Apple considering selling 'premium' TV bundle with HBO, Starz & Showtime - report

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
Taking an alternate approach to entering pay TV, Apple is reportedly proposing a bundle of three "premium" channels -- namely HBO, Showtime, and Starz.




Although no deal is yet in place Apple has approached the networks about the idea, Recode said on Sunday. The company has so far been stymied trying to launching a streaming TV service, allegedly because of hardline demands that most if not all content providers were unwilling to accept -- even long-time partner Disney.

Recode suggested that Apple could deliver a bundle as platform exclusive, available via iOS and the Apple TV.

HBO, Showtime, and Starz all sell subscriptions through their apps, at costs of $14.99, $10.99, and $8.99, respectively. Presumably a bundle would come at a discount, but no word on pricing has emerged.

Such a deal could upset other TV providers, which typically only offer bundles of basic channels, making premium ones a high-cost extra. Even internet-only platforms like Sony's PlayStation Vue have adopted this model.

At the same time the digital TV market is rapidly evolving, and the value of luring in cord-cutters could outweigh any risk in alienating providers. Indeed networks may have long since crossed that threshold by offering standalone internet plans.

An Apple bundle could theoretically be announced alongside a fifth-generation Apple TV, rumored for launch later this year with minor upgrades like 4K support.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 150member
    How about the Discovery Suite of channels?
    schlackcyberzombie
  • Reply 2 of 37
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 999member
    Hope, Apple can come up with trend setter, disruptive streaming offering. Unless customers can select/add single channels from the traditional TV bundles, Apple's premium service  may not be much different than the rest of the streaming services.
    tallest skiltrashman69calijbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 37
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 471member
    We were pretty early "cord-cutters." We got rid of cable 10 or more years ago. Got rid of the phone company too. (Vonage, then Ooma, now just cell)   Early on we just bought DVDs and then got Netflix and Amazon Prime, and sometimes things like Drama Fever.  Lots of foreign shows on Youtube (we watch Korean, Japanese, and Russian shows mostly).  I don't know about most people, but I'll be kind of surprised if these "channel" bundles are really what people want.

    I would like to watch Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen but I don't really want the Food Network.  There's something I want to watch on the History channel but I don't care about the rest.  I'd like to just pick what I want to watch and watch that.  I don't care about any channels. Shouldn't the best experience be just watching what you want? Why should I care about a channel?  
    pscooter63lolliverMetriacanthosaurusadm1
  • Reply 4 of 37
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,409member
    So the price for those three is equvelant to 3/4 of my cable price which includes those and many other channels. I assume the streaming options give you back catalogues as well as other advantages such as the option to wire content wherever / whenever, and I also realize that streaming is the future, but pricing is a real issue. One of the reasons for cutting the chord was to get away from, 'bundling', but it looks like bunbling is here to stay. I hope Apple will be successful and get the ball rolling. 
  • Reply 5 of 37
    There is a limited number of movies/shows that you can watch in a month.  The most cost effective way is to rotate between the services.  I.e. HBO then Showtime, Stars, HBO, etc.

    It will cost you a bit over $10 / month...

    Apple should set up this rotation for you.  I would piss off the Studios, but who cares.  They are getting paid for their content.

    That's a way Apple can add value and differentiate.
    Fatmanschlackstantheman
  • Reply 6 of 37
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 1,684member
    There is a limited number of movies/shows that you can watch in a month.  The most cost effective way is to rotate between the services.  I.e. HBO then Showtime, Stars, HBO, etc.

    It will cost you a bit over $10 / month...

    Apple should set up this rotation for you.  I would piss off the Studios, but who cares.  They are getting paid for their content.

    That's a way Apple can add value and differentiate.

    The problem is that the studios don't want Apple to have the same sort of control they have in the music market. If that happens then it becomes much harder for them to raise prices in the future.  I don't think they will agree to any deal with Apple unless they set up a few more deals with Apple's competition first. Once this happens then Apple is on the back foot in negotiations.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    steveausteveau Posts: 100member
    williamh said:
    We were pretty early "cord-cutters." We got rid of cable 10 or more years ago. Got rid of the phone company too. (Vonage, then Ooma, now just cell)   Early on we just bought DVDs and then got Netflix and Amazon Prime, and sometimes things like Drama Fever.  Lots of foreign shows on Youtube (we watch Korean, Japanese, and Russian shows mostly).  I don't know about most people, but I'll be kind of surprised if these "channel" bundles are really what people want.

