Rumor: Apple talking with content partners, looking to launch streaming television service this fall

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 08:47
Category: Apple TV, Rumor, Software


Apple appears to be building its own television service.

The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to sources. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said.

For now, the talks don’t involve NBCUniversal, owner of the NBC broadcast network and cable channels like USA and Bravo, because of a falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast Corp., the people familiar with the matter said.

Apple and Comcast were in talks as recently as last year about working together on a streaming television platform that would combine Apple’s expertise in user interfaces with Comcast’s strength in broadband delivery. Apple came to believe that Comcast was stringing it along while the cable giant focused on its own X1 Web-enabled set-top box, the people said. One media executive said it may be difficult for Apple to launch a service without NBCUniversal channels.

Meanwhile, Apple has been talking to Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp., and 21st Century Fox Inc., among other media companies. The idea is to offer consumers a “skinny” bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN and FX, while leaving out the many smaller networks in the standard cable TV package. 21st Century Fox and News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, were part of the same company until mid-2013.

Some media executives said they believed Apple was aiming to price the service at about US$30 to US$40 a month. The company is apparently looking to announce its new service in June and launch it in September, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would work across iOS devices as well as the Apple TV set-top boxes.

Apple has had on-and-off talks with media companies for years in the hopes of creating a subscription TV service that would be delivered over the Internet. Many of its proposals were considered radical and failed to bear fruit. The latest round of talks could run into roadblocks that would throw off the company’s timeline.

But the company has some momentum. Last week, it signed up as the exclusive digital launch partner for HBO Now, the coming streaming service the Time Warner Inc. premium cable channel is launching in April. That deal was designed as a kind of appetizer for the main meal plans to be served later this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apple’s TV service would enter the market at a moment of intensifying competition in Internet TV services. Several companies are looking for ways to target “cord cutters,” people who don’t want to pay the typical US$90 price for a cable TV package with hundreds of channels and who tend to enjoy online video.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via the Wall Street Journal

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2 Responses to “Rumor: Apple talking with content partners, looking to launch streaming television service this fall”

  1. @JasonOGrady Is this interesting? Don’t cord-cutters want release from networks, not just cable companies?

  2. @JasonOGrady And it’s gotta have a DVR, right?