Apple Luring TV Content Partners With Promises of Data Sharing
Apple is having more luck getting content partners to participate in its upcoming streaming service by promising to share data with them, reports the New York Post. News of Apple's most recent streaming television plans surfaced yesterday, after The Wall Street Journal reported the company was in talks with programmers like CBS, Disney, and Fox for a service that may launch in June.
Apple has struggled to create a streaming service for several years, but has continually run into problems negotiating deals with cable companies and content providers who are reluctant to disrupt existing streams of revenue. According to the New York Post, Apple is planning to share details on who viewers are, what is watched, and when it is watched in order to tempt content providers to participate in the streaming service. Apple is also said to be allowing content providers to have a significant amount of control over the service, letting, for example, providers decide when to air ads.
By dangling the "data carrot," Apple is offering something that traditional cable companies, Amazon and Netflix have refused to hand over to programmers.
The tech giant is playing unusually nice in an attempt to catch up to rivals such as Sony and Dish's SlingTV, which are fast building similar slimmed-down channel packages without a cable TV subscription.
Apple once had very ambitious plans for a streaming television service, which it envisioned would offer channels a la carte, but ongoing problems reaching deals with providers have caused it to scale back on its ambitions. When establishing iTunes Radio, Apple made concessions on pricing in order to get deals signed, and it's likely the company is willing to make some sacrifices to get its television service off the ground.
Today's report should be read with caution, as handing over user data to third-party programmers is something of an unusual move for Apple. The company has gone to great lengths to assure customers that it collects limited data whenever possible. Tim Cook has, on multiple occasions, stated "You are not our product" when speaking on user privacy.
We believe customers have a right to privacy, and the vast majority of customers don't want people knowing everything about them. When you make a purchase, we make a little bit of money. It's very simple, very straightforward. You are not our product, that's our product.
Apple is said to be planning to unveil the streaming television service at WWDC, with a launch coming in the fall. Pricing has not yet been finalized, but the service, which will include approximately 25 channels, could cost between $30 and $40.
Deals are still in the works and have not been agreed upon, so launch timing of the service could shift in the future.