Apple in Negotiations With Content Providers for Internet-Based Subscription Television Service

Apple is involved in high-level negotiations with television content providers, including ESPN, HBO, and Viacom, to provide programming through 'apps' instead of channels, reports Quartz -- a relatively new business publication with a number of former Wall Street Journal reporters on staff.

It’s unclear how close these deals are to fruition. Some people cautioned that, with the TV industry in such flux, "everybody is talking with everybody." Any deal with an internet TV service like the one envisioned by Apple is likely to be under similar terms as the networks have negotiated with traditional cable companies.

Sources say Apple’s strategy could include forming its own pay TV service, essentially becoming a cable company itself, except with content delivered entirely over the internet. Intel, Sony, and Google are known to be pursuing similar tactics, and could launch their own pay TV services before Apple.

apple tv favorite tv shows
Quartz claims that Apple does want to release a much-rumored television set -- not just a set-top box like the current Apple TV 'hobby' -- to "usurp the role of the cable box" and "control the entire experience of watching TV".

The site also says cable companies have been seeking to prevent providers from signing deals with Apple, but Apple believes it does not need all content providers on board before releasing a TV set -- instead, it needs standout programming to distinguish the product and pioneer the concept of Internet-delivered video programming. The Apple TV boasted only a few content providers when it launched, but has since added a number of new content providers including ESPN, HBO, and Hulu.

A deal to offer standalone ESPN or HBO packages -- or perhaps NFL Sunday Ticket -- could "represent a tipping point" after which Apple would feel comfortable bringing the product to market. ESPN in particular has been open to the idea of streaming its live channels online as part of a standalone subscription service, something that some vocal consumers have been clamoring for -- though it's unclear how many cord-cutters would actually pay for such a service.

Previous reports have said that Apple wishes to 'erase the distinction' between live and on-demand television programming by allowing viewers to begin streaming a show minutes after it began airing live. Last month it was said that Apple was negotiating directly with cable companies and TV networks to allow customers to skip commercials, with Apple compensating for the lost ad revenue.

In his biography, Steve Jobs said he had "cracked" the redesign of television to make it seamless and easy to use, and some analysts have been claiming for years that Apple is working on a television set.

With multiple reports of Apple negotiating with both content providers like Sky News and ESPN and cable companies like Time Warner, the company appears to be examining multiple possible strategies for reinventing television.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tag: qz.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

mw360 Avatar
104 months ago
Any word on the Pope's religious leanings?
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tipp Avatar
104 months ago
People are pretty cheap (look at all the cable cutters who always pop up in these threads wanting something for nothing), so remains to be seen how well that'll work.

Nice insult when you clearly don't understand people's motivation here. Cable cutters (I am one) don't mind paying, they just don't want to pay upwards of $80-$100 per month for a ton of channels they have no interest in watching. HBO + ESPN + Comedy Central + 5 other random channels are not worth that much. There's also the issue of not wanting to support oligopolies made up of dinosaur companies who have no clue how or desire to innovate, and actually oppose it until they are forced to act (DVRs). The cable companies have effectively halted the process of innovation in the television industry. It's well past time for a serious disruption.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tilpots Avatar
104 months ago
The NFL would be the game changer. I just don't want to have to buy the whole TV to get it. If the AppleTV could do it, just fine with me.

And I'm one of those cable cutters who want "something for nothing." I'm fine with ads and I'm fine with subscribing, just don't make me do both.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FlatlinerG Avatar
104 months ago
Give me the ability to buy one channel at a time and I'll gladly pay a premium for it. I don't want to have to buy an entire package just for one channel. I want each channel to appear as a single app on my AppleTV interface and be able to be organized into folders at my convenience.

This is my dream AppleTV television experience.



some people are dumb and will a la carte themselves to high prices

time warner and comcast both offer cable + internet for $90. stand alone internet is $50. why would i spend close to $40 a month for a few channels when i could just buy the whole package and get the streaming with it as well

unless ESPN and others will start selling the streaming separate and it won't be part of the cable TV price
Because maybe I only want a few channels. And what's wrong with me "a la carte"ing myself a huge bill, at least I made that choice as a consumer. The current alternative is, "you want just that one channel? Well, it's only available if you subscribe to this package which includes 12 other channels you are going to hate and never watch. Oh, and before you can get that package you have to have our premium service/these other basic channels".

If I'm going to pay high prices or be ripped off, I want to make the choice to pay high prices and rip myself off.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
disagree Avatar
104 months ago
Comcast will just screw us all with internet cost.

It's nice in theory, but it'll end up costing more in practice.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TMay Avatar
104 months ago
makes sense to circumvent the cable providers and offer individual channels/shows as apps. People are pretty cheap (look at all the cable cutters who always pop up in these threads wanting something for nothing), so remains to be seen how well that'll work.

I'm a cable cutter and I will happily pay for quality programming. I don't watch television per se, but I do watch "Breaking Bad" via iTunes, and I would watch "Game of Thrones", "Boardwalk Empire", etc. and pay a subscription. Netflix and Amazon Prime are popular, but don't have much in the way of high end programming that is current.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...