Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddie Cue appeared onstage at SXSW on Monday, and discussed a range of topics, including their just-announced acquisition of magazine app Texture. Cue also made some comments regarding Apples recent moves in original video content, where its been acquiring a number of TV series from high-profile creators. Cue said that Apples historical pattern has not been to buy up big companies, like Netflix and Disney, in response to a question about those media giants as potential acquisition targets, per Cheddars Alex Heath on Twitter. Instead, Cue noted that Apple does believe a shift is coming regarding how people get their media content, and noted that its being strategic and picky about its content buying. Were not after quantity, were after quality, Cue reportedly said. Even so, the company has acquired the rights to around a dozen new shows thus far, and also renewed its existing Carpool Karaoke series based on James Cordens Late Late Show segment. Cue admitted that Apple is now making big investments financially speaking in original content, adding that spending cash isnt an issue for the tech company, which is sitting on one of the largest available cash piles of any company in the world. He added that around 40 people are now dedicated to building out its Apple TV content business. The Apple exec drew comparisons between the companys approach to content and Pixars, meaning it has a focus on quality storytelling, and also suggested there will be some surprises in store for how the programming is viewed once available. He also added that its not going to focus on acquiring sports streaming rights in the near-term, at least, and suggested that its original content ambitions face fewer hurdles than those from rivals, including Facebook and Google, because its not also an advertising-based business. Apple has a lot of content coming down the pipeline, but it doesnt sound like the company is interested in a spray-and-pray approach, which seems to be where Netflixs original programming is heading lately.
Apple is not buying Netflix, and is focusing on "quality over quantity." For a session about "Curation in Media," there wasn't a whole lot of talk about Apple News at Eddy Cue's SXSW panel today. Instead, moderator and CNN senior reporter Dylan Byers steered Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services through a wide range of topics, from today's acquisition of magazine platform Texture through Apple Music (it now has 38 million subscribers), free speech, live TV, healthcare and the company's recent foray into video content. Apple's first batch of original programming was safe and not particularly well received. Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke both closely mirrored TV formats, and perhaps represented a desire to learn about production and distribution more than they did a real effort to make hit shows. However, the past few months have seen a flurry of activity at Apple, with shows from creators like Ronald D. Moore, Damien Chazelle and M. Night Shyamalan now in the works. Despite the huge investment Apple is making, Cue insists he doesn't want Apple's video offering 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, echoing 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 also said that Apple is new at this, and so not everything will be a hit. "Everything should be very high quality," though, and that's where Cue says Apple "will stand out" when compared to Netflix and Amazon. Cue also spoke about Apple's unique spot in the streaming industry. While Netflix can control its web and app offerings, Apple is the only company that has almost full control over both the 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." The executive pointed to how its TV app handles live sports -- providing a notification when something it thinks you'll be interested in is happening, even if the game is in its last quarter. Byers repeatedly pushed Cue on why Apple, with its famously large cash reserves dwarfing the value of Netflix's entire business, 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.'"