Just a week after HBO announced that Apple would be the exclusive digital launch partner for HBO NOW, the premium cable network’s new standalone service, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is planning a new web TV service of its own.
The service would presumably be targeted to cord-cutters who don’t want to pay for cable but still want to watch programs available from the broadcast networks. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has been in talks with Walt Disney Co. (owner of ABC), CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox, among other media companies, but notably not NBC Universal. The idea would be to offer consumers a TV bundle featuring core networks such as CBS, ESPN and FX, but without some of the smaller cable offerings. Without NBC Universal on board, the service would not include NBC, Bravo or USA Network, among others.
For years, Apple has been trying to create a subscription TV service over the internet. Citing unnamed media executives, The Wall Street Journal said Apple was aiming to price the service at about $30 to $40 a month and could announce the service as soon as June with plans to launch in September.
The new service would work across all devices powered by Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes. Though nothing has been finalized, Apple’s service is aiming to provide live streaming as well as a a cloud-based on-demand library in the hopes to set itself apart from Netflix, Hulu and other next-day streaming services. Without the programming, however, it will have a long uphill battle to compete against a powerhouse like Netflix. Netflix has managed to produce successful original programming, which Apple has never attempted. If content is indeed king, where does that leave Apple?
Also, younger viewers no longer value the core broadcast networks and are instead comfortable relying on Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services to get their favorite shows. And Apple will have a hard time licensing content since many media companies have already signed long-term deals with Netflix and Hulu.
Though Apple will face roadblocks in the way to pave this new service, consumers are certainly cheering the idea of an unbundled future when they can get the shows they want without having to pay for a pricey cable package.