Apple is pushing forward with plans to launch a streaming television service by December, but is making little headway in negotiations with content providers. Reports are saying that while Apple still has ambitions to be big in TV, the media companies aren’t quite ready to play along.
Post reporter Claire Atkinson:
For months, Apple’s point man, Eddie Cue, has been leading talks with content providers, which have largely balked at the tech giant’s efforts to exert control over all aspects of the video service, including pricing, sources said.
Apple’s negotiating stance can be summed up as “we decide the price, we decide what content,” according to one source familiar with the talks.
“They want everything for nothing,” said another media executive, echoing similar tense negotiations Apple has had in the past with magazine publishers and music companies.
Apple wants to offer channels as apps for its devices, including its Apple TV. The channels could be offered on an individual basis, or bundled together like a cable subscription.
Apple’s iTunes already offers users the ability to rent and download TV shows, but the company would like to add a streaming option. Several television networks already offer apps that allow users to watch shows.
Apple attempted to create a similar offering in 2009, but content providers blanched at the idea of Apple sharing ad revenue with them, instead of paying a distribution fee like Netflix, and other distributors currently do.
Apple has also tried to work a deal with cable providers, they wanted the providers to dump their clunky set-top boxes in favor of sleek Apple produced devices.
“They want to create the interface, and they wanted to work with the cable guys to manage bandwidth across the TV and broadband pipeline,” said one source familiar with the talks.
Cable executives balked at the idea, preferring to keep Apple away from sharing in the $150 billion pay-TV pot of gold, as they themselves work on getting into the streaming video arena.
Apple is still trying though, as they are said to be pursuing deals with telecom companies, such as Verizon and AT&T. If it can get a deal with one major player, it’s hoped the other companies would then fall in line.