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Apple mulled Time Warner buy-out amidst push into original content

News: Did Apple almost buy the maker of Looney Tunes?

By Alexander Sword

Apple considered buying media and entertainment company Time Warner Group as part of its move into producing its own content.

Eddy Cue, who oversees the iTunes store, Apple Music and iCloud discussed the idea while meeting Olaf Olafsson, the head of corporate strategy at Time Warner, according to sources reported in the Financial Times.

These talks did not progress beyond preliminary stages and never involved the CEOs of either company.

This took place during a meeting to discuss commercial possibilities such as the inclusion of Time Warner channels in Apple’s video streaming service.

Time Warner, which owns Looney Tunes amongst other popular programmes, is worth around $58 billion.

The revelation follows news that Apple would develop its own television show that emerged earlier this year.

A six-episode series starring hip hop legend Dr. Dre called ‘Vital Signs’ will be available to Apple Music subscribers only.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, it will be loosely based on the life story of Dr. Dre, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb Compton before catapulting to success as the producer of the rap group N.W.A.

Apple is not the only company that is making moves towards video streaming. With Amazon, the original video content came first, with a music service following. It launched its own music streaming service as part of the Amazon Prime bundle in July 2015.

Spotify recently added a "Shows" tab to its long-existing music streaming service, offering content from outlets including the BBC.
Paolo Pescatore, Director, Multiplay and Media at CCS Insight, said that the Time Warner discussions underlined the company’s intent to "make a big splash" in video.

He said that since Apple has the cash flow it would make sense to buy an established player, since acquiring premium content rights would take a "significant amount of time."

CCS Insight argues that this established player will be Netflix, however.

"Apple’s cash flow would also allow it to easily purchase the rights to major sporting events or other hot content areas," he said.

"Given its ability to distribute content to the huge installed base of affluent Apple device owners, this could be a new direction for the company, putting it into competition with other businesses such as Amazon, Sky and even some of the mobile network operators such as Verizon which has recently purchased rights to the US NFL (National Football League)."

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