In the News / Social Media

What can Apple bring to the subscription TV party?

There have been no formal announcements, but rumour and speculation is already turning into believable fact around Apple’s entry into the subscription television market.

Although Apple TV hardware has been around for a few years, it has lost out in part to the likes of Google’s cheaper Chromecast offering and other similar products in recent months.  This has not been helped by the fact that there have been no new ‘generations’ or updates to Apple TV as we know it in over two years.

An interview with CBS Chief Executive, Les Moonves at the Code conference has sparked another round of rumours.  The channel boss let slip that he met with Apple Director Eddy Cue last week as part of an “ongoing conversation.”  Moonves said only that CBS would “probably” be partnering with Apple on its TV service and that the sticking point was financial.

In March this year, The Wall Street Journal  reported that Apple was looking to create a service with around 25 channels and planned on launching the service in June.

The service, claimed to cost between $30 to $40 per month and be available across iPad, iPhone and on Apple’s existing TV hardware.  Other rumours about the subscription service, some circulating since 2009, suggest a cloud-based DVR. local live news and channels to include CBS, 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company.

The package may come with more than a financial cost to the consumer, however.  The New York Post has suggested that Apple plans to share viewer data which will help programmers target advertising to Apple TV consumers.

Whether Apple TV will be able to launch, somewhat late, to a market already dominated by Sky and Cable channels, as well as online services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime is yet to be seen. One notable absence is the premium sports offering that is considered the hook for high-cost bundle packages from the likes of Sky.  But I’m sure Apple has already thought of that.  What it might not have expected was the breakdown in talks with Comcast – owners of NBC – who are reported to be working on their own ‘set-top’ product.

I joined Julie McDonald on the Arise Business show to discuss this, and reports that Yahoo is facing a class action following allegations of privacy infringements.

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