Noted: Apple Inc.’s magical touch changed the music industry forever – so why not TV? The company behind the iPhone and iTunes is working on a plan to let consumers subscribe to only the TV channels they want, reports the Wall Street Journal in “Apple TV-Service Proposal Gets Some Nibbles.”
The newspaper, citing “people familiar with the matter,” said CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are considering Apple’s plan to offer TV subscriptions over the Internet for a monthly fee. Apple would pay the major networks like CBS and ABC about $2 to $4 a month per subscriber. Basic cable networks might get $1 to $2 per month. A “best of television” package could cost $30 a month. Apple reportedly hopes to introduce the service in 2010.
“If Apple signs up enough networks to launch a viable service — still a very big if — it could ultimately alter the economics of the television business. The service could undermine the big bundles of channels that cable, satellite and telecommunications companies, including Comcast Corp. and DirecTV Inc., have traditionally sold in packages to subscribers.”
It’s an interesting, but not unexpected move by a company that doesn’t offer TV service. Right now, Time Warner Cable customers are facing the possible loss of Fox TV shows as negotiations between the cable company and network hit a wall and the two began publicly bickering about money. Fox’s parent company, News Corp., wants the cable company to pay a fee to offer Fox to subscribers — reportedly up to $1 a month per customer. Cable companies didn’t previously pay a fee to offer customers the major TV networks, which are of course offered free over the air to consumers with a good TV antenna.
Pali Research analyst Richard Greenberg believes neither side will budge and come January 1, Time Warner customers in Orange County and Los Angeles will be among the throngs who won’t be able to tune into “American Idol,” “24″ and other popular Fox TV shows.
“While there is no way to forecast when FOX/TWC will come to an agreement, the only thing that is clear is that the current “battle royale” is going to get a lot uglier as the week progresses. We continue to believe there is a high likelihood that programming will get dropped/pulled as both sides are trying to make a point…,” Greenberg wrote in a blog update Monday.
Apple already sells TV shows and movies through its iTunes store. This would offer customers a subscription to a TV network.
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