Apple seen as buyer to stock new streaming service (MGM?)

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Apple Inc., which is preparing to launch a streaming television service, is seen as looking to buy entertainment companies to get a library of titles for viewing. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio, comes up on the list of possibilities.

Earlier this month, Apple said its Apple TV + will go live Nov. 1 and cost $4.99 a month, $2 less than rival Disney +. The problem is Apple doesn’t have the library of titles that Disney has, which includes projects made under the Disney, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios brands. Marvel, in particular, is making new series for Disney + to go along with its various movie titles. AT&T, which owns Warner Bros., also is getting into streaming television.

Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance had separate stories on Sept. 13 raising the question whether Apple may buy entertainment properties to boost its supply of programming.

Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg story (which was picked up by The Washington Post):

Much has been made of Apple TV+ undercutting competitors, but the price was set low to make up for the fact that, unlike rival services, it won’t contain a backlog of content out of the gate. (snip)

Apple’s lack of a library argues for the company to buy a production studio. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (which also owns the Starz premium channel), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (known as MGM), Sony Pictures and indie studio A24 are all prospects.

Yahoo Finance interviewed Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

“It’s a content arms race,” Ives told Yahoo. “Right now, Apple has built a house, they’ve priced it accordingly. They need to fill it with content and we think that’s going to be the next trick up the sleeve for (Apple CEO Tim) Cook in terms of bigger M&A.” That’s mergers and acquisitions for those who don’t converse in business talk.

Ives’s pecking order for potential purchases was as follows: A24 Studio, Lionsgate, Viacom/CBS, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios, Netflix “and then a potential gaming publisher (that could be incorporated into Apple’s streaming service or a separate gaming subscription service) as a wild card.”

Sony distributed the four most recent Bond films. It’s not involved with No Time to Die, which will be distributed by United Artists Releasing (joint venture between MGM and Annapurna) in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

MGM has long been one of the weakest studios, having survived various restructurings and a bankruptcy. MGM controls half of the Bond film franchise along with Danjaq, parent company of Eon Productions. MGM also owns a large film library, which includes the old United Artists library containing such titles (in addition to Bond films) as West Side Story, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, the Rocky series and the Pink Panther series.

Apple certainly has plenty of cash. Interesting times in show biz.

2 Responses

  1. I think it would be Great for Bond if Apple were to buy MGM. since Apple is not a movie studio /production studio, EON could partner up with whatever studio they wanted to on each new Bond film. regardless of what you think of the last four Daniel Craig bond movies partnering with Sony was a huge success for Bond. marketing wise promotion wise even the press conferences were better than this last one by far. MGM has always been the weak link with the bond films for about the last 30 years, having the freedom to go to whatever studio they (EON) wanted to I think it only can help Bond. of course the releasing of these movies either on streaming or physical media could be kind of a nightmare with different studios in charge of each one…..

  2. Whatever Apple does, they better do it before 2020 because time is running out: Netflix and Disney+ and CBS are looking to lock in as many subscribers as possible with EXISTING film libraries and content archives, brfore Apple even has a chsnce to announce any Merger+Aqui strategies. Buying MGM is a NO BRAINER, since their archive of valuable films and TV content is UNDERVALUED. What Tim Cook rarely apprecites is that CONTENT VALUATIONS will exode in 2020-2021 and Apple might have to compete with even the smallest Hedge Funds who will bet big on such a valuation explosion,,, or even sone of the other Tech Streaming players who could buy MGM as a “defensive move” just to hinder Apple from buying it.

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