What's Up With Apple: Spending on Streaming Content, Trouble in Korea, and More

Spending in 2022 on new movies and television shows to satisfy the seemingly insatiable viewer appetite for new stuff is expected to reach at least $115 billion. That’s just for the top eight media firms. Toss in rights to stream sports events, and the spending estimate rises to $140 billion.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is among those eight top media firms, along with Disney, Netflix, Comcast, WarnerMedia, Amazon, ViacomCBS and Fox, according to a report in the Financial Times. Media analyst Michael Nathanson told the paper, “The only way to compete is spending more and more money on premium content.”

For its part, Apple is not among the biggest spenders. In September, Bank of America analyst Nat Schindler estimated that Apple would spend about $6 billion on premium streaming content this year, and called Apple’s original $1 billion in spending “chump change” compared to his estimated 2021 $17 billion content budget at Netflix.

According to the Financial Times research, Disney is expected to spend some $23 billion on new movies and TV shows in 2022. Adding in the cost of rights for sports lifts the budget to $33 billion. The paper estimates Netflix will spend $17 billion on content in 2022, up from more than $13 billion this year.

Earlier this year, South Korea amended its Telecommunications Business Law to require the App Store and Google Play to allow app developers to offer alternative payment systems. Now, the country’s Game Management Committee of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism is “asking” the major mobile app marketplaces “to block any games that require an in-app purchase before they can be played.”

The so-called play-to-earn (or P2E) games have become popular among crypto companies because players must first purchase game tokens as NFTs in order to play and earn rewards. Cointelegraph also noted that some game apps cannot get the age rating that Korean law requires before an app can be listed for sale on an app marketplace.

In April, Apple announced that the company would spend some $430 billion over the next five years developing new projects in the United States. At that time, the company also announced that would build a new campus in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

What Apple did not say is that the state of North Carolina has committed to subsidize the new campus to the tune of $846 million over the next 39 years. That is $21 million a year in tax breaks. A nonpartisan think tank, the Center for Economic Accountability (CEA), has chosen the deal as its Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year. CEA president John Mozena commented:

A billion dollars is a lot of money for North Carolina’s taxpayers and communities because that’s $1 billion worth of public services not being funded. But for a company like Apple, which reported more than $1 billion a day in revenues this past year, it isn’t anywhere near enough money to move the needle on a major site selection decision.

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