Forbes: Can Apple Take a Bit out of Hollywood
Apple has decided to build a major new business in original television shows and movies, partly to offset slowing sales of iPhones and iPads. This could transform Apple from a product company and global distributor of other people’s media into a media company itself.
Not surprisingly, Apple’s Hollywood ambitions have attracted the anxious attention of the movie studios. As the Wall Street Journal put it, “the entry of the world’s most valuable company into original television and films could be a transformative moment for Hollywood.”
What can patent intelligence reveal about the various options open to Apple and the studios?
Before we get into that, speculation over Apple’s likely strategy has already begun, with articles like “Why Apple Should Buy Netflix and Why It Probably Won’t” and “Apple May Buy Disney” describing just two of the many scenarios being considered. But even though the company is sitting on $230 billion in cash and could buy several countries, let alone movie studios, if it wanted to, I for one do not expect any major Apple acquisitions anytime soon.
Instead, I agree with those who say that Apple is more of a builder than a buyer. It has made only one-third as many acquisitions as Google, even though it’s been in business almost three times longer. And while Google has made several multi-billion-dollar purchases, Apple’s only really large acquisition was the $3 billion purchase of Beats Music in 2014 to bolster its Apple Music streaming service. Three years later, Apple Music still has managed to only gain half the number of subscribers as Spotify’s 40 million users.
So what’s Apple’s Tinseltown strategy? Most likely the company will aim to cut content deals with major film and TV studios.