Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes told the New York Post on Wednesday that he would entertain a sale of the company and industry sources contended that Apple could be among the possible suitors, with others said to include carrier AT&T, which now owns DirecTV, and Fox.
The rumour is interesting given Apple’s failed attempts to create a skinny bundle of programming from existing content partners that was supposed to debut alongside the fourth-generation Apple TV in October 2015.
Even though the possibility of a spin-off was only hinted at by the CEO, Apple is reportedly “staying extra close” to any possible movement on this front, with Eddy Cue, Apple’s chief negotiator for all things media, keeping tabs on proceedings at Time Warner.
“Apple is eyeing Time Warner’s assets to ease the launch of a stand-alone streaming TV service,” reads the article.
Time Warner is the world’s third-largest television and entertainment company in terms of revenue, after Comcast and The Walt Disney Company. The company was at one time the world’s largest media conglomerate.
Were it to buy Time Warner outright, Apple would get most of what it needs in terms of big name shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Sesame Street” and “Silicon Valley” from HBO to CNN news to Warner’s own rich library of Hollywood movies and television shows. In addition, Time Warner owns a number of other valuable assets like Carton Network, TBS, TNT and NBA TV.
Actually, Apple’s potential acquisition of Time Warner would presumably pay off in a big way. In addition to gaining instant access to all their shows and TV programming, such a deal would give Apple an important leverage in its ongoing talks with broadcasters and networks regarding the rumoured subscription-based iTunes television service.
And with Time Warner under its umbrella and Apple-friendly Disney possibly agreeing to provide content for Apple’s Netflix-like skinny television bundle, other content owners may have no other choice but join Apple’s service sooner than later.
Apple’s television streaming service is expected to offer a collection of up to two-dozen top-tier channels for $30 to $40 per month, if the rumour-mill is anything to go by.
Time Warner is reluctant to consider spinning off HBO, as some investors suggested, because “splitting up can destroy value.” Analysts are also warming up to the possibility of a Time Warner/Fox merger.
Source: The New York Post