“The on-again/off-again rumor mill about Apple’s TV efforts is spinning again,” Ben Thompson writes for Stratechery, “thanks to a new report in the Wall Street Journal that Apple Plans Web TV Service in Fall:”
The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said. For now, the talks don’t involve NBCUniversal, owner of the NBC broadcast network and cable channels like USA and Bravo, because of a falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast Corp., the people familiar with the matter said.
“I wrote extensively about the TV industry in a series of articles back in 2013,” Thompson writes, “but the most pertinent part to this discussion was my conclusion in The Cord-Cutting Fantasy:”
Cable TV is socialism that works; subscribers pay equally for everything, and watch only what they want, to the benefit of everyone. Any ‘grand vision’ Apple, or any other tech company, has for television is likely to sustain the current model, not disrupt it directly.
“That certainly seemed to be the plan for Apple; from what I understand, the Wall Street Journal’s characterization of Apple’s talks with Comcast is correct: Apple originally sought to work with Comcast much as they have worked with telecoms around the world – Apple would provide the user interface (the cable box) and Comcast the infrastructure and live content,” Thompson writes. “However, I can’t say I’m surprised those talks fell apart; to understand why a disagreement was probably inevitable, as well as why Apple’s Plan B looks the way it does,1 it’s useful to step back and consider the overall structure of the TV industry and how and why that structure is evolving with the advent of the Internet and mobile devices.”
There is much, much more in the full article – very highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s tough to imagine that Apple ever really believed that the likes of Comcast would let them own the user interface. What could Apple really offer the cable/satellite providers in return for such a major concession? It’s no surprise that Apple has g=finally moved on to “Plan B,” which actually can work and it will allow Apple to do what they always do: Collect the world’s most-coveted consumers and leave the dreck for the also-rans.
Do not underestimate the potential impact for Apple’s iAd. Advertisers want quality demographics and Apple will have the highest quality demographics available. Apple’s iAd could go from a relative afterthought to a major revenue generator.
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U.S. DOJ could force Comcast to offer NBCUniversal content for Apple’s Internet TV service – March 18, 2015
Apple looks to blow up the cable TV model – March 18, 2015