Analyst Apple not buying a Hollywood studio is a major strategic mistake

Following Amazon’s purchase of MGM for $8.45 billion and the Warner/Discovery merger, Wedbush analysts and others have weighed in on the future of Apple TV+, what they see as Apple’s mistakes, and more.

The Hollywood Reporter heard from a mix of analysts and industry insiders about Apple TV+ following Amazon’s big purchase of MGM. Notably, Apple was said to be in early talks with MGM about an acquisition back in January.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives thinks the MGM deal was a “huge” missed opportunity for Apple and also not picking up a Hollywood studio at all is a “major strategic mistake.” Ives also reiterated his comment about Apple TV+ being a “mansion with hardly any furniture.”

“Apple has made a major strategic mistake not buying a Hollywood studio while Amazon, Disney, Netflix and others run away with content,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives says. “Content is king, and Apple built a mansion with hardly any furniture in it. MGM was a no-brainer acquisition for Apple, and they missed a huge opportunity.”

In the past, Ives has called Apple not buying Netflix years ago its “biggest strategic mistake.” While Apple has had some hits like Ted Lasso, some estimates put its streaming service as having just a 3% market share in the US.

As for why Apple may be hesitant to buy a major studio, one CEO thinks the company may be concerned about its shareholders:

Hal Vogel, CEO of Vogel Capital Management, suggests that Cook is “afraid of shareholder blowback if he goes Hollywood in a big way.”

With Apple going this long without buying a major studio, it may not change its mind, but The Hollywood Reporter notes that one of the remaining options would be Lionsgate. That would amount to an acquisition around the size of its $3B Beats purchase:

Apple could choose to ramp up its Hollywood division with a mega buy of a studio the size of, say, Lionsgate, which gets mentioned as a possible takeover target given its relative lack of scale — Lionsgate’s market cap is $3.8 billion, while Apple’s is $2.1 trillion — as well as its 17,000-title library and film and TV franchises like Hunger GamesTwilight and its Starz drama Power.

There is certainly more pressure than ever in the streaming wars to acquire content. Wedbush’s Michael Pachter notes Apple has incentive to bolster its library, but highlights it could opt for smaller buys:

Or it could follow Netflix’s lead and look to snap up smaller Hollywood shingles — like Mark Millar’s comic book company Millarworld — to bulk up its intellectual property ownership.

Check out everything available on Apple TV+ in our full guide: