Apple is preparing to launch an online TV service in a “seismic” move that is set to further shake up the already-rattled television landscape.
The technology giant has long had ambitions to break into TV and recently announced an exclusive deal with HBO, home of Game of Thrones. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is aiming to offer US consumers a package of 25 channels for $30-$40 a month. The service should be available by autumn.
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Content from broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney would be available across all Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.
The “skinny” bundle of well-known channels would be available for a fraction of the cost of most cable packages, which offer hundreds of channels but cost at least twice as much as the Apple service. According to the Journal, talks with Comcast, the US’s largest cable company, over a similar streaming service collapsed last year. Comcast owns NBC Universal, which owns Bravo, USA and Universal Studios, and its content will not be part of the new TV service.
One analyst familiar with the talks said the deal would create a “seismic” change in the TV industry. Speaking anonymously because of client relationships, he said the deal would hasten the end of cable companies being able to sell consumers huge packages of channels.
“Now you sign up for a TV bundle and you are paying for hundreds of channels that you probably never watch. Prices on offerings are going to come down. Also for smaller channels and networks there are going to be issues. It could be very challenging for them to get picked up for smaller bundles. Look at something like Discovery – they have 15 channels at the moment,” he said.
Apple officials declined to comment. The company may also face difficulties getting all the content it wants as rival streaming services Netflix and Hulu already have exclusive deals for some of the major channels’ top programmes.