Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors that his company sees a “great opportunity” to become more active in creating and owning original content.
During Apple’s third-quarter earnings call, Cook reaffirmed his interest in television and expressed Apple’s desire to more actively pursue content creation.
“I would confirm that television has intense interest with me and many other people here. In terms of owning content and creating content, we have started with focusing on some original content, as you point out,” said Cook, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “We've got a few things going there that we've talked about. And I think it's a great opportunity for us both from a creation point of view and an ownership point of view. And so it's is an area that we're focused on.”
When the subject turned toward AT&T’s recently announced $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, Cook was asked if Apple would consider such large M&A.
“We are open to acquisitions of any size that are of strategic value where we can deliver better products to our customers and innovate more. And so we look at a whole variety of companies, and based on that, we choose whether to move forward or not. But we're definitely open and we definitely look,” said Cook.
Earlier this year, Apple announced its first original series would be about mobile apps. The program is being produced in partnership with musician Will.i.am and TV executives Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, according to the New York Times.
On top of that, Apple announced this summer that it had acquired licensing rights for a 16-episode series based on the “Carpool Karaoke” segments produced by The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Of course, if Apple continues to ramp up investments on original content, it could end up being a sizable competitor for established groups like Disney, 21st Century Fox and others. And with Apple’s deep pockets, it could also give SVOD giant Netflix, which will invest $6 billion in original content, a run for its money.
Should Apple decide to build in earnest a content creation engine, it will likely look for talent from other broadcasting and programming companies. Netflix has taken a similar tack and it currently has the company in some legal hot water with Fox.
Last month, Fox sued Netflix for allegedly poaching executives from the studio. Fox claimed that Netflix launched a “brazen campaign to unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix.”
Netflix launched a countersuit in response, accusing Fox of “unlawful and anti-competitive business practices that impair the mobility of its employees and prevent industry competitors like Netflix from competing fairly for skilled employees.”