Sunday, 19 November 2017
News Tech

Apple said set to go on $1 billion TV content-buying binge


Top of the Order:  

A Billion-Dollar Bushel: Apple is already taking some steps into the arena for producing original and exclusive TV content. For instance, if you sign up for Apple Music at $9.99 a month, you can watch the show “Planet of the Apps.” You can see will.i.am and Gywneth Paltrow listen to app developers pitch ideas in the hopes of getting funding for what they believe could be the next big thing to grab your attention on your smartphone.

But, Apple has bigger plans for its TV effort. Potentially, $1 billion worth of plans.

Apple has reportedly set aside a war chest that size specifically for acquiring and producing original content for its TV ambitions. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple could use that billion bucks to acquire as many as 10 shows next year, and the size of Apple’s investment would be about half of what HBO spent on its programming needs last year.

Think about that for a minute. HBO, probably the most-premium of premium cable-TV networks, forked over $2 billion to pay for the acquisition and production of shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Leftovers” and “Ballers,” which stars Dwayne Johnson as a financial manager for pro football players in Miami. (And you know The Rock isn’t doing this for free.) Apple, which for all practical purposes is brand new to the TV-show game, is able and willing to pony up half of what HBO pays for programming, just so that it can get a sliver of a toe-hold in the evolving television industry.

Sure, Apple is just getting started with original TV shows. But, you might recall just a few years back, when a company that made its name renting out DVDs by mail without late fees premiered a show called “Lilyhammer,” about a mobster living under witness protection in Norway, as its first exclusive TV show on a service that was just getting off the ground. And we’ve all seen what Netflix has become today.

For Apple, adding original programming to Apple Music is something that can only increase the company’s burgeoning services business. During its most-recent fiscal quarter, Apple’s services brought in $7.3 billion in sales, a 22 percent increase from the prior year. With services including such things as what Apple calls “digital content,” it behooves the company to put something watchable on its Apple Music streaming platform that will help services remain, as Chief Executive Tim Cook calls it, “the size of a Fortune 100 company.”

And if it costs Apple a billion dollars to to do that, then its investment may end up being a good deal after all.

Middle Innings:

Tickets, Anyone?: Just yesterday, MoviePass announced a new service by which if you pay $9.95, you can go to the theater and watch one movie every day during a month. Assuming you can get the free time, and based on how most movie tickets these days start at around $10, it could be a pretty good deal. Except for the AMC movie theater chain, which called the price point “unsustainable” and which may consider legal action to try and stop MoviePass’ efforts.

Bottom of the Lineup:

Happy Birthday…Now Donate: Facebook, on Wednesday, rolled out some new features to help you celebrate your birthday. That’s one way of looking at it, because another way could be that those features are meant to get those wishing you a happy birthday to make a donation to a charity that they might not have even known existed. The features include creating a fundraiser for any of the 750,000 nonprofit organizations currently on Facebook.

Quote of the Day: “The organizers of this protest are not connected to the participants or to the events that led to the tragedy in Virginia last weekend.” — A statement from the Mountain View Police Department regarding the postponing of a “March on Google,” which was supposed to protest Google’s firing of engineer James Damore for publishing a letter criticizing the company’s diversity and hiring policies.

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