While Apple collects 30% of any revenue from iOS apps, it reportedly only collects 15% of any revenue collected from Apple TV apps. While you won’t see any difference in the price you pay for HBO NOW, it does make the Apple TV an attractive platform for content providers such as HBO. Hulu, and Netflix.
But Apple didn’t extend its 30 percent policy to developers on its Apple TV platform. While Apple and its partners have never talked about it publicly, my understanding is that a handful of video services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and pro-baseball’s MLB.TV, give Apple 15 percent of their monthly fees for any subscriber who signs up on Apple TV.
So, if subscribers sign up for a service such as HBO NOW on an iOS device, Apple gets a 30% cut of the revenue, where it only wets its beak to the tune of 15% if they sign up via Apple TV. Re/code note that even if Apple’s share of video subscription products such as HBO NOW amounted to a full 30% cross the board, it still offers cable content providers a better deal than the 50% charged by pay TV companies such as Comcast and Cox.
The comparatively low rates charged by Apple makes the Apple TV platform quite attractive to cable channels considering an online streaming gambit such as HBO’s, putting more pressure on the cable companies to offer up better deals.
Re/code’s report mentions HBO is currently in negotiation with its existing pay TV partners to offer HBO NOW directly to their existing customers, and is said to already have a deal with Cablevision, and is in talks with Cox and Verizon. We’ll likely see more movement in the ranks following the expiration of the three-month exclusivity deal on the Apple TV.
It should be noted that most of the apps on Apple TV are either free, or available to people who have pay TV subscriptions, such as ESPN’s WatchESPN app.