Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are considering participating in Apple's future plan to offer subscriptions for television shows through iTunes, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. CBS would offer programs from its parent network as well as CW, while Disney would offer programs from its ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family networks.
Apple would pay the content providers $2 to $4 a month per subscriber for a broadcast network like CBS or ABC, and about $1 to $2 a month per subscriber for a basic-cable network, according to the WSJ.
The report also states that Apple has briefed companies on its forthcoming tablet device, which it calls a "multimedia gadget." The touchscreen device, larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop, is reportedly expected to arrive by the end of March 2010.
AppleInsider reported early in November that Apple had pitched a $30-a-month iTunes TV subscription plan to major networks in hope of gaining support for an "all-you-can-eat" subscription plan. At that point it was suggested that Disney would be the first to opt in. Disney was the first company to provide its programs over iTunes in 2005, and the company has close ties with Apple - CEO Steve Jobs is the company's largest single shareholder.
It is possible that Apple has changed its strategy somewhat due to push-back from some of the larger media companies. Many of the companies in question also have cable TV interests, meaning a potential deal with Apple could result in a decrease in traditional cable revenues. With Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal earlier this month, it would be unlikely that the company would be willing to participate in a deal, and would therefore weaken a potential "all-you-can-eat" subscription plan.