Report: Apple considered buying Time Warner late last year

apple ios developer academy logo
Time Warner, the media conglomerate which owns and operates HBO, CNN, and Warner Brothers, among other properties, almost became a subsidiary last year. That’s because Apple seriously entertained a buyout of Time Warner in late 2015, according to the Financial Times, but ultimately decided against following through.

Reportedly, none other than Eddie Cue, vice president of Apple’s internet software and services, pitched the idea of a Time Warner acquisition in a meeting between Apple chief Tim Cook and Olaf Olafsson, Time Warner’s executive VP of international and corporate strategy. The three discussed the potential of a relationship between the two companies — Cue, who oversees the iTunes Store, iCloud, and Apple Music, wanted Time Warner’s popular pay-TV channels to form the basis of a new Apple video streaming service — and, alternatively, a buyout bid worth “billions.” Talks never moved beyond a “preliminary stage,” though, apparently — a merger was never considered “seriously” by Olaffson and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, and the idea was “very much tentative.”

The talks came after Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox made a failed bid for Time Warner two years ago.

Apple’s would-be acquisition of Time Warner, a company worth an estimated $60 billion, is yet another sign of the iPhone maker’s intense interest in the cutthroat pay-TV market. Last year, Apple inked a three-month exclusivity deal with Time Warner involving the launch of HBO Now, an a la carte streaming service first made available on the Apple TV. Another case in point: the Cupertino company is producing an original dramatic series about app developers featuring music artist, that is expected to debut alongside an Apple-branded internet TV service at a press conference in September.

A TV streaming service is an idea that Apple has long pursued. According to numerous reports over the past year, the firm has held ongoing meetings with CBS, Fox, NBC, and other content providers across the better part of 2015, but has so far failed to come to terms with any provider on pricing.

Apple wants subscriptions for its service to start at between $20 and $40 per month and provide customers the option of adding premium a la carte bundles for sports and entertainment channels, a sticking point for content companies like ESPN, which want subscriptions to start higher. And Apple is angling to land local channels across all major markets, a tangle of deals with individual affiliates that neither of its biggest competitors, Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s Playstation Vue, has been able to achieve.

Apple is not giving up on its content dreams without a fight, though. It intends to ramp up spending on exclusive content to “several million dollars a year” according to the Financial Times, and plans to launch an “Exclusives” app on Apple TV and within iTunes filled with original shows, short films, documentaries, music videos, and other streaming content. The firm also hasn’t ruled out acquiring a media company, but faces roadblocks: lucrative targets like Comcast, CBS, and Fox have powerful shareholders, making the approval of an acquisition a challenging proposition.

Analysts who spoke with CNBC believe Apple is much more likely to buy a streaming service like Netflix, which would “make it easier for [the company’s] service to continue to offer a wide range of content makers.” One thing’s for certain, though: Apple’s finally getting serious about TV.


The Apollo Traveller is the fastest recharging power bank we’ve ever used

Power banks are getting better all the time, but the Apollo Traveller from Elecjet hits new heights in terms of charging and recharging speeds thanks to the use of a graphene composite for cooling. Here's what happened when we tried it out.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you need to know the streaming service

YouTube TV is becoming an increasingly major competitor to other streaming services. Not sure if the service might be right for you? Don’t worry, we’ve got a guide detailing everything you could want to know about the service.

These are the 6 best free antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Get ready for new AirPods, MacBooks as rumored dates for Apple WWDC 2019 emerge

Apple developers and fans alike look forward, every year, to the company's World Wide Developer Conference, WWDC, and for this year, we already have the rumored dates that might bring us Apple's latest tech announcements.

This Mac keyboard is slim, dark, and clicky, but it’s still not perfect

There aren't many great mechanical keyboards for Macs. The Keychron K1 is just the latest attempt to join that hallowed group, but does its blend of style and substance tick all the boxes?

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.