Analyst sees Apple partnering with existing cable providers for some ‘iTV’ content

“Peter Misek with Jefferies presented his “what if” analyses related to content on the so-called ‘iTV’ in a note to investors on Monday. In what he sees as the most likely scenario, Apple could gain access to non-exclusive content for its television set and forge deals with existing cable providers,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“By potentially partnering with carriers and cable operators, Apple could enter the market on a level playing field with everyone else for content,” Hughes reports. “With access to a variety of content through existing providers, as well as the content already available on the iTunes Store, Misek believes that Apple could package everything with a ‘superior user interface and ecosystem’ and beat out the competition.”

Hughes reports, “In another option, he said Apple could buy access to exclusive content, much as Netflix has done for the ‘House of Cards’ program, and DirecTV has with its exclusive ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ package. With ‘headline deals,’ such as a rumored bid on the English Premier League rights, he thinks Apple would gain buzz.”

Much more in the full article here.

16 Comments

  1. We’re going yo-yo with analysts’ predictions when it comes to Apple (i)TV.
    One day some guy “closed” to one Apple’s supplier claims it’s coming.
    The next day, some other lady even closer pretends the opposite. And so on…

  2. Why would Apple partner with cable providers? All that would do is mark up the cost of content. Plus, the cable companies may not have any authority to sub-contract out content which they do not own (e.g., what gives TimeWarner the right to license Apple to resell episodes of “Deadliest Catch”?)

    Apple could just as easily go to the content providers/owners and negotiate deals as it already has done for content. This makes no sense whatsoever.

  3. Just think of it as Apple replacing the cable company black boxes. That reduces the hassle of maintaining the infrastructure except for the Internet service and yet stay in the cable business via Apples Internet based user interface which would open up a much larger set of potential subscribers. Each cable company would operate an app that has subscriptions for whatever packages they offer and users would have a large choice of cable services and subscription plus a GREAT interface that they can be delighted with.

  4. Apple partnering with existing content providers for “some” content is not good enough. That’s basically the strategy for the existing $99 Apple TV, and it’s (still) called a “hobby” by Apple. The complete “iTV” will not be a “hobby.”

    The only way Apple can succeed with mass adoption of iTV (like on the scale of iPad and iPhone) is if customers get EVERYTHING they right now. To that end, iTV needs to take the existing TV services used by customers (such as cable) and make the experience of using it significantly better. From my experience, the user interface for Comcast’s TV services pretty much sucks (it’s like a bad copy of TiVo from ten years ago). This is an area that is ripe for Apple’s to do another “here’s how to do it right.” Customers would have access to ALL of their current TV content (that they already pay for), with an Apple-quality user experience.

    How can something like that happen? I’m not sure. But consider… it’s not that different from past examples. A Mac is a better “user interface device” for Windows PC users, to get access to the SAME Internet services. An iPhone is a better “user interface device” for mobile phone users, to get access to the SAME wireless services. I think iTV will be a better “user interface device” that provides customers with access to their existing TV services and content.

    The TV service providers (such as Comcast) should be happy to work with Apple. Apple does the work to improve the user’s experience, and customers continue to the pay for the same TV services. Sounds like a win-win. With iPhone, wireless carriers were even willing to work with Apple to implement new functionality, such as Visual Voicemail.

    However, Apple will continue to improve the part of iTV Apple completely controls, which is the current Apple TV strategy. As iTV gains in adoption, Apple will gain the clout to negotiate for better content deals and improve this part of the iTV user experience. With iPhone, Apple kept adding and improving services it completely controls, such as the App Store, iBooks, and Siri. Over time, iTV customers will use the “Apple TV” services more and more, and their existing TV services less and less. Eventually, many will decide to cancel their existing TV services.

    THAT is the strategy that makes it NOT a “hobby.”

    1. You made a great point. Hopefully we’ll see where SJ steered Team Apple. If I can’t imagine what the user interface would look like, then, well, it’s gunna be awesome.

  5. Apple will pay for costs from studios via iAd and allow users to download for free. Kills illegal downloads in one fell swoop. Everyone will be using iTunes to get their TV programming. Studios will easily make over 50% of their current Cable rates. It’s what they call a win-win-win.

    #justsaying

  6. Apple cannot just work out a deal for content. It needs to work out a delivery strategy, as well. Just imagine what would happen if people started accessing TV through Apple. The profits made by cable companies would start dropping like a rock while their internet data pipes to residential customers would get loaded down with Apple traffic. Apple would be making most of the profit and the cable companies would turn into the “dumb pipes” that SJ called them years ago. Meanwhile, many people would find that even 6.0 Mbps ADSL really isn’t fast enough to support a modern digital household. That slams more companies.

    There is no way that the cable companies would bend over and accept this treatment from Apple without a fight. New data plans, bandwidth caps, and throttling would be implemented to handicap Apple iTV service and drive people back to cable for both TV and internet. Unless Apple comes up with a way to ensure affordable, fast, nationwide internet access, I don’t see iTV becoming the next iPad or iPhone.

    Content is very important. But so is the data delivery to the household.

    1. FYI – “iPhone” was already taken too. And “McIntosh” is a type of Apple.

      Money means you can buy or negotiate the rights to a name. Apple has money. Besides, it’s not Apple who’s calling this unannounced product “iTV” (not this time).

      1. A bit like the iPad in China. Oh wait… No, money does not mean you can always buy the rights to a name.

        But yes, you are correct about Apple naming. I am sure that Apple is well aware that the name is already taken. It is just a few who insist on calling it the iTV.

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