For years it has been speculated that Apple wanted to get into the television viewing business. But in the last few years, the word television has changed its definition. Watching content, whether on cable TV or through Netflix, whether on a big screen set or on a mobile device, all seems to fall under the umbrella of television viewing. Rumors that Apple wanted to build big screen sets or a cable friendly set top box have all been bandied about. The latest news might just be the direction Apple has decided to take.
The Wall Street Journal says that "The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a
slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people
familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels,
anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox and would be available
on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said." Like Sling TV and Playstation Network, announced at the CES, and other aggregators, Apple hopes that its Apple TV device, recently reduced in price from $99 to $69 is the means to drive adoption. Under the Apple ecosystem, subscribers of the service would be able to view content on any of its devices, from iPod to iPhone, from iPad to Apple TV. Truly a TV Everywhere approach!
Interestingly, the one content provider not included at the moment is NBCUniversal, home of the NBC broadcast channel, Bravo, Syfy, USA, CNBC, and others. Also NBCU is owned by Comcast, the largest cable operator, soon to be larger with the acquisition of Time Warner Cable. While the new service is not planned to launch till later in the year, so too is the approval of the cable operator merger with the FCC. Could this issue add an extra wrinkle to the approval process? We must wait and see.
For consumers seeking a cheaper alternative with a smaller set of channels but access to content anywhere and everywhere, and additive premium content from Netflix and HBO Now, this new subscription service could be highly welcomed by the millennial audience. Ideally this online audience would prefer to pick and choose the nets it wants within the package. The concern over time will be as more nets do deals to be on the subscription service causing Apple to need to raise its monthly fees. That is one of the issues that led to cable cord cutting. That, and the inability to watch content away from home. With this new online subscription service, TV Everywhere becomes a true reality.