Apple To Give Away $1 Billion In Free Original TV Programming

Posted October 11, 2018
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Jeff Bezos is now unquestionably the richest man in the world. 

Amazon is now unquestionably, if not the richest company in the world, (a distinction I think Apple still holds), then it is certainly close.

Bezos was able to achieve all of this by taking massive losses for years. He essentialy undercut his competitors and drove them out of business by selling things (books to start with) at prices that were well below what his competition could match.  

A lot of people on Wall Street (and elsewhere) thought that Bezos and Amazon were a bad investment; that he could not sustain the loses.  Their mistake.

Enter Apple.

It wants to get into the online TV business - and who does not. 

It is quite clear that the $1.72 trillion a year TV industry is headed for a shake up (or a shake-down) and that the future, whatever that is, belongs to whomever owns the onilne media/video space that is surely on its way.

In the past, Apple's attempts to enter the programming world have been, in a word, lame.  That's a disappointment for a company that has always had such an incredibly deft touch with design.  But when it came to programming, their shows (Planet of the Apps), looked more like they were produced by the Microsoft Software and IT department.  An engineer's idea of compelling television.

Their most recent roster of programs seems a bit better, but not much. In a word, Oatmeal, which is an improvement over lame, I suppose.  Safe, plain vanilla, white bread.  


But yesterday, Apple shook the media tree with the announcement that they are going to offer their programing slate, all of it, for free.

It is one thing to offer other people's stuff for free, like on YouTube, but to commission original programming, pay for it and then hand it out like $100 bills on Fifth Avenue is, well, a novel idea. And apparently they are prepared to go to the mat for $1 billion worth of original progamming to anyone with an iOS or tvOS device. 

That's a lot of $100 bills.

Of course, Apple can afford it. They have cash reserves of $285.6 billion, so what's a billion after all. (See if NBC can match that trick)

It's a way to break into the market and gain audience and market share.  It worked for Bezos, so why not for Apple.

As to the quality of their new program slate?  We'll have to see. But at least it won't cost anyihing to take a look, and I think that's the whole idea.



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