For those who came in late, Apple wants to make up the money it is starting to lose on iPhones by flogging entertainment services. The only problem is that it still believes that it is in a position to dictate the terms.
According to The Wall Street Journal Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is said to have taken the wrong approach, telling TV executives that “time is on my side.”
He also bluffed executives by claiming other networks — specifically Disney and Fox — were already signed up when they weren’t.
Then he tried to play secret squirrel by refusing to show off the Apple TV interface, or “sketch it on the back of a napkin,” as one media executive requested.
He might have got away with that had he not been trying to screw the studios for every penny - a strategy that Steve Jobs pulled off over iTunes. He even asked Disney to put off the royalties Apple would have to pay for several years.
Apple was planning to create skinny bundles of content so that if you paid $30 you got a bundle of Fox, ESPN and Disney content. Instead Cue was embarrassed when Big Content told him to go forth and multiply.
Cue tried to make the best of it by creating original content but since Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke looks so dire that most sensible people would gouge their own eyes out with spoons rather than watch it, things are looking bleak for the Apple TV. After all who is going to buy that when all you get is rubbish programmes?
What is amusing is that Cue, and Apple still believe their own bullshit that Apple is the super-cool, mover and shaker and other companies should consider themselves lucky to give all their profits to it. After all this worked for years with the telcos who were happy to subsidise Jobs’ Dream for years before they worked out it was not making them enough money.
But times have changed. Not only has Big Content moved along since the days of the iPod and iTunes, Apple is not the best way to deliver content any more. Cue and co need to stop adopting the Ramsay Bolton approach to partners, otherwise they are going to continue getting eaten by their own dogs.