- Technology

Apple may push play on bigger online video ambitions

Apple has reportedly been considering buying Time Warner to expand its video content goals.
News of that possible deal renewed expectations that Apple may ultimately buy Netflix.
Motif mentioned: Online Video
Stocks mentioned: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS ), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)
Investors in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) can officially stop complaining that the company has no plan for whether and how it might spend any part of its $153 billion cash stockpile. As it turns out, the company floated an idea last year for a good chunk of it: purchasing Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).

Late last week, it was reported that Eddy Cue, a top Apple executive in charge of the company’s iTunes and Apple Music business, brought up the idea in meetings at the end of last year with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy.1

The meetings were originally scheduled to discuss other potential ventures between the two companies, such as including Time Warner’s cable channels in a future video streaming service. But at some point, Cue broached the possibility of a merger. Side note: wouldn’t you love the exact wording of the pitch – “Hey, instead of incorporating your channels into our service, what if we just incorporated your entire company into ours?”

Media reports were quick to point out that discussions never went beyond a preliminary stage and never involved the chief executives from either company. On the other hand, it’s not like Cue was totally going rogue here, right?

Behind this potential deal, of course, is the larger-scale strategy by Apple to get further into the video content business at a time when it sits on a pile of cash and sales of its key product, the iPhone, has begun to see slower growth.

Apple looking to beef up its content business?
The company recently commissioned a video series about the app economy and a scripted series produced by Dr. Dre for the Apple Music streaming service. But these inroads are nothing compared to what’s being done by Amazon and Netflix, both of which are spending billions of dollars a year on in-house productions of series and movies.

It appears that now Apple wants to join the act. The company intends to boost its spending on original content to “several hundred million dollars a year” and has not ruled out acquiring a media company, the Financial Times reported.

The focus on Time Warner is understandable. As the FT pointed out, the company and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) are the only top media companies without dual-share structures and controlling family shareholders that can often impede a takeover attempt. Plus, Time Warner also has top assets like HBO, which produces Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep; Warner Bros, Hollywood’s largest producer of films and television shows; and Turner, which owns several cable channels and holds rights to NBA basketball.

Apple has wanted to add a subscription video service to its media operations, but has yet to succeed. Negotiations for rights to stream content have failed, as media companies are concerned that a deal with Apple would undermine their own existing revenues from pay TV subscriptions and give Apple too much leverage.2

That’s another reason why investors and industry analysts have also turned their hopes and expectations to a possible merger between Apple and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), an alliance that bankers say would make it easier for Apple’s media service to continue to offer a wide range of content makers.

And true to form, news of Apple’s outsized media ambition has only fanned the spark under shares of Netflix, which have gained nearly 18 percent in just the past 10 days. The recent jump marked an extreme turnaround for the stock, which had been down more than 20 percent so far this year. In late April the company’s disappointing forecast for its international business compounded concerns about slowing U.S. expansion. Netflix said it would add 2 million international subscribers in its current quarter, compared with 2.37 million in the year-ago period.3

Shares of Netflix have a 20 percent weighting in the Online Video motif, which has risen 3.3 percent in the past month. Over that same period, the S&P 500 has gained 1.6 percent.

In the past 12 months, the motif has decreased 15 percent, while the S&P 500 is off 0.4 percent.

- Gardening, General, Slider

6 Cozy Cocktails From The Plants In Your Garden

‘Tis the season to cosy up to the fireplace with a drink in your hand. Whether you’re staying in for the night or hosting a holiday soiree, these garden cocktails are the perfect addition to your night! Take your party to the next level with one of these signature drinks.

Pineapple and Rosemary Crush
Pineapple symbolises hospitality and guests will feel especially welcomed as they sip on this yummy drink while in your home. The sweet combination of pineapple and the distinct taste of rosemary come together in this easy-to-make garden cocktail.
2 chunks of pineapple
Sprig of rosemary
80 ml of sparkling wine
Ginger ale
Make It:
Mix wine, pineapple and ginger ale together.
Garnish with rosemary sprig.

Pomegranate Champagne Punch
Nothing says “let’s celebrate” like some champagne! Treat your guests—or yourself—to some bubbly with this festive punch. The pomegranate gives it just enough kick so this drink isn’t too sweet.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 750 ml bottles chilled brut Champagne
1 1/2 cups white rum
1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
1 large lemon, sliced
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves
1 ice block
Make It:
Bring water and sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
Combine champagne, rum and pomegranate juice in a punch bowl. Add enough syrup to sweeten.
Mix in lemon slices, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl.

Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned Cocktail
This slightly sweet twist on an old classic will give you a reason to use up all those persimmons growing in the orchard. The bright colour and sweetness of the persimmon make this a pretty and tasty garden cocktail.

1/4 medium ripe Fuyu persimmon diced, ends trimmed and discarded
1/8 orange
2 to 3 tsp. pure maple syrup
2 oz. rye or whisky
4 dashes orange bitters
1 (3 inch) cinnamon stick for garnish

Make it:
Combine persimmon, orange, and maple syrup in an a lowball glass and muddle enough to bruise the orange and start to break up the persimmon.
Add the ice, rye or whisky, and orange bitters.
Grate a touch of the cinnamon over the top then stir with the cinnamon stick until chilled through.
Clementine Bay Leaf Cocktail
Clementines are plentiful this season and so delicious and juicy. Take those clementines you get in your Christmas stocking and whip up this yummy drink.
6 to 8 clementines or 4 tangerines
3 oz. dark rum
Juice of one lemon
6 bay leaves, 2 for muddling and 4 for garnish
Make it:
Muddle two of the bay leaves in a mason jar using a wooden spoon or cocktail muddler. Slice and squeeze the lemon and all of the clementines.
Add the juice and rum into the jar with the muddled bay leaves.
Shake well and pour over ice. Garnish with the remaining bay leaves.
Cucumber Lime Punch
This refreshing cocktail will taste as fresh as a garden and have you rejuvenated for all those holiday parties.
1 cup rum
1 Cucumber, thinly sliced
2 limes, thinly sliced
1 cup water
12 oz. can limeade concentrate, thawed
1 liter club soda
Fresh mint
Make it:
Add rum, cucumber, lime, water, and lime concentrate to a small punch bowl or pitcher and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Add cold club soda and ice just before serving.
Slap mint leaves between your hands before adding.
Bloody Scary
Bloody Marys are a great way to use fresh ingredients from your garden. This one incorporates tomato, lemon and Thai chiles for a spicy take on this cocktail favourite.
1 large heirloom tomato (8 oz. chopped)
1/2 cup potato vodka such as Blue Ice
1 tsp. grated fresh horseradish
Juice from 1 lemon
Green olives
Long Thai chile
Make it:
Whirl heirloom tomato in a blender until smooth. Strain into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice.
Add potato vodka, grated fresh horseradish, and lemon juice and shake to blend. Strain into 2 highball glasses.
To garnish each glass, thread 3 pitted green olives onto a long Thai chile and set over glass
Garden cocktails are more unique and adventurous than ever before. You can grow a range of herbs, vegetables and fruits with the idea of making a perfect concoction with your home grown ingredients. After all, the only thing better than a cocktail, is a fresh cocktail with ingredients from your own garden. Let us know what your favourite winter cocktail is. Leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram showcasing your yummy drink. Use the #geraniumrozanne so Rozanne can get ideas for her next garden party!