Apple’s CEO: We’re learning about original content business and ‘ways we could play in that’

CEO Tim Cook says Apple is “learning a lot about the original content business and thinking about ways we could play in that.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that the company may invest further in the market for original content, which could include video content.

“We’re learning a lot about the original content business and thinking about ways we could play in that,” he said during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call with investors.

Cook noted that Apple has already “dipped its toe” into the market for original content with documentaries on musicians. “We’re learning from that,” he said.

Cook added that Apple’s newly refreshed Apple TV offering “gives us a clear platform to build off of,” and that “we have more things planned for it.”

And Cook pointed to the wider market for media and content, noting that the cable bundle of TV channels continues to break apart in the online video realm, where channels like CBS and HBO are increasingly taking their content directly to consumers. Cook said Apple expects that trend “to accelerate.”

Cook’s comments are noteworthy in light of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal that said Apple is already in talks with producers and marketers from studios about licensing series and offering them to customers as part of its $10/month streaming music service. Apple reportedly wants to begin offering original scripted content by the end of the year.

However, to be clear, Cook has made similar comments about Apple’s interest in content in the past. “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,” Cook said in October, 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 an area that we're focused on.”

Interestingly, Cook’s comments come amid the growth of Apple’s overall services business. In the company’s most recent quarter, revenues in Apple’s services business jumped 18% from the same quarter a year ago, to $7.2 billion in revenue. Cook said the results will make the company’s services business the same size as a Fortune 100 company this year, and he said Apple’s goal is to double the size of its services business over the next four years.

“Apple services revenue of $7.2bn exceeded Facebook's TOTAL revenue of $6.8bn in most recently reported quarter. Wow!” tweeted Ben Wood of CCS Insight.