Report: Failed Imagine Entertainment buyout suggests Apple’s still confused about content

Apple has long been rumoured to be preparing its own original content and streaming service to rival that of Amazon and Netflix, but the company has hit significant problems when it comes to negotiations with content providers.

The firm was reportedly in talks with numerous outets to license content for its own streaming service last year, but according to reports, those talks came to nothing.

Come September last year, Apple was reported to have put its TV streaming ambitions on hold, a claim seemingly confirmed by CBS CEO Les Moonves.

Moonves also told CNNMoney last November: “We had conversations awhile back, and we haven’t had recent conversations with them,” suggesting the streaming plans had been postponded.

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But this January, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple was once again pushing forward with its original content plans, with the company already confirming it is working on a new original show called Planet of the Apps, which will stream on its Apple Music service.

Despite the new show, which will join Apple’s James Corden-inspire spinoff Carpool Karaoke, it seems the company is still struggling to secure content from other distributors.

As the Financial Times reports, the Cupertino-based firm has been in talks with director Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment regarding a content distribution deal, or possible acquisition.

Unfortunately, it seems the negotiations broke down, with Apple’s senior vice-president of internet software and services Eddy Cue saying the talks “fizzled out”:

“The talks were serious enough to involve Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, and Eddy Cue, its senior vice-president of internet software and services.

“The talks included a possible “first look” distribution deal of Imagine movies and television shows, as well as an investment by Apple — or even a full purchase. But, as with many other potential deals involving Apple, the discussions fizzled out.”

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Tim CookTim Cook was reportedly involved in talks with Imagine

The FT interprets this latest negotiation failure as proof of Apple’s confusion over its content strategy, stating: “This approach has many in Hollywood scratching their heads. Apple’s rounds of meetings with various entertainment industry players suggest it has not yet decided what its strategy should be.”

It’s another blow for Apple and its streaming/content ambitions, and comes following Apple Executive Jimmy Iovine telling reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour January that the company was pushing ahead with content plans and “trying to create an entire cultural, pop cultural experience.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, he added: “If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you’re not musicians, you know?

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“We’re going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We’re going to try.”

At this point, then, just what Apple has planned beyond its Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps shows remains unclear, and the latest news regarding Imagine Entertainment doesn’t bode well.

But with the firm thought to be considering a new 4K Apple TV overhaul, there’s no reason why it won’t continue to pursue its own content streaming service, so stay tuned for more in the near future.

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