Apple, TV networks clash over size and makeup of Internet TV bundle

“Yes, Apple has walked away from the negotiating table with the TV guys, which means you won’t be getting a subscription TV service from Apple anytime soon,” Peter Kafka reports for Re/code. “And yes, there’s a dispute between Apple and the TV guys about how much Apple should pay the TV guys.”

“But there’s a conflict about money in any negotiation,” Kafka reports. “Apple’s beef with the TV Industrial Complex is a bit more nuanced. It’s also a significant one: If Apple gets its way, TV will undergo a significant change, just like the music business did when Apple launched its iTunes store in 2003.”

“If Apple gets its way, it means the traditional pay TV package, which averages around 100 channels, will get shrunk by nearly 80 percent,” Kafka reports. “And while TV executives will say they understand that consumers don’t want to pay for channels they don’t watch, all of them will argue that their channels are must-haves. That means 21st Century Fox, for instance, is reluctant to sell Fox and Fox News without bundling in its FX channels or its new Fox Sports 1 network. The same goes for Disney (ABC, ESPN, Disney, etc.) and NBCUniversal (NBC, Bravo, USA, SyFy, etc.) and on down the line.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just continue cutting the cord and buying Apple TVs and soon enough the balance of power will tip Apple’s way.

Once again, 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. That said, having already missed the launch of the new Apple TV, Apple might as well wait until they have a full dance card.

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

Apple debuts new Apple TV ad, ‘The Future of Television’ – December 9, 2015
Greedy media companies stymie Apple’s plan to offer Apple TV Internet TV package – December 9, 2015
CBS CEO Moonves says Apple puts live TV service ‘on hold’ – December 8, 2015
Fox’s James Murdoch, CBS’s Les Moonves hint at looming Apple Web TV service launch – November 5, 2015
CBS CEO Moonves says Apple TV content deal is likely – October 14, 2015
CBS CEO: We’re still in negotiations with Apple over new Internet TV service – May 27, 2015

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


  1. If Tim Cook knew how to take charge, he would introduce iTunes movies and TV shows streaming like Netflix for about $10 a month and get a deal with CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and BBC for streaming news. To the TV channel news and shows executives he should say thank you. That is complete TV and not the list of 20 channels you mention. Every TV show is available from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, etc and who cares. You do this and TV bosses will come running for a deal. But when you do nothing, you are not even in the game.

    1. Tim Cook only understands high-margin models. He will never, ever be able to compete with Netflix. He is trying to get enough content to sell you a $50+/month package and it looks like he may not get there.

      1. … Resulting in media customers looking elsewhere (hint: Illegal streaming and downloads) for the content they demand and the dimwit Media Oligarchy refuses to provide.

        Give the customer what they want. Or expect the customer to get what they want WITHOUT you.

        1. Actually, I have Apple TV and my number one app of choice is YouTube. I watch more YouTube content than anything else.
          Little by little if independent apps and channels appear, there will be no need for the main ones. This is how I see things panning out.

          There was a time when IBM thought they owned the PC business, then all the little “compatibles” (like Dell) showed up. Eventually the little guy became the big guy.

          There is too much incentive for like Indie companies to produce content, create an Indie channel and slowly become popular because they would be the only game in town since the big media companies excluded themselves from the competition.

          Internet TV will win. Those who don’t play are destined to lose. This is why I believe Apple would leave the table. If they don’t get what they want, maybe they can find it elsewhere

  2. I’ve always thought Apple shouldn’t humor these folks . Walk away and let the folks who want in come in . There is a huge opportunity in a new paradigm. Apps and the Internet of the big screen. Everything about old tv needs to die.

  3. Antiquated
    Old Fogey
    Media Oligarchy

    Suffer for your foolishness. The 21st century is here and the next generation of leadership can’t wait to boot you into the management grave.

    Meanwhile, we-the-suffering-customers will continue to boot cable and satellite TV out of our lives in favor of the Internet. You snooze, you lose, dum-dum media oligarchy.

    Treat the customer with disrespect, expect retribution. In actual, successful capitalism: The Customer is Collaborator, and nothing less. Parasites are not welcome.

    1. 🔮 ~ ~ I’m having a prophetic vision! ~ ~ 🔮

      The more progressive [not in the political sense] media companies will jump off the sinking media oligarchy ship and provide customer-friendly streaming apps that run on Apple TV.

      🐣 ~ ~ It has already begun. ~ ~ 🐣

      1. Seems legit for sure. Another avenue would be said companies banding together under one app, which exists currently [Hulu]. It could stand to gain a few more networks, and tiered pricing.

  4. I haven’t subscribed to any cable or satellite service in well over a decade, because they won’t just sell me what i want. I have no need for or interest in a dozen shopping channels, sports channels, or any of the other shit that clutters up the menus.


  5. I rarely watch TV any more and I consume far more video content on YouTube and news stories than anything else.
    I think Apple has to think more broadly than any one package. Apple has the power to wait out the media conglomerates. People are watching more video content than ever, but traditional TV companies are dying.

    Personally no channel is indispensable to me. I don’t care if ESPN makes the cut, I’m more interested in 49ers football and Giants baseball than any other sports programming besides occassional events like the olympics.

  6. Dear content industry,

    I don’t care for channels, bundles, and subscriptions.

    I want specific shows and movies. Unaltered, with an original language track.

    I’m willing to pay. Downloadable via iTunes is my delivery system of choice.

    You’re up. Try to win me as customer. So far, you always manage to do something to piss me off.

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