    I would like to watch Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen but I don't really want the Food Network.  There's something I want to watch on the History channel but I don't care about the rest.  I'd like to just pick what I want to watch and watch that.  I don't care about any channels. Shouldn't the best experience be just watching what you want? Why should I care about a channel?  
    There is also Mubi, which has an excellent curated collection of art house movies.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    FatmanFatman Posts: 93member
    The industry needs a complete overhaul, the streaming options available now are essentially recreating the old cable 'big bundles' all over again - yet to reproduce everything my old cable package gave me using streaming+ala carte content, I'd end up paying more. I particularly don't understand why all the over-the-air, FREE WITH ANTENAE networks are not included in the DirectTV Now and PSVue services.
    supadav03cali
  • Reply 9 of 37
    irelandireland Posts: 16,530member
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    edited April 3 schlack
  • Reply 10 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,920member
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    Wouldn't you rather Apple deliver something unique and disruptive rather than buying some service, slapping Apple's name on it and calling it day? 
    Metriacanthosaurusbrucemccali
  • Reply 11 of 37
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 1,582member
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    mike1cali
  • Reply 12 of 37
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 471member
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    Not Netflix but I was able to watch the super bowl live for free on my Roku. It can be done if content owners want to do it. 
  • Reply 13 of 37
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 117member
    Apple doesn't understand…

    Jobs could be "hard line" with the music industry in the early 2000s because Napster (file sharing) had them on their knees. But, the content providers have the upper hand in this situation. They are not the ones in need and are not going to compromise their bottom line. Can't be "hard line" when you're not the one controlling the deal.

    Also, Eddy Cue is an idiot (which doesn't help):

    "In 2013, Cue reportedly showed up 10 minutes late to a meeting with the CEOs of Time Warner Cable and Time Warner Inc. in a Hawaiian shirt and in tennis shoes with no socks, while everyone else was in a suit — a Jobs-ian move if there ever was one. Apple asked for full on-demand seasons of popular shows and approval for a cloud DVR that would let users skip commercials on first-run episodes, which wouldn't please advertisers in the least."
  • Reply 14 of 37
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,187member
    williamh said:
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    Not Netflix but I was able to watch the super bowl live for free on my Roku. It can be done if content owners want to do it. 
    One game does not live sports make.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 471member
    mike1 said:
    williamh said:
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    Not Netflix but I was able to watch the super bowl live for free on my Roku. It can be done if content owners want to do it. 
    One game does not live sports make.

    Sure, but handling the largest US sporting event just fine proves that they can stream live sports a la carte if the content owners care to do it.  I don't generally watch sports, but can't we already get MLB and NHL as live streaming channels? 
  • Reply 16 of 37
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    They don't, because a lot of people don't care about that shit.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 17 of 37
    bdkennedybdkennedy Posts: 415member
    Not interested. I've bought every single Apple TV that has come out only to be burned by what was promised and didn't deliver. Shitty games. Learn from Nintendo.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    schlackschlack Posts: 593member
    An interesting idea. But could they offer it at a compelling price? I think $20/month is the max I'd pay on top of Amazon/Netflix. Don't see this replacing Amazon/Netflix.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    schlackschlack Posts: 593member
    gatorguy said:
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    Wouldn't you rather Apple deliver something unique and disruptive rather than buying some service, slapping Apple's name on it and calling it day? 
    That's probably their long game. This will get them some early customers and experience and credibility selling video streaming. They can start to augment these three with an Apple channel over time and to a captive audience without much risk.
  • Reply 20 of 37
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,518member
    ireland said:
    And meanwhile many others will continue to cut the cord and pay $10 per month for Netflix. Apple doesn't need to offer everything but they need to offer some kind of streaming service, and soon. It's the price that people find attractive about NF. And their original content keeps growing. Is it possible for Apple to acquire HBO?
    How does one watch live news and sports on Netflix?
    There are lots of Apple TV apps for news. I consume local news OTA, but understand many don't have that option because of their geography. (As an aside, I've noticed recently that local news shows only cursorily cover national and international events. Not sure exactly why, but it seems to have changed recently. And when they do cover a national event, it is always "local spin" e.g. "oh look, a woman from Everett was involved in a security breach at the white house." Because otherwise, no one cares about a yet another mess in DC.)

    Live sports on ATV is really an unknown. MLB and NHL have their season passes (as does the NBA, I think.) It seems like there are a scattering of other esoteric sports (olympic, seasonal, soccer) on other channels, but ESPN is bleeding customers. I'd be curious what the sweet spot price of alacarte games would be? I'd pay $.99 for a game day pass to a single NFL game. YMMV.


    edited April 3
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