Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox

“Google Inc. reached an agreement with CBS Corp. to carry the broadcast network on its soon-to-be-launched web TV service, people familiar with the matter said,” Joe Flint and Shalini Ramachandran report for The Wall Street Journal. “The deal made CBS the first major TV network to sign on to the new TV service, which will be housed on Google’s YouTube platform and is likely to premiere in early 2017.”

“Google also is near an accord to distribute channels owned by 21st Century Fox and is in advanced talks with Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Co., the people familiar with the matter said,” Flint and Ramachandran report. “The new service, dubbed Unplugged, aims to be a low-cost option targeting consumers who either have resisted subscribing to traditional pay-TV or cut the cord due to rising subscription costs. Google is looking to offer a ‘skinny’ bundle of live TV channels with a price in the range of $25 to $40 a month, according to media executives who have heard the pitch.”

“Apple Inc. has explored putting together its own discounted online TV bundle, but ran into issues securing media rights on the terms it wanted,” Flint and Ramachandran report. “Beside CBS, other channels from CBS that will be part of the YouTube offering include Pop and CBS Sports Network. 21st Century Fox channels under discussion include Fox Broadcasting, Fox News, FX, Fox Sports and National Geographic Channel, the people familiar with the matter say, while Disney-owned channels that could be part of the service include ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel and Freeform.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, at least somebody is capable of getting ink.

It’s quite possible that without Steve Jobs’ help, Eddy Cue couldn’t get ink in a stationery store. Just kidding (sort of)! But, boy this is taking eons to accomplish, isn’t it? — MacDailyNews, November 5, 2015

As we wrote last December: “It’s 2015. This should’ve happened already. At this rate, America will back on the moon before Eddy Cue gets the contracts inked. So, before we’re dead, m’kay?”

Apple’s Internet TV service, if it ever happens, would 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, at this late date, 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 primetime ratings (total viewers), the top 20 U.S. cable networks are:

2. Fox News Channel
2. USA
3. TBS
4. Disney
5. Discovery Channel
6. History Channel
7. TNT
9. Nickelodeon
10. AMC
11. Adult Swim
12. FX
13. Cartoon Network
14. Food Channel
15. Lifetime
16. ABC Family
17. Syfy
18. TLC
19. Hallmark
20. Investigation Discovery

Source: Nielsen estimates, Live plus-3 for 12/29/14 – 12/16/15 (M-Su 8-11 p.m.)

Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “buzzy” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s probable that the reason Apple couldn’t close the deal was because all the media companies wanted all the data collected to be given to them and Apple wouldn’t go that far. Nothing to do with cost, Eddie or any other deficiency. Alphabet on the other hand…

    1. This is a problem Apple is increasingly facing and fact is for all its rightful moral stance on the matter, too few are equally concerned to not put them at an increasingly important disadvantage. This I something they just have to solve and soon or they won’t be able to compete in many areas from Siri to web and card services.

  2. If this happens it will be one big embarrassment for Apple. Sadly the days when others were desperate to be part of Apple led strategies seems long gone. Indeed should this take off then it will be more than embarrassment, it will lead to the return of the Apple demise clock in many quarters as others are seen to be able to take Apple’s ideas and do better at getting them over the line, the ultimate in humiliation. Some re invigoration is sorely needed, let’s hope there is at least some sign of that at the Mac event, though not holding my breath.

  3. The concept of “a ‘skinny’ bundle of live TV channels with a price in the range of $25 to $40 a month” is going to go over like a lead balloon. After the FAIL of these disparate for-charge services, we’re going to see a shakeup in the industry. It’s going to be very interesting to watch. The old guard of the media oligarchy are going to be reaching for their nitroglycerin pills.

    IOW: Stormy seas ahead.

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