Apple has $29 billion in cash. Will it use $3 billion of it to buy internet rights to all TV shows?
Robert X. Cringley has written a fascinating article called “The Future of Internet TV (in America).” You can find it in its entirety on his blog.
His argument is simple. Despite hulu.com’s growth, it’s not making any money. It’s only growing because it doesn’t have to pay writers and actors, having received unprecedented concessions from their respective guilds. Since it can’t pay its own way, it’s destined to fail. When it does, who’s going to fill the vacuum? As always, the guys with the money. And in this case, almost no one has more money that our old pal Steve Jobs at Apple. Cringley writes:
Apple has at this moment just under $29 billion in cash and not many good ways to get a reasonable return on that money. Only Microsoft has more cash than Apple and Microsoft is being pulled in a lot more directions so Microsoft doesn’t have Apple’s flexibility.
What will Apple do with that money?
Most of it will remain unspent is my prediction, but I’m guessing we’ll shortly see $3 billion or so per year go into buying Internet rights for TV shows — not old TV shows but NEW TV shows, shows of all types.
It seems all too plausible. Monetizing content is something Apple has already done brilliantly in the music business. Would anyone really be surprised if they figured out a way to do the same thing with television (to say nothing of the things we read)? Not me, brother. Always bet on the black mock turtleneck sweater.