Apple in Talks With Content Providers for Web-Based TV Service

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,646
10,074



Rumors about Apple's television plans have died down in recent months as no new product has appeared, but the company hasn't given up on TV. According to industry executives that spoke to Re/code, Apple is in talks with television programmers over deals that would see the company offering a web-based TV service.

Such a service would potentially allow Apple to deliver customized television packages that would be streamed over the Internet, providing access to a bundle of channels from participating content providers. The service would not include a full lineup of channels like traditional cable, but it would offer a range of content delivered by Apple with its own interface on devices like the Apple TV.

The theory is that Apple would put together bundles of programming -- but not the entire TV lineup that pay TV providers generally offer -- and sell it directly to consumers, over the Web. That means Apple wouldn't be reinventing the way TV works today, but offering its own version of it, with its own interface and user experience.
Apple is reportedly far enough along in the development of such a service that it has been showing potential programming partners demos, but talks remain in the early stages -- pricing and a potential release timeline are unknown.

Apple originally had very ambitious plans for revamping television, which included a desire to create a subscription television service that would replace existing cable subscription packages, but was unable to move forward with that idea due to pushback from content providers.

After a string of failed negotiations, Apple scaled back on its television plans, aiming to wedge itself between cable companies and consumers by designing a set-top box that would play live television in lieu of a traditional cable box. Rumors suggested Apple was in talks with Comcast and Time Warner over such a service, which would also include cloud-based DVR functionality, but that has yet to materialize and may have shifted into its newest web-based television plans.

Apple has repeatedly failed to reach deals with content providers due to their reluctance to change the status quo, but as Re/code points out, the television industry has been shifting towards web-based models in recent months, and both Sony and Dish have managed to establish deals with programmers to provide live TV and video-on-demand over the web.

During the company's most recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook once again reiterated that television is something that Apple "continues to look at." Apple is working towards finding a way to make a "greater contribution," than what it currently offers, he said.

Article Link: Apple in Talks With Content Providers for Web-Based TV Service
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,694
4,308
Apple will just slowly release pieces of their grand TV scheme.

Start with the Apple TV hardware, next add in this streaming service, then finally blow away the bundles.
 

Z400Racer37

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2011
697
1,595
I don't understand why content creators would prefer to go through the cable providers to distribute their content... I mean sure, maybe you get more $ per sale, but you get far less sales than you do if you make people buy expensive, 500 channel packages, out of which they only watch a few networks. A lot of people don't see the value anymore, and you lost all sales that way. I know I don't se the value anymore, I haven't had cable for a year now. Don't miss it one bit.
 

dlmart2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2007
669
1
If I could get Nation Geo, HBO and a select few other channels, I'd cut that cable cord forever!!!!! GO APPLE!
 

mchoffa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2008
829
50
Asheville, NC
This rumored product is taking about as long to come to fruition as the iPhone did... from 1999 when they got the iphone.org domain to 2007. Hopefully it will blow people away just like the iPhone did as well.
 

mlody

macrumors 65816
Nov 11, 2012
1,047
663
Windy City
Apple's products aren't cheap per say, so I am wondering how this new service would be any cheaper than a comparable cable deal. I guess we will wait and see.
 

brendu

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2009
2,438
2,412
USA
I don't understand why content creators would prefer to go through the cable providers to distribute their content... I mean sure, maybe you get more $ per sale, but you get far less sales than you do if you make people buy expensive, 500 channel packages, out of which they only watch a few networks. A lot of people don't see the value anymore, and you lost all sales that way. I know I don't se the value anymore, I haven't had cable for a year now. Don't miss it one bit.
Well Comcast owns NBC and all of its affiliates and likely has lucrative contracts with other content creators that need to expire before apple can try to push their way into the industry. I would love to see apple spend some of their billions blocking the cable companies from their current deals. I don't want apple to get exclusive TV rights but I do want them to get access to all the networks by paying more than Comcast can pay to prevent it.

I have to believe apples close relationship with Disney will mean that live ESPN will be coming to Apple TV at some point when their current network contracts expire. When that happens there will be a ton of people ditching cable and I csant wait to see that happen. These cable companies are going to have to finally change the way they do business after 30 years of the same **** with little to no innovation or improvements.
 
Last edited:

usersince86

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2002
376
748
Columbus, Ohio
1. Hope this is what Steve meant when he said about TV, "I finally cracked it!"

