Apple has been talking to multichannel operators and
programmers about a new premium TV service that would let users skip ads but
would compensate programmers, according
to an exclusive account from former Wall
Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.
Details on how the service would work are skimpy. Lessin
describes it as a "premium" service which would indicate it might be
subscription based. That would fit in with Apple's general approach towards
video, which has avoided advertising based business models.
"Apple wants to strike deals with cable companies like Time
Warner Cable to allow cable subscribers to watch television using an Apple
device as a set-top box and with a software interface designed by Apple," Lessin
TV companies have been generally reluctant to embrace
efforts by Apple, Google and other tech giants to expand into the TV landscape
and it isn't clear if they would go along with the idea even if they were
compensated for skipped ads.
A premium TV service would also put Apple in direct
competition with Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon and others in an increasingly
competitive over-the-top landscape. Those services do not, however, offer
access to live TV.
Nor is it clear if consumers would be willing to pay for the
privilege of skipping ads, something they can already do on a TV with a DVR.
subscribers also have access to a great deal of ad-supported content for free
on demand. Increasingly, operators are offering live TV streams to consumers
via TV Everywhere services, as part of their pay-TV subscriptions.