Apple execs vying for original movie, TV deals
Senior Apple executives have reached out to some of Hollywood’s most successful TV and film producers in the last couple of weeks about going to work for the tech giant, The Post has learned.
While at least one of the discussions between Apple and an executive was vague when it came to the tech company’s ultimate goal, the executive was left with the impression that the Cupertino, Calif., company is looking for a transformative acquisition and not just a deal to buy TV shows.
There have been reports in recent weeks about Apple looking to kick-start a business in original TV programming.
But the meetings end February — including sit-downs between Apple SVP Eddy Cue and Paramount Pictures and with Sony TV and film units — make it appear as though Apple may be aiming at a bigger deal.
The move comes as sales of Apple’s profitable iPhone slow.
Apple has recently made some small bets on popular culture shows, such as producer Ben Silverman’s “Planet of the Apps” and “Carpool Karaoke,” which it will offer via an Apple Music subscription,
“They talked to Sony and Paramount in the end of February. They are preparing something big,” a source told The Post.
Whether Apple will pull the trigger on anything remains to be seen, but time might be running out. Consumers are flocking to alternative streaming services, and Netflix, Amazon and Google are all making a play for filmmakers.
In the end of February, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos got a seat at the Academy Awards for his company’s best picture nominee, “Manchester by the Sea.”
Google’s YouTube announced its own streaming cable TV bundle on February 28, a project that Apple had failed to create under Steve Jobs, despite many efforts.
Even Sony has its own streaming video bundle, Sony PlayStation Vue.
And Netflix, often touted as a potential Apple acquisition, is set to hire its first movie boss and is expanding into reality television shows.
“They [Apple] seem to have a lot of trepidation about this world,” said a Hollywood source.
Indeed surprisingly, Apple considered acquiring Time Warner but ultimately passed, leaving the field clear for AT&T’s buy.
As Apple executives are busying looking to do business in Hollywood, entertainment industry insiders are scratching their heads over who, exactly, is driving the effort.
“Robert Kondrk, Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, everyone is trying to be the person,” one insider told The Post. “They each want to be the guy, and they’re telling people, don’t deal with the other one.”
“Eddy is talking to some people. Jimmy is talking to others,” noted a second insider. “They just haven’t figured it out.”
A third Hollywood insider, familiar with Apple’s thinking, told The Post he didn’t know “if Apple is fully committed … I don’t see them doing this as a startup. It’s too small. It’s too hard. I see them buying something first.”
Apple is frequently mentioned as a potential partner for Disney.
The two have a common shareholder in Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs.
Apple, through a spokesman, declined comment.
Source: Claire Atkinson – www.nypost.com