Friday, July 20News That Matters

Apple's TV strategy explained


5 stunning Apple stats
5 stunning Apple stats

Apple doesn’t aspire to acquire massive companies like Netflix or Disney.

Instead, it’s pouring money into smaller investments that focus on how people will be using and consuming media in the future, according to Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue.

In a discussion with CNN’s Dylan Byers at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Monday, Cue said the company isn’t “throwing things up against the wall” to see what sticks.

“The financial part … isn’t the issue,” Cue said. “The issue,” he said, is finding the right investments.

Earlier in the day, Apple(AAPL) announced it is acquiring Texture, a digital magazine subscription service known as the “Netflix for magazines.” Financial terms were not disclosed.

The service, which costs $9.99 per month for 200 magazine downloads, will be integrated into current Apple News offerings. Apple News provides iOS users personalized news and information from a variety of news organizations.

“We want to give you a bit of serendipity to see all of what’s out there,” Cue said. “We’re not trying to just give you the most popular stuff for you but some of the articles that you should be reading. We want that serendipity.”

Related: Apple is buying the ‘Netflix for magazines’ company

Eddy Cue SXSW
CNN’s Dylan Byers and Apple exec Eddy Cue speak during SXSW in Austin, Texas.

It’s no secret Apple isn’t short on funds. In its last earnings report, Apple reported it has $285 billion cash on hand. That’s enough to potentially buy a media big hitter like Netflix(NFLX).

But Cue insisted going big on acquisitions is not Apple’s strategy. The company would rather make strategic investments that boost “quality” content and services.

For now, Apple will remain focused on distributing other companies’ TV apps and content, such as ESPN and other sports channels, he said. The company intends to make it easier for consumers to find and watch programming on various channels through push notifications sent to mobile devices.

But that’s not to say Apple isn’t going big on one media strategy. According to Cue, Apple is “all in” on TV.

“We hope we bring some amazing, great-quality stuff. We’ll have a few surprises,” he said. “We think there are ways to leverage technology to make the viewing experience even better.”

Related: Apple is on the hunt for original TV shows

Last year, the company created its own original programming with “Planet of the Apps,” starring Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, will.i.am and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. (The show received mixed reviews). It’s now reportedly developing Steven Spielberg’s science fiction series “Amazing Stories,” among other series.

However, Cue admitted the company still needs help developing its original programming vision.

“We don’t really know how to create shows,” he told attendees. “We were cognizant of that.”

He said the company spent two years trying to find the right executives to run its original programming department, which they hired last year. About 40 people are now on that team.

“We don’t try to sell the most smartphones or tablets in the world — we try to make the best one,” Cue said. “When you think of content, great storytelling is what’s important. You get storytelling from big name people and also get it from new and up-and-comers.”

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