Apple, closer to its vision for a TV set, wants ESPN, HBO, Viacom, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and others to come along

“Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks to provide content for a television set that would emphasize apps over cable TV, according to people familiar with those discussions,” Zachary M. Seward, Gina Chon, and Kevin J. Delaney report for Quartz. “Among the companies that have talked to Apple are Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom, which owns MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central.”

“Sources say Apple’s strategy could include forming its own pay TV service, essentially becoming a cable company itself, except with content delivered entirely over the internet,” Seward, Chon, and Delaney report. “Apple wants to release a full-fledged television set, seeking to control the entire experience of watching TV, according to sources… [it] would attempt to usurp the role of the cable box in people’s living rooms.”

Seward, Chon, and Delaney report, “Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV. A deal with a top-tier content provider like ESPN or HBO could represent a tipping point that would encourage Apple to bring the product to market.”

“Apple’s TV set could shift the paradigm of traditional television watching. Instead of organizing everything around channels, it would organize around apps from networks, studios, and others that own content,” Seward, Chon, and Delaney report. “Other features, like search, might help eliminate the notion of channel-flipping altogether. Cable companies, in that scenario, could become just another app that consumers choose to pay for or not, rather than the core of the TV set.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The app is the channel:

“Content producers should get to work then on producing their own apps, as ESPN has done already for their channels… We’ll make a folder of them on our iOS devices and it’ll look and act just like the channel lineup.” – MacDailyNews Take, April 11, 2011

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]


      1. But seriously, you are a sad little person who hangs out on a news site for a company he hates and posts what basically amounts to nonsense.
        Do you really think anyone here cares what you think?

    1. Horseshit. Only about 10% of DirecTVs subscribers pay the ridiculous price for Sunday Ticket, and most of the money goes to the NFL, not DirecTV.

      NFL is certainly very popular, but contrary to popular believe, the world doesn’t revolve around football for nearly as many people as you think.

      1. Not everyone can subscribe to DirectTV (e.g. Dishs are prohibitted in most leases). However, anyone with internet could have it if Apple TV carried it. I’m not a NFL fan, but my friends that are 1) have the best TVs 2) cite it as the number 1 reason they won’t cut the cord.

          1. Try reading: “OTARD rules do not apply to common areas that are owned by a landlord, a community association or jointly by condominium owners. These common areas may include the roof or exterior walls of a multiple dwelling unit”

            “In the case of condominiums, cooperatives and rental properties, the rules apply to “exclusive use” areas, like terraces, balconies or patios. “Exclusive use” refers to an area of the property that only the renter and people allowed by the renter may enter and use. If the area is shared with others or accessible without the renter’s permission, it is not considered to be an exclusive use area.”

    2. This might be a close-minded response, but screw american football. i don’t care for the sport and I am sure there are millions of others that don’t. Let the game come to the apple tv and not the apple tv needing it as a pillar to stand on.

      1. NFL drives TV sales. It is a huge obstacle for cutting the cord. And ot has the highest ad revenues on television. This would be devastating to cable’s long term health. Unfortunately, Apple is run by a bunch of nerds who don’t understand this. If you want to remake TV, ypu have to get the content people cannot live without. Additionally, this might bring a whole new type of demographic to Apple TV.

    1. Soccer and Basketball. Both market s are going to grow. For soccer, it’s all too obvious. The NBA will get better, especially with the new crop of players coming into the league next year and Stern retiring (perhaps officiating will improve too — fingers crossed).

  1. Seriously,1080p content for ESPN and NFL digital rights and they’d sell a dump truck load of what ever they release… Think about being able to purchase just your teams games. This suddenly becomes much more affordable to the part time fan… Hope they spend the bucks on the rights to deliver it…

  2. The Major networks have gutted their news departments. Same with their sitcoms and drama. Cheap reality and talent shows are the new norm. They air more reruns than original content and the original shows are pretty week. Look how lame 60 minutes has become lately. Most programming on the majors pretty much sucks.

    There is a huge opportunity for someone to step in with the next great thing. Small independent studios with a couple good creative programs could be hugely successful with their own app, with options for paid with no ads or ad supported. Try out a program with ads, if you like it, subscribe.

    I would pay for a news app with professional investigators providing real unbiased news coverage nationally and internationally to replace the “infotainment” crap that is the cable norm.

  3. Apple has the idea now!! They are turning away from the cable companies and going directly to the networks. The cable companies are not going to give up their good thing. They are doing the thing what I was saying all along by going to the individual providers of content. The big fish in the sea is the NFL Network. They already got MLB, NHL and NBA. That will be the tipping point.

  4. THIS is the future of watching television. The idea of a “channel” that provides a list of programs will be a thing of the past. Already, the Big Three networks don’t produce the shows they used to, everything is purchased from other production companies that make an exclusive deal with a network. The future of television will be more attuned to you picking and choosing the programs you want to watch–at the time you want to watch it–rather than at a specific time each week. Already Netflix is proving that users are more than happy to wait to bing watch, rather than a program being delivered piecemeal. You would pay for (or sit through commercials) to watch a single program at your leisure. That’s how TV should be and will be in the near future. Networks, Cable Companies will become a thing of the past as content creators will be able to release programs directly to the end-user, which is a much better option. Apple, in essence, will be the “new” version of a Network with its TV App store that allows you to download tv shows. It would be earth shaking and another paradigm shift for the entertainment media.

  5. Let me get Showtime, HBO, PBS (not the local feed), a couple of International News channels and a College Football & Basketball Package. With that the Comcast cable is in the trash.

  6. I LOVE the HBO app. This is just an impression, not based on fact, but it seems to be slightly lower resolution than the same content accessed via Comcast. Does anyone know the particulars on this?

  7. the DOJ crap might be aversely affecting the speed of all this. Cue has to look over his back and triple check everything with lawyers, even if he doesn’t do anything wrong (like the ebook case) he’s probably worried there’s something the DOJ can slam him with (Judge : “see, see apple is talking to all these content companies, it’s collusion , collusion!” )

    Unfortunately perhaps it’s time for Apple to join the rest of the big companies and do the lobbying and PR game. Google spends 9 times more money than Apple in Washington Lobbying. Samsung spends 4 times apple in ‘marketing’ worldwide.

    Walmart used to get a lot of shit from DOJ and politicians about labour issues, driving other smaller business out, manufacturing in China etc. Practically every month it seemed it was in the press for some investigation or another. After following the advice of a consultant and setting up a big lobbying arm which employs ex Politicians as Lobbyists (i.e a fat retirement for Congressmen and Senators) Walmart miraculously has disappeared as a a target for investigations (although as a far as I can see Walmart is STILL expanding and manufacturing in China and driving small businesses out… )

    Apple hiring ex senators, judges etc might not be a bad idea. Samsung later hired the UK judge Sir Robin Jacob who ruled against Apple and made apple apologize in print.

    I’ll rather apple stand above it all but perhaps it needs to join the rest in the ‘game’.

  8. I love American football, but I don’t need NFL Live, as some have suggested. I just need to be able to watch my local broadcast. I only really care about the home team, but with 3 networks showing about 5 games a week over the airwaves, I’m more than satisfied.

    Apple needs to put a regular tuner in the thing. Let my antenna get me the stuff their contract negotiations can’t supply, and use their software wizardry to seamlessly integrate the whole shebang. Hey – let me Roku the game to my iPhone at work and I’ll be with Apple for the rest of my life – hahaha!

    Problem solved.

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