Tim Cook is moving Apple beyond its reliance on the iPhone and expanding the reach of its entertainment software.

January 8, 2019 | Hollywood


Good morning. Last night in Santa Clara: The Clemson Tigers became the first college football team in 121 years to finish the season 15-0. Spotted: Nikki Haley celebrating on the sidelines.


• I'm en route to Las Vegas for CES. If you're there, let's get a drink.


Stephanie Keith/Getty

Tim Cook takes your TV


Talk of CES: Tim Cook is moving Apple beyond its reliance on the iPhone and expanding the reach of its entertainment software, a strategic shift that could expand the audience for Apple content and services at the exact time that they're getting ready to launch a Netflix-like streaming service.


• Apple is adding its AirPlay and HomeKit software to TVs from LG, Samsung and Vizio, hastening the expansion of Apple TV into American homes and expanding the audience for Apple content.


The Big Picture, via Recode's Peter Kafka: "We’re in a world where consumers expect to be able to subscribe to services like Netflix or Spotify, and have them work on whatever hardware they want."


That, and: Apple, which has seen flagging sales for the iPhone, "isn’t just content to make more money from people who own Apple devices, or to convince Apple device owners to keep using Apple devices. It wants to make money from people who don’t own Apple devices — or at least don’t exclusively use Apple devices."


View from the Strip, via Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes: "In essence, this rather stealthy CES announcement about AirPlay and HomeKit serves as a quiet, 'We got this,' from Apple."


• "Apple is suddenly open to new ideas, like choices. So long as they somehow bring you back to Apple."


Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Who wants a studio?


Speaking of Apple's forthcoming streaming service ... THR's Stephen Galloway floats a fun prediction for 2019: "Amazon, Apple or Netflix will (finally!) buy a major studio":


• "Whether it's Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, MGM or Lionsgate, one of these companies likely will become the target of acquisition by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Apple's Tim Cook or Netflix's Ted Sarandos — or even by another studio conglomerate like AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, seeking to ramp up its library."


That's very possible, but ... I'm also reminded of what I wrote last June about Apple, Amazon and Netflix forgoing acquisitions because signing "producers, showrunners and performers a la mode" is easier than "spending tens of billions on the mixed bag of content that Hollywood studios have built over time."


• To wit ... look at how Apple poached Sony's TV chiefs, or how Netflix poached mega-producers like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes from Fox and Disney, respectively.


• Plus, there's what Apple SVP Eddy Cue told me at last year's SXSW: "Generally the history of Apple — we have not made huge acquisitions. The reason why ... it's the old Gretzky quote: 'Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.'"


Then again, buying a studio gives you all that talent, resources and know-how in one fell swoop. ... so, who knows?


Bonus ... another fun THR prediction: "CBS and Viacom won't merge … Verizon will buy CBS."

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Joe Ianniello's Zirinsky point


The historic appointment of Susan Zirinsky as CBS News' first-ever female chief, which we reported on yesterday, can also be seen as a win for Joe Ianniello, the acting CBS Corp. CEO who is vying to become the company's permanent chief executive.


Vanity Fair's Joe Pompeo:


• "The move was bold, especially for an interim leader like Ianniello — a genuine post-#MeToo culture adjustment — and it was incredibly well-received at the network."


• "'I can’t even articulate to you what a home run this is,' one CBS News insider told me."


The Big Picture: Ianniello is trying to make the case that he can steady the CBS ship in the wake of the Les Moonves scandal, as well as the Jeff Fager and Charlie Rose scandals, and move the network into a new era.


• In retrospect, Zirinsky was the obvious choice, as she commands widespread respect throughout the news division and is among the hardest working people in the business.


What's next: CBS is still conducting its search for a new CEO. In the meantime, my colleague Claire Atkinson reports that Zirinsky will look to restore morale and gravitas to CBS News -- something former anchor Dan Rather believes she can do.

Market Links


Reed Hastings' stock rises after Netflix's Globes wins (Variety)


Bob Iger taps a new marketing chief at Disney (The Wrap)


Reid Hoffman is under fire from Facebook (WaPo)


Win McNamee/Getty

Trump wins primetime


President Donald Trump's planned primetime address on immigration will air across television tonight despite a day of handwringing by the networks on Monday over whether or not to give Trump the air time.


What happened:


The White House formally requested that the broadcast networks set aside at least eight minutes at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday for an Oval Office address in which Trump is expected to address immigration.


The networks spent several hours deliberating over whether or not to grant Trump the air time, fearful that he may use the platform to make a partisan, fact-free speech rather than a traditional "presidential" address.


• The networks decided to air the address, angering Trump critics who highlighted the fact that the networks had not granted President Obama a national audience for his immigration address in 2014.


Democratic leaders demanded equal television airtime to combat what they predicted would be a speech by Trump full of “malice and misinformation.”


• The networks have yet to respond to the Democrats, but it's likely that they'll get an opportunity for a rebuttal.


A few thoughts:


• There isn't really a justification for declining the president's request to address the nation about a major policy decision, especially one that may include the declaration of a national emergency.


• The fact that the networks made the wrong decision in 2014 doesn't mean they should make the wrong choice now, just because it's inconsistent.


• The networks may have spent so much time deliberating simply because they resent the way Trump has manipulated the media and did not want to be seen genuflecting or submitting to his White House.


The Big Picture: The address will air, as it should, but Monday's drama is a reminder of the asymmetrical relationship between the White House and the media, where the president demands and receives air time from the very same news organizations he so often seeks to malign and manipulate.


Top talker, via CBS' Stephen Colbert: "My network will be carrying Trump’s Wall speech live. So at 9 p.m. Tuesday, tune into CBS to See B.S."

What's Next: Jimmy Kimmel is putting a federal employee to work on his show every night until the government shutdown ends. Watch the clip here.


See you tomorrow, from CES.


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