Despite the success of Netflix and Amazon, Apple has been notably shy about dipping its toes into the waters of original streaming. So far, the only confirmed project is a reality show about apps starring Will.i.am . But expect that to change, and fast.
Apple has had a long term interest in the movies. Steve Jobs leveraged his ownership of Pixar into a seat on Disney’s board back in 2006, for example. And this news comes courtesy of a report that Apple nearly bought Time Warner, the home of Batman and Game of Thrones. Apple’s plan is to spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” a year on content ranging from music documentaries tied to Beats to original series. Apple could, in theory, launch an entire network slate if it really felt like it, with the kind of cash it has on hand; Orange Is The New Black, for example, only costs about $50 million a season.
Apple may still buy a movie studio. The only reason Time Warner and Apple never got serious is that it had the potential to alienate other movie studios and music labels. But if Apple wanted to pick up, say, Lionsgate, which produces Orange Is The New Black and Nashville, or The Weinstein Company, it could easily afford it: It’s currently sitting on $233 billion worth of cash, and is looking to spend it.
That said, we likely won’t hear more about this until much later in the year. Apple tends to cluster its announcements around specific events, like the Worldwide Developer’s Conference. But Apple knows it’s lagging, and it will likely attempt to catch up with a splash.