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Apple Not Competing With Netflix Or Buying A Studio, Top Exec Says

July 14, 2016, 4:15 PM UTC
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Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services, speaks about tvOS at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, in San Francisco, Monday, June 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Photograph by Tony Avelar — AP

It seemed absurd last summer when shares of Netflix crashed 8% in a day amid reports that Apple wanted to commission original TV programming. And the rumor has recurred sporadically ever since, knocking Netflix shares a little more every time.

But Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue, he of the supposed TV show commissioning effort, put all that talk to rest in an interview on Thursday.

“We’re not in the business of trying to create TV shows,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in a lengthy interview. “If we see it being complementary to the things we’re doing at Apple Music or if we see it being something that’s innovative on our platform, we may help them and guide them and make suggestions. But we’re not trying to compete with Netflix (NFLX) or compete with Comcast.”

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There have also been rumors that Apple (AAPL) would make a run at a major Hollywood studio, like Time Warner perhaps, to compete with Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC Universal. Cue wasn’t biting on the Time Warner (TWX) rumor either. “We’re not—at this point, certainly—actively trying to buy any studio,” he said.

“We’re always looking at things that come to us that make us better at things that we want to do or are doing,” he added. “It’s not that we’ll never do anything, but I’m not sure why [we should] buy a studio.”

Cue also sounded less than enthusiastic about Apple’s long-rumored effort to create a digital package of TV channels customers could watch via the Internet without needing a cable subscription. Others, like Dish and Sony, have already created such offerings.

“Whether we’re providing it or somebody else is, it really doesn’t matter to us,” Cue said. “What we’re trying to do is build the platform that allows anybody to get content to consumers.”

Apple has backed one show, dubbed “Planet of the Apps,” a reality series focused on telling the stories of real-life app designers. This week, Apple posted a casting call for the show seeking possible participants.

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That’s more likely a one-off than the start of something big, Cue said. The idea for the app series came from producer Ben Silverman, who created the show “Biggest Loser,” he explained.

“It’s (Silverman’s) show, but we felt we could help,” Cue added. “We felt like there were things that he wanted to do in the show that, if we helped him with it, it would be way better or only possible if we did it. And that’s the reason we got involved, because we actually think we bring something to the table.”