Apple is shopping for a TV exec

From a piece posted Monday for Information subscribers by Tom Dotan:

HBO’s former programming head Michael Lombardo met with Apple executives earlier this year to discuss Apple’s video programming strategy, says a person familiar with the talks. The talks suggest Mr. Lombardo could be a candidate to run Apple’s video efforts. Apple has been looking to fill that role, said another person briefed on those efforts.

Hiring a programming chief would signal to the entertainment community that Apple was serious about making its own shows and movies. While the company has taken on a few projects like reality competition show “Planet of the Apps” and the “Carpool Karaoke” series, many in Hollywood have been flummoxed by what exactly Apple wants to do with video. Questions include how far Apple wants to go in making its own shows and whether it wants to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Takaway: Apple’s hiring of an executive to lead its video programming efforts would clarify its programming strategy for Hollywood. The entertainment industry is still unclear about Apple’s larger ambitions.

Investors are unclear too. Flummoxed, even.


  1. John Kirk said:
    I think one of the things that people don’t understand; can’t seem to wrap their heads around; is that Apple doesn’t need to be the best in these types of areas. Content from other sources sits atop Apple’s platform. And that’s the way Apple prefers it to be.

    However, Apple cannot have their OS hijacked by popular programs. So they build Apple Maps, Apple Music. They do messages. Now they’re creating their own content. And from now until the day Apple closes its doors, Apple’s fans, even more than their critics, will criticize Apple for not being the best in any of these areas.

    If you prioritize everything, you prioritize nothing. Apple’s focus is on the iOS platform and ecosystem. Apple’s services serve the platform, not the other way around. People constantly get confused; lose track of what Apple is targeting.

    You can usually tell what is important by whether a company charges for it or not. Google gave Android away for free. People always wondered why Google couldn’t make Android the best. That’s because Android served Google Ads, which is where Google made its money.

    Companies get confused about these things all the time. Apple used to charge for OS updates. I think that was always a mistake. Eventually, they realized that they monetized their business through hardware sales and they started to give away their OS updates for free. This is how it should have always been.

    I’ve used this analogy before. Hardware is the ticket; the price you pay; to enter the Apple Ecosystem. Once you’re in the “park”, like at DisneyWorld, many of the features are free, and all you can eat. Apple’s services are like the food and souvenirs you buy at Disney. Disney makes a ton of money from those things, but no one goes to Disney World for the food and you can get Disney souvenir’s and T-Shirts from places other than Disney. Similarly, Apple makes a ton of money from selling services, put people do not join the Apple system because of those services.

    Now, those services may well KEEP you in the ecosystem, but no one buys an Apple device so they can get Apple music. Think of it this way. If Disney didn’t serve food, people would have to leave the park to eat, and they might then go elsewhere and not return to the park. Having food in the park keeps customers in the park. Apple services are the same. Having Apple maps, music, etc, keeps customers in the Apple park.

    Don’t expect Apple’s media offerings to be great. Good is good enough. Art museums have restaurants, but you don’t go to an art museum for the food. And Apple has services, but you don’t go to the Apple ecosystem for the services. You go for the ease of use and the platform/ecosystem. Everything at Apple is designed to serve the platform/ecosystem and to get you to pay for the hardware.

    May 16, 2017
  2. Great stuff, Capt. Kirk. But would the guy who ran HBO take a job making food for the park? Lomardo wasn’t exactly selling sugar water.

    May 16, 2017
    • John Kirk said:
      You make a great point, PED. But look at Angela Ahrendts. She was the successful CEO of a company, yet she took a step down to head Apple online and retail. Why?

      Apple is the biggest company in the world. Their sub-divisions are bigger than most fortune 500 companies. They say it’s better to be a big fish in a little pond than a little fish in a big pond. But perhaps there is a third option. I think Angela Ahrendts chose to be a big fish in a big pond. Others may find that appealing too.

      P.S. As an aside, are there any 5 star chefs working for Disney? I think there may be.

      May 16, 2017

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