Apple’s Internet TV: How many TV networks will make the cut?

“What cable channels make the cut and are included in Apple’s expected Web TV service could take on more significance after the recent sell-off in media and entertainment stocks,” Reinhardt Krause reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “Apple, it’s widely reported, has been in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks. While Apple is said to be keen on including live broadcast networks NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, its plans for cable TV channels remain unknown.”

“UBS analyst Doug Mitchelson, in a research report Tuesday on Discovery, calls Apple’s Web TV launch a wild card for cable channels,” Krause reports. “‘Key for (Discovery) shares will be continuing ratings strength, investors gaining comfort with the pace of decline for the U.S. pay-TV bundle, whether Discovery will be included in any Apple TV OTT (over the top, or Web TV) offering (at reasonable economics), and the health of the TV ad market this fall,’ he said in the report.”

“The biggest media firms that own broadcast TV networks as well as popular cable channels, such as Disney’s ESPN sports channel, might be best-positioned to hammer out a deal with Apple. However, Apple’s talks with Comcast, owner of NBCU, reportedly hit a rough patch earlier this year,” Krause reports. “Apple is said to be mulling a Web TV service with about 25 channels, priced around $35 a month. The service had long been anticipated, but many observers don’t see it becoming a reality this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Internet TV service will have to have ESPN. It will also likely require the “Big Four” networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) – although it could launch with three out of four and eventually hammer out a deal with whichever one is being the most reticent.

What else would you consider to be must-haves?

Beyond the Big Four, if you go by ratings (total viewers), the top 20 cable networks are:

2. USA
3. TNT
4. Disney
5. TBS
6. History
7. Fox News
8. FX
9. Discovery
10. AMC
11. HGTV
12. Adult Swim
13. Nick at Nite
14. A&E
15. ABC Family
16. Lifetime
17. Syfy
18. Food
19. TLC
20. Bravo

Source: Nielsen estimates, full year 2014


    1. GOD BLESS FOX NEWS for telling the truth, the whole truth, so help them GOD! All my family and friends keep it on 24/7, just so we can help the ratings! We actually broke our remote, so we can’t change the channel!
      I’ll never understand why we even have other news stations. Who would ever want another opinion besides THE BLESSED FOLKS AT FOX?
      (God Bless you too, Fist! You sexy, sexy Man!) 😘

    2. Well, Fwhatever, that leaves a couple of hundred million people who do *not* watch Fox News. Besides, Fox News is designed specifically to capture a particular U.S. demographic. People who fall outside that demographic are split among the remaining news options. And the many people obtain their news from sources other than TV.

      It is also worth noting that truth is not defined by how many people happen to believe in a certain viewpoint. The vast majority of people used to believe that the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the Earth. They were wrong. The day that you realize that some of your viewpoints might be in error is the day that I see some hope for the future of this country.

    3. So many unfortunate, misinformed souls. The good thing is that their viewer base is steadily dying off as younger people wise up to how false and poisonous their rhetoric and shady “journalism” tactics really are.

  1. NCAA and professional football, basketball, and baseball are the monsters of sports in US – worth several billions of dollars. If Apple gives me access to these I would be content.

  2. That top 20 list is almost perfection except I’d replace Bravo with NatGeo. Does Starz offer direct subscriptions yet? Showtime began shortly after HBO but Starz is my favorite of the premium suites.

  3. Give us Fox and the first 9 from the list. Screw the rest and particularly anything Comcast/NBC. And with just rabbit ears anyone can receive broadcast channels in HD so just add a switch to the box. Problem solved, get it done.

  4. It shouldn’t be a matter of signing each individual network. Wouldn’t deals with Comcast, Disney, Fox, and Viacom take care of at least most of that list?

  5. I would pay NOT to have ESPN or any sports channel cluttering up my channel list. I once received a letter from my cable company congratulating me that I now can receive TWO golf channels. Thanks for nothing, I thought.

  6. I hope that these services will be independent of cable or satellite services as some of them require that you have an active TV subscription to get them. Many are trying to replace their overpriced cable or satellite service.

  7. Only one or two national networks, plus Iger’s Disney and ESPN, and the cord cutting would begin so fast that the others would lose enough audience to be forced to get on board. So they must be controlled by cable or colluding to freeze Apple out because if Apple was even half way there we wouldn’t still be waiting.

  8. Hi MDN, I’m curious about your source for Top 20 cable networks (charticle) rankings.

    Reason being, where I live the local cable company is the oldest in the world founded in 1948.

    Basic cable offers about 100 channels. From there you can upgrade to more channels for an additional monthly cost and several tier packages are available.

    And I’m not talking about premium tier channel packages like HBO, et al.

    I will use my favorite cable channel Turner Classic Movies as an example. My local cable provider charges an EXTRA premium tier package price with other channels included.

    On a lovely summer day I can drive five miles over the Blue Mountain into the next valley to visit a friend.

    A different local cable provider INCLUDES TCM in the basic package for less monthly cost, I might add.

    So, it seems possible the rankings compare apples to oranges and are unscientific at the end of the day.

    Certainly, this ratings issue pales in comparison to the continued stranglehold juggernaut of the content providers.

    Godspeed Apple cracks it one day as we have seen with other major market disruptions in Apple’s storied past …

  9. The media conglomerates are miscalculating if they believe the recent onslaught of viewers leaving their programming will eventually come back. People are discovering that they can get quality entertainment from inexpensive and easy to use services like Netflix, Red Bull TV, Bloomberg, Crackle, HBO, etc. The genie has left the bottle and it’s going to be very difficult to put it back in. Many are trying to diversify into Europe and other countries, but it’s too little and too late. These guys need to quickly embrace the change or fold like a house of cards.

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