Apple-Comcast TV deal? Don’t hold your breath

“The mere prospect that Apple and Comcast could be joining forces for a new joint TV service, as the Wall Street Journal first reported Sunday, has revived a fresh round of hyperventilation–particularly in the stock market where shares of Netflix and Apple reacted sharply the morning after,” Andrew Wallenstein writes for Variety.

“But grab brown bags and start breathing into them, folks. Because while this deal isn’t impossible, it is improbable,” Wallenstein writes. “The issue here isn’t the veracity of the WSJ report; there’s no reason to question whether Apple and Comcast are actually talking. Apple has been in talks with media companies constantly since its breakthrough deal in 2005 that first put Disney movies and TV shows on iTunes. But what has happened since then? Lots of talk, little action.”

“The 2014 edition of Apple’s TV dream has a very au courant vibe to it: The new twist is that Comcast will reserve a special ‘managed services’ lane of the so-called ‘last mile’ of its broadband network to ensure that the video stream comes into U.S. homes without interruption. Coming just weeks after Comcast struck a somewhat similar deal to protect Netflix’s own content, give Apple points for putting a fresh spin on yet another TV proposition that feels very of-the-moment,” Wallenstein writes. “But haven’t we been down this road too many times before not to suspect a dead end again?”

Read more in the full article here.

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Something smells fishy about that Comcast–Apple TV story – March 24, 2014
The ‘Apple television’ is the magical unicorn of consumer tech – March 24, 2014
Apple has built a team cable industry insiders – March 24, 2014
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Apple in talks with Comcast about streaming-TV service; companies discussing deal to bypass web congestion – March 24, 2014


  1. I want Apple to do to the cable industry what it did for the music industry, but sadly I don’t think it will ever happen especially when a monopoly like Comcast owns NBC, etc.

  2. Sometimes I feel this stuff is made just for the sake of putting something out there with Apple in it. This is by far scrapping the bottom of the barrel as far as rumors go. Must be a slow news day.

  3. here’s my suggested revenue model to make content providers happy and Apple successful:

    Sell Network (channel) subscriptions via in-app purchases through iTunes or a special iTV store within iTunes.
    All content for that network can be subscribed to on a monthly or yearly basis, automatically renewed unless stopped, OR, a specific season or series of episodes of a popular show (sports season, etc.) on a network can be subscribed instead. All content can be watched on demand, by any person or family member with the subscriber’s Apple ID sign-in, to accommodate family members with differing free time schedules.

    Here’s the sweet spot:

    Apple takes its percentage for selling the apps and in app purchases PLUS 2 free commercials for Apple products, etc. at the start and near the end of each episode. The content provider still gets to sell its regular advertising and include all commercials for sponsors just as on free or cable TV, but without options for viewers to skip or fast-forward through them. So, they get all their regular revenue PLUS their cut of the subscription purchase within the Apple TV/iDevice app sold through iTunes. Apple could TRY to negotiate a small percentage of the show, episode or channels own regular ad revenues too, but that’s less likely to happen.

    Consumers get to subscribe to content they want and not have to pay for packaged bundles of channels they don’t want or watch as in current cable TV packages.

    Cutting the cord will NOT prevent networks from dealing with cable companies to continue carrying their content for those who want regular cable subscriptions. It’s not, at this stage, “either or” but “both.”

    It’s called “having your cake and eating it.”

    EVERYBODY WINS: Apple, consumers, cable TV companies, ad agencies and content providers all win.

    Eventually, the marketplace will determine if most people want to watch on demand what they subscribe to a la carte, or continue to pay for cable bundles and DVR or on demand services that way.

    AppleTV hardware should be modified to include Thunderbolt or USB 3 or faster (or both) connectors to enable adding an external hard drive that with an Apple DVR app can catch those who want to record FROM THEIR CABLE TV bundles via AppleTV apps supplied by the cable companies for their subscribers.

    THAT’s how to make this work.

    1. Some good ideas in there but people don’t want random commercials with no relevance. The only way to go is to link the viewer with ads that are important to them. Digital streaming will allow for either ‘pay as you go’ by subscription or micro-payments or targeted ads. The choice of payment is up to the viewer. By choosing lifestyle preferences, the viewer wins, the advertiser wins and Apple wins. Content is KING and delivery is in the control of the viewer rather than some arbitrary schedule.

      News is often the supposed anchor of the TV industry and contrary to popular belief, news doesn’t only happen at 6 o’clock. News is a 24 hour phenomena and can be allowed to interject itself into a corner of the screen as a badge. News can be aggregated into ‘shows’ also as it is today or viewed as it happens. The show that was interjected by the news can be resumed after the news item. News, like any content can be payed for with targeted ads or micro-payments or subscription.

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