Apple had planned to launch a live-TV service along with its newest Apple TV last year, but negotiations with content providers reportedly fell through.
It sounds like the deals fell through because Apple online-services boss and content dealmaker Eddy Cue was viewed as arrogant during negotiations from 2011 to 2015, according to TV executives interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Cue apparently showed up late to negotiations with Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, wearing jeans, no socks, and a Hawaiian shirt.
One Time Warner executive “kept looking at the Apple guys like: ‘Do you have any idea how this industry works?'”
When asked how Apple TV software would work, Apple reportedly refused to describe it, former Time Warner executives said. Instead, Apple only said that it would be “better than anything you’ve ever had.”
Of course, there were disagreements on terms as well. Apparently Apple wanted $10 a month per subscriber from the cable networks, and it wanted to handle the experience through its Apple ID logins.
Later, during negotiations with Disney – whose CEO, Bob Iger, is on Apple’s board – Apple wanted a “several year” freeze on the monthly rate it would pay to license channels like ESPN.
Apparently, Apple believed Disney’s programming was only worth $13 a month.
The one network that Apple agreed on a rate with was Fox, for Fox News and some sports channels. (CEO Tim Cook was spotted chatting with Rupert Murdoch at a conference last fall.)
But Cue and Cook are apparently unbowed. Cue reportedly told media executives that “time is on my side” and executives sum up his negotiating style as, “we’re Apple.”
In the meantime, Apple has been funding television shows, including a reality show called “Planet of the Apps,” a show featuring Beats founder Dr. Dre, and a spinoff of CBS’s “Carpool Karaoke.” Apple also apparently bid on a spinoff of the British car show “Top Gear.”
The Wall Street Journal report is a fantastic read if you’re interested in how Apple blew its chance to launch a streaming-TV service.