2. Hope it includes ESPN (not paying a separate cable fee like it is now)

3. Hope it's this year
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
We can only suspect that Apple was trying to work with the big providers on a set-top box service, but if that's truly the case and it failed, then the alternative is to going head-to-head with them. That could be very not pretty for all concerned. TV programming was a huge hairball before, and is more Balkanized now than ever. What a stinking swamp. I hope Apple doesn't go there.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,350
26,190
To me this sounds just like :apple:Pay where some are on board but other have their own agenda and will choose not to be. When will somebody create a service where I can just pick the channels I want rather than having to take bundles of channels.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
To me this sounds just like :apple:Pay where some are on board but other have their own agenda and will choose not to be. When will somebody create a service where I can just pick the channels I want rather than having to take bundles of channels.
It's essentially impossible in the current environment. Congress would have to mandate it, and that's just not going to happen.
 

entropys

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2007
621
856
Brisbane, Australia
I suspect that after repeated failure to broker a deal with media execs protecting their established profit lines, the old pirate flag could be dug out of the archives and rise again above 1 infinite loop to bludgeon Apple's ideas through.

But I guess that would wreck the relationship with content providers, who do such a great job with pricing on the iTunes store. /sarc
 

Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
5,706
4,998
NC
If I could get Nation Geo, HBO and a select few other channels, I'd cut that cable cord forever!!!!! GO APPLE!
It would depend on how much it costs.

If 5 selected channels cost $50 a month... but you can get 70 channels on cable for $50 a month... it would make more sense to just get cable.

Cable, coupled with a DVR, can get you EVERY show that is broadcast on TV.

Online services still don't have everything yet so you might be missing some things.

Even if you choose just the channels you want... you're still paying for them when you're asleep and at work.

We now live in an on-demand world... why not just pay for the shows you want? We don't even need channels anymore.
 

s2mikey

macrumors 68020
Sep 23, 2013
2,480
3,453
Upstate, NY
Do we really need another "Netflix" type service though? What if there ends up being a lot of exclusive content for each of the major players? Then, you'd have to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Apple tv, sling TV, Amazon prime, and whatever other ones come out to play. Add that all up and the hassle.... And suddenly the cord cutting isn't so great anymore.

I've been cord fee for almost ten years now. We have Hulu plus and Netflix along with a roof antenna and have plenty to watch. What I don't want to see is too many exclusives with content. That'd suck.

Just hope this goes the right way.
 
When will somebody create a service where I can just pick the channels I want rather than having to take bundles of channels.
When the masses want it so bad they are willing to pay more- not less- to get it PLUS make up for the lost revenues made from commercial revenue running in those many other channels "we" never watch (that conceptually die when we can pick the handful of channels that "we" want).

What doesn't work is killing all that commercial revenue on channels "we" don't watch, killing the fractional subscription revenue made on the bundled channels we don't want and won't take in this al-a-carte dream AND us getting a huge discount because we're only taking a fraction of the channels we used to take.

None of the players beyond us consumers- including Apple- have motivations for the source of ALL of the revenue in the model- us + commercials revenue - to get a huge haircut. Any "new model" will have to show all those other players how they are going to make MORE money, not less... else why change?
 

brendu

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2009
2,438
2,412
USA
It's essentially impossible in the current environment. Congress would have to mandate it, and that's just not going to happen.
It's not impossible just not economical. People would have to spend around $25/month per channel to make it work for the content providers.
 

76ShovelHead

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2010
524
31
Florida
Without Steve around to tell these tv execs there a bunch of a**wholes and coin memorable lines to change their thought processes, this whole endeavor has been prolonged and dragged out far longer than it needed to be. Would've been cool to watch Steve twist their arms, but eventually it will come to fruition, thanks to the Network providers such as Dish, and Brighthouse (my provider for tv and internet) making the move with their online streaming options. Got to say, its pretty convenient. I don't even have a TV in my room, but I can watch live TV on my 24inch monitor or even my tablet thanks to my cable company's app –no set-top box needed! :D
 

mantan

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2009
1,707
953
DFW
A lot of Apple fans live in fantasyland on this topic. They imagine just getting the shows they want at a fraction of the price and sticking it to those evil cable companies.

They completely miss the root cause of the issue. The current model allows the content creators a lot of money. They aren't going to give up that model unless a new model makes them a similar amount of money or their is a massive disruption to the current delivery model. (Like what happened with the music industry when illegal digital downloads suddenly rendered their model obsolete.)

Apple isn't going to get into this unless they get their big cut of the pie. Sure you'll get some alternate delivery systems...just like the web based systems that are already out there. But new first run content and key sports (NFL, college football, etc)...the true money makers, aren't coming to Apple if it costs the content creators a penny. Cable and Satellite are already trying to get in front of this by offering their customers a web based and mobile applications.

Cord cutters represent a very small dedicated part of the TV viewing audience. In order for this to be profitable, you have to change the habits of the average viewer.

Unless Apple is just looking to duplicate a Hulu/Netflix model, I have a hard time seeing where they fit, where they can innovate and where it'll be a good value proposition.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.