3 major hurdles for any Apple-Comcast streaming TV deal

“The tech world is abuzz after the Wall Street Journal reported Apple and Comcast are in discussions about teaming up to deliver a streaming TV service that could compete with Netflix,” Mike Murphy writes for SiliconBeat.

“The news sent Apple shares soaring this morning, and Netflix plummeting,” Murphy writes. “But even the Journal says a deal is not imminent, and before we get carried away, there are three significant hurdles any agreement would first have to clear.”

1. Net neutrality: According to the Journal, Apple would pay for a direct line into customers’ homes, traveling on Comcast’s “private” Internet pipes as opposed to its “public” broadband feed. In effect, Apple programming would be delivered as if it was Comcast on-demand content… Technically, that could fit under a vague “managed services” loophole in Comcast’s 2011 net neutrality agreement with the federal government that allowed it to purchase NBCUniversal. Or would it?

2. Will they share? Apple reportedly wants users to sign into the service with their Apple IDs, so it could control the consumer data. But Comcast would likely be loathe to give up access to their own subscribers’ data.

3. Licensing: Ask Netflix, or Amazon, or Starz how difficult it is to acquire the content it wants at a price it can afford. And according to the Journal, “Comcast would want to ensure that the price Apple has to pay to acquire rights wouldn’t cause the service to be priced higher than traditional pay-TV service.” Good luck convincing studios to take it easy on a tech company that has somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion in cash on hand.

Read more in the full article here.

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

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8 Comments

  1. what? comcast already has a streaming app on iOs and the xbox. along with uverse on xbox. time warner has one on roku and samsung TV’s

    apple is behind in this with no streaming cable TV apps

  2. 1. Comcast becomes the dumb pipe it should always have been. Good!

    2. So Apple shares the data. No big deal.

    3. JUST BUY DISNEY! Get ABC, ESPN, Pixar, Touchstone, and a host of other content properties. ESPN, by itself, then becomes a bargaining chip that Comcast and the other pay TV companies can’t survive without.

    1. Don’t forget Disney now comes with Marvel and Lucasfilm now too. They’re the Universal of the movie world (and Apple nearly bought Universal).

    2. Exactly, from a COMCAST perspective, the only property in that mix they’re really interested in is ESPN. That’s the money maker. They don’t want the other Disney channels. Disney forces them to take those, if they want ESPN. At least that’s the way it used to work.

      With COMCAST buying TW, things change.

      Disney paid more money than exists for ESPN and is paying more than that out in contracts with sports leagues. They need to get ESPN on the air as much as possible and COMCAST owning as much of the market as they will own shortly can bitch slap them anyway they want now.

      1. A controlling interest in Disney can be had for about $70B, or $140B, plus some premium for an outright sale. Apple has almost enough cash to pull off a sale, and probably could offer AAPL stock as part of the purchase price. Then again, if they’re interested in offloading ABC, or ESPN as a separate entity then that’s completely doable right now.

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