Apple did discuss buying Time Warner. The company owns many properties including HBO, which airs “Game of Thrones.”
The Latest News
Back in January, The New York Post said that Apple should consider purchasing Time Warner and its vast content library which includes HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and Warner Bros. Now, The Financial Times reports that Apple did consider such a buyout late last year.
According to the report, Apple executive Eddy Cue raised the idea at a meeting with Time Warner’s Olaf Olafsson, the head of corporate strategy. Serious negotiations involving Apple CEO Tim Cook never occurred, however.
Apple intends to ramp up its spending on original content to “several hundred million dollars a year”, according to people familiar with the matter. It has also not ruled out acquiring a media company, a person close to Apple told the Financial Times.
Apple and Time Warner declined to comment on this story.
Why it (Still) Makes Sense
I continue to believe that Apple should actively pursue Time Warner for the reasons I discussed earlier this year:
It’s no secret that Apple wants a larger role in the entertainment industry. Until recently, this meant trying to convince the principal players that its cord cutting ideas were best. That hasn’t worked, as companies such as CBS have been unwilling to give Apple so much control over how content is delivered. Buying Time Warner would allow Apple to change the playing field on its own. And bring popular titles such as “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” along for the ride.
If not Time Warner, who?
There are two other companies Apple should pursue if they are serious about playing a bigger role in entertainment: Walt Disney and Netflix.
Apple and Disney have a long history together with Steve Jobs having co-founded Pixar Animation Studios in 1986. In 2006, its acquisition by Disney was completed. In Disney, Apple would gain an immense film library, and own a stake in some television networks, including ABC and ESPN. The purchase would also give Cupertino a large stake in Hulu, which would be an excellent way to continue the re-energization of the Apple TV.
A Netflix acquisition would make Cupertino a major player in the streaming video market, a place it has been slow to embrace. Additionally, Apple could use Netflix’s original programming arm to influence Hollywood more. It would also help Apple compete against Amazon and yes, Hulu.
Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more about this in the coming months.