CBS CEO: Apple's 'Pressed the Hold Button' on Streaming TV Service [Update: Bloomberg Confirms]

Speaking today at the Business Insider Ignition Conference in New York City, CBS CEO Les Moonves made some statements suggesting Apple may have put the development of its rumored television streaming service on hold.

"They've had conversations on it and I think they pressed the hold button," Moonves said, referencing prior talks CBS has had with Apple about joining its subscription service. Apple and CBS were reportedly negotiating prices before Apple paused the discussions.

Today, Moonves said that Apple and CBS were close to settling on a price point of between $30 and $40 per month for these bundles -- Moonves specifically mentioned the price point of $35 multiple times -- before Apple decided to pause and reconsider.

Apple's streaming television service was originally rumored to be launching alongside the new Apple TV, but Apple has had ongoing trouble establishing deals with content providers. Difficulty securing content deals has delayed and shifted Apple's television plans for years, but in 2015, it looked like a things were coming together for a subscription service.

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In May, Moonves, who has been very open with his comments on CBS' negotiations with Apple, said Apple and CBS were still in talks and that CBS would "probably" ink a deal with the Cupertino company. At the time, he had recently met with Eddy Cue and said he was "very excited" about Apple's service. In October, he made similar statements, suggesting discussions between the two companies had not progressed further towards a deal.

Rumors have suggested Apple is aiming for a web-based streaming service that would bundle approximately 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month. Earlier this year, Apple was said to be in discussions with several content providers in addition to CBS, including ABC, Fox, Disney, Viacom, and Discovery.

Given Moonves' comments and the general lack of recent rumors, it is not clear when Apple will launch its streaming television service. An August report from Bloomberg suggested negotiation troubles had delayed its release until 2016, but there's been no word on Apple's plans beyond that. There are a lot of factors involved in the launch of the streaming service, as Apple needs to secure deals with dozens of content providers, including local affiliates.

Moonves believes Apple's streaming television service, or something like it, will launch in the near future. "This will happen," he told Business Insider. "People will not be spending money on channels they don't want to watch."

Update: Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg has confirmed that Apple has suspended its plans to offer a web-based streaming television service and will instead focus on "being a platform for media companies to sell directly to customers through its App Store."

Apple is not "giving up entirely" on a TV service, but it has not been able to secure deals that would allow it to sell a package of channels for $30 to $40 per month as media companies want more money for content.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 14
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
63 months ago
Screw a live TV service. I want iTunes to become a Netflix competitor. #AppleTakeMyMoney
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
I think the tough part is that since everything is bundled, cord cutters still pay 75% of their prior monthly cost for "just internet" now. It's not a bargain because cableco is gonna get you anyhow.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
Meanwhile, Netflix is changing TV right before our eyes. 32 original shows for 2016. They seem to get it.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
Why doesn't Apple just do their own video hosting platform, kind of like a not sucky YouTube, and cut these guys off at the knees? We saw the consequences of Apple providing a platform for developers to deliver apps, why not videos?? They've got Capture (Phones) and Editing, why not Delivery and Monetization?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
I want a list of items with toggles on them, similar to how we toggle mail, contacts, calendars in our mail settings. One for each channel that offers streaming, and each one that i toggle is between 4.99 and 9.99/month.

CBS [x] 4.99
NBC [x] 4.99
CNN [x] 4.99
Live MLB with no local blackout BS [x] 9.99
Live NFL with no local blackout BS [x] 9.99
Fox [x] 6.66

...

list of 100 channels my cable provider offers me but I never watch because their crap [ ] 9.99


This would make me a happy panda
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
63 months ago
Maybe Apple is starting to realize that it sucks at online services. Apple should give up on their streaming ambitions (both TV, Music, etc.) and just focus on developing quality stock apps and let the third party developers work their magic.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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