When the “Curation in Media” session was going on at SXSW 2018, there wasn’t much to talk about in terms of what Eddy Cue could reveal with what’s going on at Apple. Instead, moderator and CNN senior reporter Dylan Byers took Apple’s senior Vice President of Internet Software and Service into a different direction where a wide range of topics were discussed.
In the discussion, Apple’s purchase of Texture through Apple Music was discussed, free speech, healthcare, live TV and the company’s venture into video content. When discussing the first batch of original programming from Apple, it was safe and not particularly well received, to say the least. Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke both closely mirrored TV formats, and were in a sense used to explore production and distribution of content rather than making hit shows. Though, over the past few months, Apple has been partnering up with creators like Ronald D. Moore, Damien Chazelle and M. Night Shyamalan to have some original programming in the works. Despite that Apple is making huge investments in original programming, Cue has insisted that he doesn’t want Apple’s video offerings to emulate Netflix.
“We don’t try to sell the most smartphones in the world, we don’t try to sell the most apps, we try to make the best one. Hopefully the other piece happens,” Cue told Byers, saying what Apple always says but no one quite believes. “We’re making big investments … It’s about finding the right ones. The way we like doing things is not to throw a hundred things against the wall and see which one’s going to be good or not.” Cue adds that Apple is new in the area, and so not everything will be a hit, at least not right away. “Everything should be very high quality,” though, and that’s where Cue says Apple “will stand out” when compared to Netflix and Amazon.
Cue further talked about Apple’s unique position in the streaming industry. Netflix may control web and app areas, but Apple is the only company that has almost full control over both hardware and software that its videos will appear on. “We’ll have a few surprises,” Cue said, “we think there’s a real advantage in technology .. There are ways to leverage the technology to make the viewing experience even better.” He gave an example about how its TV app handles live sports, giving notifications when something it thinks you’ll be interested in, even if it’s a nail biter game.
Lastly, time and time again, many have tried to push for answers from Apple on the large amount of cash it sits on, the value of Netflix, and why it wouldn’t just buy one of its competitors. “Generally, in the history of Apple, we haven’t made huge acquisitions,” Cue said. “The reason we haven’t done that is the old Gretzky quote: ‘Skate to where the puck’s going, not where it is.'”