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Apple CEO claims ‘intense interest’ in TV, content

THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDENApple CEO Tim Cook has said that he has an “intense interest” in television, and claimed there is “great opportunity” for the company to create and own content.

Speaking on the company’s third quarter earnings call, Cook also said that Apple is “open to acquisitions of any size that are of strategic value where we can deliver better products to our customers and innovate more”.

Asked specifically about the company’s aspirations in the TV and content markets, Cook said: “I would confirm that television has intense interest with me and many other people here.

“In terms of owning content and creating content, we have started with focusing on some original content… I think it’s a great opportunity for us both from a creation point of view and an ownership point of view, and so it’s is an area that we’re focused on.”

The comments come after Apple acquired exclusive rights to James Corden format Carpool Karaoke this summer.

The new series will debut on the Apple Music platform after Apple reached an agreement with CBS Studios International, which began shopping the format after The Late, Late Show with James Corden skit became a viral hit on YouTube.

It has also ordered an original reality competition series, Planet of the Apps, and is believed to be working on a six-part drama, Vital Signs, with rapper Dr. Dre.

Cook’s latest comments on content and television came as the company reported its fiscal fourth quarter earnings for the three months ending September 24, 2016. 

Apple does not break out Apple TV sales in the same way it does for iPhones, iPads and Mac. However, the ‘other’ division that houses the streaming box – alongside devices like the Apple Watch and Beats headphones – experienced a 22% decline in revenue to US$2.37 billion.

Overall, the company posted quarterly revenue of US$46.9 billion and quarterly net income of US$9 billion, compared to revenue of US$51.5 billion and net income of US$11.1 billion in the year-ago quarter. 

Cook has spoken previously about Apple’s TV aspirations. On the company’s Q3 earnings call he said that the latest version of Apple TV and its tvOS software, which launched in October 2015, marked “the foundation” for bigger plans in this space.

At the time he also made reference to a TV-related release “this fall” and said the company is “building the foundation for what we believe can be a broader business over time”.

The Financial Times reported in May that Apple had considered a move for its media counterpart Time Warner and cited several unnamed banking sources who suggested Apple would be more likely to move for a streaming service such as Netflix.

IHS stats from June meanwhile claimed that Apple surged to third place in the global set-top box market by revenue in 2015 thanks to the success of its Apple TV device.