The Hollywood Reporter Interviews Eddy Cue About Apple TV

14 July 2016

The Hollywood Reporter:

Will we see an Apple skinny bundle or live-TV streaming service?

Whether we’re providing it or somebody else is, it really doesn’t matter to us. What we’re trying to do is build the platform that allows anybody to get content to consumers. If a Time Warner [Cable] or a DirecTV wants to offer a bundle themselves, they should do it through Apple TV and iPad and iPhone. As a matter of fact, I’m not a big fan of the skinny bundle.

Why not?

I think it’s a misconception. Most people, at the end of the day, end up paying more, not less, for the things they love. With TV content being at an all-time high, why are people asking for less? It has a lot to do with the way it’s being provided. If I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth, then I want to pay less and I want less things. But if it were being provided in a rich platform with the capabilities I’m talking about, I don’t think people would feel that way. People pay for Netflix as an add-on to TV, and they’re happy doing it. And why is that? Because they’re happy with what they’re getting from Netflix. So the question to ask about skinny bundles is, why are customers not happy?

Honestly, this sounds like Cue giving up. It seems that Apple was chasing a master plan for television (enough rumours and comments by TV execs to support it) and has now cancelled those plans, facing resistance from many parties over contractual terms.

This is disappointing for my view on what Apple needs strategically. I see original content as a necessity in order to stay relevant. Clarkson’s Top Gear show is a great example of something that is now completely outside of Apple’s control and will always be an ecosystem disadvantage. Amazon has no incentives to share its exclusive content to other platforms. They can shut out Apple TV indefinitely. Apple needs a magical agreement with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, or it needs its own leverage with its own compelling shows.