Greedy media companies stymie Apple’s plan to offer Apple TV Internet TV package

“Apple Inc. has suspended plans to offer a live Internet-based television service and is instead focusing on being a platform for media companies to sell directly to customers through its App Store, according to a person with knowledge of the matter,” Adam Satariano and Lucas Shaw report for Bloomberg.

“While Apple isn’t giving up entirely on releasing a live-TV service, its plan to sell a package of 14 or so channels for $30 to $40 a month has run into resistance from media companies that want more money for their programming, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing a prospective product,” Satariano and Shaw report. “CBS Corp. Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves said at a conference earlier Tuesday that Apple had put its live TV plans ‘on hold.'”

“The struggle highlights the difficulty new entrants face in trying to persuade media companies to overhaul the conventional pay-TV bundle, which costs about $85 a month. To break the logjam, Apple would either have to charge more, or the media companies would have to accept less,” Satariano and Shaw report. “Moonves, speaking at the Business Insider Ignition conference, said he expects Apple to eventually offer a bundle of channels. ‘This will happen,’ Moonves said. ‘It has four major networks and 10 cable networks, let’s say, and the price point will be in the $30s, $30 to $35, $40 maybe. People will not be spending money on channels they don’t want to watch.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV’s plans to take HDMI 1 will have to wait.

So, eventually, when/if it ever happens, 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.

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:

1. ESPN
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

SEE ALSO:
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

28 Comments

  1. All though I have a different set of cable channels I would want. I think your list pretty much covers it. I could do without AdultSwim and Nick at Night, but instead would like to see BBC America and Comedy Central.

  2. Tim Cook lacks the finesse, intelligence and sophistication that Jobs possessed. Qualities that ultimately allowed him to acheive lucrative agreements for both Apple and its partners.

    No one wants to speak on this, but Cook is being perceived as an incompetent because he clearly can’t do anything right.

    Why would you make a deal with someone who brought the world the Apple Watch, Apple Music, a hobbled Macbook, or a watered down and useless Mac Pro.

    He has ZERO credibility. Enjoy your “pro-less” iPad Pro Mr. Cook.

    😎

    1. PBS is like the big four in that they are with local owned stations actually broadcasting, not just on cable or satellite. The same is true for CW. It is a different game. I always laugh at the hate I see with PBS I see here sometimes. In the 70’s PBS was the experiments for show that latter become cable networks. They proved what niche markets people were actually willing to spend money on.

      What that list doesn’t show is who owns what. ESPN, Disney, ABC, ABC Family and a lot more are all owned by Disney. I know people say I don’t want to pay for channels I don’t watch. If you just want ESPN and Adult Swim. Adult Swim is Cartoon Network ( I find it interesting that it listed separately). Disney sees you as a potential audience for their animated networks so they want you to get those too if you get ESPN. Network bundles are not for you, you are the product. Network bundles or for the advertisers. It’s like a BOGO for eyeballs. Cable companies have to pay for the hardware, and upkeep. So there will be a bottom price no matter what. The more people go internet only on their cable plans the higher those prices will go.

      The days after 9/11 networks that were affiliated with a news organization showed their news ( MTV and CC had CBS news, even NSMBC showed NBC news). Networks that did not ( Home Shopping ) had a disclaimer about being off the air because of the attacks. It was interesting to see how many disclaimers were identical except for the name of the network. I went through all the stations and found about 10 different things being shown. NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, CNN, PBS, BBC, and 2 or 3 disclaimers. It really hit home how few real media companies there are.

  3. The media companies will discover that you can’t stave off disruption from the combination of technical advancement and consumer demand, just as the cellular OEM’s and networks learned the lesson. The hard way.

  4. The thing is, with Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and others offering original internet content, you’re already talking a fairly significant amount of money before you add in whatever traditional content you want to watch. With so many providers the only way to really reduce the cost is to not have access to certain things. Even if you go a la carte and have a few “channels” you’re not going to want to watch everything on them so ultimately you’re still paying for stuff you don’t use. Buying individual shows gets expensive fast and spotify/apple music like streaming isn’t going to happen because the music industry is hardly ecstatic about how that’s going so TV/Film companies don’t seem likely to hop on board.

  5. It seems difficult to believe that the US actually watch Fox News but when I think of it, they actually are barely in the top twenty nations in the world when it comes to educational standards.

  6. I had cable stupid package with hundred of channels. Most sucked and the bill was too high anyway. I’m happy now with streaming Netflix, Hulu and some. Still, If Apple was able to secure this program I would have jumped on it. Specially if one can actually pick which 14 channels they want. That would be cool.

  7. With todays social networking like Facebook, etc someone needs to start something like Occupy Flash movement and get everyone to call in on the same day and cancel their cable connections and send a message to Comcast, Dish and the networks like CBS, NBC, etc.

    1. b9bot, Why do you suppose that is? If you were a content creator and already had multiple channels of distribution, and a new middle man came to you and proposed that you undercut your profitability in order to support their locked-down distribution channel that does absolutely nothing to improve your visibility or consumer intelligence/marketing, then what would you do?

      Without any exclusive content or superior functionality, the Apple TV is a big fail.

      Apple has no tech leap forward here. Video streaming will always be limited by the network infrastructure, which sucks in most of the world. Media creators and pipeline owners will always have the leverage over middle men like Apple.

      This is why the Apple TV is not a must-have device. It’s just a different interface that offers the same content as any other set-top box, smart tv, or connected blu-ray player. You don’t save money by buying the Apple TV, and the prices per movie rental aren’t anything to write home about either.

      I truly wonder why anyone would be excited about the Apple TV.
      – Blu Ray still offers the best possible video quality
      – Playstation still offers the best gaming (and also plays BluRays),
      – Netflix or your library or RedBox still offer the cheapest and widest movie selections,
      – OTA broadcast still offers free local channels,
      – any internet device offers YouTube for free (in 4K!),
      – any old Mac or PC buys iTunes stuff or your personal media collection, and
      – cable still has the monopoly on live TV and sports, as well as the cheapest total cost when they are also your ISP

      So in the end, Apple TV is one box that attempts to do several things, none of them cost effectively or easier than just sticking with the boxes and antennas that we all have plugged into our TVs already.

      “But it’s so cheap and I love the interface !!!”, the die-hard Apple fan will say. To which I respond, “Have you actually used a Roku?” The Roku 4 does everything an Apple TV does, plus a lot more, and it costs less. The Roku interface is also far better for those of us who have properly dimmed media rooms. Seriously, I just don’t get why anyone would buy an Apple TV when it doesn’t have any exclusives at all.

      So go ahead and down vote me for not worshipping Apple here…

  8. Apple is doing the right thing with tvOS and providing a solid platform with AppleTV. F**k the media companies and their greed. Hopefully, more and more content providers/aggregators will provide apps on AppleTV, and then the market will decide what’s worth it. Right now, unbundled is just as, if not more, expensive than cable, and cable companies are capitulating. I negotiated $50 off of my monthly cable bill, which also includes high speed Internet, and managed to keep HBO/Cinemax and Showtime, and of course all my local stations and sports in HD for $100 month. Right now, unbundled, HBO (without Cinemax) and Showtime apps are $15.99/month each, which is too expensive. Add in Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, and $50-60/month for Internet, and you’re way over a $100/month, and you don’t have live sports. Another poster mentioned an antenna for local stations, and Netflix, but he still has to pay for high-speed Internet, so ok, $60/month for plenty of entertainment. But, what about Game of Thrones, Homeland, and other compelling shows? Buy those off of iTunes, and now you’re right back to $100-plus a month.

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