Apple’s plan to destroy the fat cable bundle

“The cable bundle is misunderstood. While analysts and pundits focus on when the cable bundle will finally succumb to Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, the reality is the future of television will be built on the back of the video bundle,” Neil Cybart writes for Above Avalon. “Due to superior economics, video bundles are one of the best values in the media space and will remain the dominate way we receive premium video content. We are quickly approaching the point where Apple can capitalize on market dislocation to destroy the modern-day big cable bundle with a more lean bundle that is built to thrive in a mobile world. ”

“The cable bundle has been one of the best consumer deals in the modern era. By subsidizing the true cost of content, the bundle makes it possible for consumers to receive a vast amount of video content for an artificially low monthly price. The bundle works marvelously well as long as everyone pays into the system,” Cybart writes. “This has been the case for the last 20 years. Nielsen estimated there were 116 million homes in the U.S. with televisions, with approximately 100 million having some form of pay TV for the 2014-2015 TV season. ESPN is one of the most widely distributed cable networks, reaching 95 million homes. ESPN has a farther reach than Facebook, a testament of how much power the cable bundle represents.”

“The modern-day cable bundle is now vulnerable,” Cybart writes. “Apple’s strategy to destroy the large cable bundle would entail taking the best parts of the current bundle and creating an improved bundle. Essentially, Apple would be using a slimmer cable bundle to kill the large cable bundle. This may not seem too innovative, however it is one way of addressing the biggest issue people have with their large cable bundle: finding and watching content at a time of their choosing.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Bundles are forever. Hopefully, they’ll just get skinnier and smarter.

Apple’s Internet TV service will certainly have to offer 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.

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

Of course, Apple TV will also need to continue providing access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. for subscribers of those services.

5 major Apple TV leaks reveal radical overhaul – August 20, 2015
Apple’s next-gen Apple TV to cost $149? – August 19, 2015
Will Apple TV kill cable? – August 19, 2015
Apple’s Internet TV: How many TV networks will make the cut? – August 18, 2015
The next-gen Apple TV’s marquee feature – August 18, 2015
What September’s new iOS 9-based Apple TV is likely to deliver – August 17, 2015


      1. This is to be expected, due to demographics. Fox’s audience tends to be conservative and much higher percentage get their news from TV. CNN trends more progressive, and their audience depends much ire on Internet for news.

        Same as radio. Limbaugh and Beck are undisputed kings of talk radio since most of radio listeners are older, conservative folks. Progressives tend to prefer streaming and in general aren’t fans of talk radio as a concept.

  1. Give me the ability to stream Live News channels like BBC World News and subscribe BY CHANNEL or buy BY PROGRAM what we want. I am not interested in a skinny bundle or a fat bundle.

    As to ESPN, I watch a few College FB Games a year and a couple of bowls. Beyond that I have no interest in watching them fellate the SEC 24//7/365 on coverage and none for the NBA, MLB, NFL or whatever. A La Carte ESPN or none, please.

  2. There are at least fifty various sports channels in my Verizon fios bundle. As we know, ESPN and its sisters are far more expensive than Oxigen, natGeo and similar. I am heavily subsidizing all those who pay for the same bundle and actually watch all those sports channels.

    If I could eliminate all the sports content from my bundle, I’m sure Verizon would still make handsome profit on me even if they charged me one third of what I’m paying now.

  3. I tried cutting the cord in November, and lasted 9 months — just ordered DirecTV again. My biggest frustration was having to wait an extra day to watch stuff on Hulu, while all my friends were talking about a show. Hulu’s interface is a mess and doesn’t make sense — it added a bunch of shows to “Shows I Watch” that I’ve never seen, so it wasn’t easy to figure out where my shows were.

    Apple TV has many problems – and most of the network apps require cable credentials to view anything anyway. For me, ATV crashes out of streaming fairly often, and takes me back to the home screen, so I have to manually dig down and find the show I was watching — no easy jump back or resume watching. I also have to push the ATV remote button several times for it to register. Obviously the best scenario is watching On-Demand series on Netflix/Hulu/HBO/Showtime — I can just watch what I want to watch. But again, Apple TV has a long way to go. On the other hand, my Roku in the bedroom was flawless — I’ve never had a single crash and it’s MUCH faster than ATV (and I can plug my headphones into the remote for quiet viewing, which is amazing). Same networks as ATV, plus Amazon.

    But what I missed most was a great DVR, where I’m just viewing and sorting all the stuff I’ve actually recorded, as opposed to the constant screenful of everything available on Hulu/HBO/etc.

    I’ve been waiting a long time for Apple’s TV solution, but after my average ATV experience over the past year, I’m not sure if they can deliver (or if it will just be too late).

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