, more news , more channels offering slightly lower prices or custom bundles at a lower price with/ without premium channels, maybe bundle streaming only and pay extra for archived media?) ATV still gives you quite a bit of flexability. Premium anything and almost everything is yours to have on an ATV. Sports, HBO, AMC, A&E etc etc etc

    At least I can turn off channels when I don't need them and I don't have to pay minimum 60/ month for a bundle full of junk and a cable box I don't need. After experimenting for almost a year with TWC's Roku cable plan, I'm still happier just paying for content via iTunes and streaming a couple of premium channels when something I want to watch is actually airing. Here's another part of the problem. HBO is really only useful 2 -3 months out of the year. Yeah veep and vinyl are ok (hate Vice) but for the most part I want GOT and Silicon Valley and it's cheaper to buy AND OWN both series than it is to pay for a years subscription (eight months I hardly watch HBO). Stars is a much better option for movies and it's cheaper but again the only show I have enjoyed regularly has been Black Sails. It's all relative when you start thinking about it and we're already paying out too many monthlies in this digital age anyway. Subscriptions for music, news, games, tv etc. breaking it up makes it akin to boiling the frog. Not only does it amount to about the same, but it could cost you even more just in smaller bites.

    No no we need standards and standards that make actual sense. Not the wild f-_-_-_ west of "how much can we randomly change and further cinfuse our customers.  

    Its such a mess right now for everyone. Some networks have large libraries and no streaming, some stream and have small libraries of only the current months airing episodes. Everyone doing their own thing is ridiculous and that feature is regretfully endemic to every platform. 
    edited May 2016 cali
  • Reply 18 of 53
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 115member
    Can somebody invent a reasonable ad-free bundle that's just every movie and scripted TV series ever made but no talking heads, reality shows, or sports? In other words, look at what people pirate and make a service with that.
    Roger_Fingasgoodbyeranch
  • Reply 19 of 53
    rs9rs9 Posts: 68member
    Apple should buy Disney.  Apple has a strong relationship with Disney.   Disney bought Pixar that started with Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs wife hold quite a bit of shares of Disney stock due to Pixar. A match made in heaven.
    calipatchythepirate
  • Reply 20 of 53
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,999member
    rs9 said:
    Apple should buy Disney.  Apple has a strong relationship with Disney.   Disney bought Pixar that started with Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs wife hold quite a bit of shares of Disney stock due to Pixar. A match made in heaven.
    Why does Apple need to own Disney? Couldn't they do partnership deals without actually having to buy the company?
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