I suspect that Apple's demand for it's own cut is just too great to forge a comparable streaming service deal, which is also what I suspect as the primary reason Amazon Prime is not making money on TV (yet) either. If one objectively follows the stories about such deals attempting to be struck (translation: not seeing Apple as Saint and all other potential partners as villains), when they inevitably fall apart, the message seems to consistently be in the direction of "Apple wanted everything..." implying "...leaving us with nothing."
How many of these other players have been able to strike "skinny bundle" package deals now? I suggest that implies that moving content/channel owners to partner is not as complicated as some of us like to spin it as part of rationalizing why Apple hasn't got such a deal done. However, key among those deals is likely making it so that the partners are getting theirs too. In other words, I suspect that DirecTV Now, PS Vue, Sling, YouTube and maybe Hulu are not pocketing the equivalent of Apple's cut right off the top... and, as such, were able to get their steaming bundle deals done.
This is all suspicion, as I have no hard "insider" evidence beyond anecdotal bits & pieces of information shared by those with which Apple has tried to partner... plus the reality in that if there was profit to be made by partnering in this way per Apple's wants, do we really believe these entities would refuse to strike a deal that could potentially be QUICKLY sold to many millions of TV owners and thus immediately generate sizable new flows of cash? In most posts, "we" pretty consistently refer to them as "greedy;" do we believe they will act against their "greedy" nature by refusing the cash flow from upwards of millions of new subscribers that might jump on Apple's version of a PS Vue, Sling, etc?
All of these other players seem to have had little trouble getting deals done. Either we concede that they are superior to Apple in some key way (which I realize is practically heretical around here) or we have to ask ourselves: what are they doing differently than Apple to forge those deals? Personally, I don't believe these players (and Amazon Prime) are refusing profit if profit is there just to spite Apple... or because they are afraid of Apple, etc. I speculate that there just isn't enough for them in such deals after Apple takes it's big bite and yet still demands a competitive price (squeezing "the rest" to basically eat the losses vs. comparable deals with PS Vue, Sling, etc.)
I imagine the solution is in Apple deciding to take a lessor bite so that there is enough "savings" left over to flow through and give these partners what they are probably getting from the other streaming services already in play. In short: money talks... and Apple has more of that than any of these other guys, yet these other players have deals done and this kind of service already being sold. Perhaps this is one of those channels where a flat rate demand just can't work. If so, making an exception to better compete in the dealmaking employed by these others seems likely to get comparable deals struck. Yes, that would imply Apple making less than their usual fat margin on this one thing but what is the alternative: let DirecTV now, PS Vue, Sling or others have that particular business and just be one of the STB sellers on which such apps can run? Full margin on selling a box once or or full margin on that box PLUS partial margin on a monthly subscription for up to forever?
Unless Apple is willing to play ball with the tv/movie content owners.... slim to none.
actually the issue isn't likely Apple but the content owners