Apple has eye on Time Warner’s assets, report says

Could Time Warner be the missing piece for Apple’s long-awaited Internet TV?

The New York Post reports that Apple is “keeping tabs” on a possible spinoff of Time Warner, which is under investor pressure to sell or spin off some off its assets. The assets that would be attractive to Apple — which supposedly has been working on a streaming TV service for a while — include CNN, Turner Sports, HBO, plus Warner Bros. movies and TV shows.

After years of talks with media companies, Apple was expected to roll out its Internet TV service last fall, according to the Wall Street Journal. But in December, Bloomberg reported that CBS CEO Les Moonves said Apple put its Internet TV plans on hold, although he said he thought it would eventually happen. He said Apple planned a so-called skinny bundle that might include four major networks and several cable networks and cost $30 to $40 a month.

That would be less expensive than today’s cable offerings, which offer hundreds of channels that many subscribers don’t watch. It would also be a bargain considering Apple TV currently offers HBO Now as a standalone streaming option for $14.99 a month. (Users of Apple TV also can stream some on-demand content from various apps, although that usually requires a cable or satellite subscription.)

In all the talk discussing this Apple-Time Warner possibility, HBO is seen as key. Whoever controls HBO, which has a record of putting out hit shows, would have a good shot at competing with video-streaming leader and pioneer Netflix, which recently announced a major global expansion.

Other possible suitors for Time Warner’s assets mentioned by the Post include DirecTV and Fox. And other reports mention Amazon and Google as possible buyers.

Time Warner shares are flat today. Apple shares are down less than 1 percent.


Above: Screenshot from HBO Now, which is available on Apple TV. HBO is key to Apple’s reported interest in Time Warner’s assets. 


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