Discovery and Viacom reportedly in talks to join Apple's rumored online TV service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2015
Rumors surrounding Apple's purported subscription online television service are gathering steam, as a report on Tuesday claims Discovery and Viacom are in talks over partnership possibilities, joining other major content providers for what could be a disruptive product launch later this year.


Apple CEO Tim Cook announces new Apple TV pricing at this month's "Spring Forward" event.


Adding to reports that Apple is planning to make a splash in Web-based subscription television, The Wall Street Journal now claims Discovery and Viacom are also in talks to offer programming through a supposed over-the-top Internet service. Yesterday, the publication cited sources as saying Apple is discussing options with Disney, CBS and 21st Century Fox.

Netting one or both broadcasters would be a major step for Apple, as Discovery owns the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC, while Viacom controls MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Viacom was one of the providers rumored to be engaged in direct negotiations with Apple over a similar solution in 2013.

Apple has not commented on the matter, but informed sources were quoted as saying the service could run between $30 and $40 per month. With subscription fees, users would be able to view content on Apple TV set-top streamers and iOS devices.

Noticeably absent from the list of potential partners is NBCUniversal, which carries channels like USA and Bravo. Comcast, NBC's parent company, was reportedly considering a hardware solution with Apple, but discussions broke down last year, souring the relationship.

Whispers of Apple's over-the-top Web-based subscription service started years ago. Pundits view a potential Apple entry as a market disruptor to a deeply entrenched cable industry.

Last month, rumors of an online service that would sidestep cable companies resurfaced as Apple reportedly restarted talks with content owners.

Earlier today, a report claimed Apple is attempting to sweeten the pot by offering providers access to user data, including "who [the] viewers are, what they watch and when they watch it." If Apple decides to relinquish such information, it would represent a marked change in course from the company's usually solicitous data sharing policies.

According to the most recent rumblings, Apple could announce at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, with a fall launch date to follow.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60

    Honestly, Comcast and NBC are such sleazeballs that I'd prefer Apple be the one to bring them to their knees.

     

    Though if I'm honest I wouldn't watch any NBC programming anyway (Olympics are boring since baseball was eliminated).

  • Reply 2 of 60
    dacloodacloo Posts: 890member
    That's a lot of cash for a lot of shit content. I hope the subscription will be variable in the sense that you're only paying for the channels you choose. Then again the concept of 'channels' is old fashioned anyway.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    So maybe a modest basket of channels for a modest price. Maybe costlier than satellite?
  • Reply 4 of 60



    Discovery is great and probably inexpensive.

    Viacom has a lot of stuff.  Apple needs to carefully pick the content.

     

    Looking forward to AppleTV.

  • Reply 5 of 60
    hick9hick9 Posts: 3member
    People keep comenting online that it expensive for the amount of content or will cost more than cable/satellite. But first, we still have no idea what Programming will be on there yet. If say Discovery is on there that could encompass 5-10 channels on my current cable TV. yes it might not be a one solution fits all for everyone.. but if I watch 5 channels now and pay $100 and can watch the same channels with AppleTV for $30 then yes I am saving money. If it includes local channels then it even saves me putting up an antenna if I am even allowed to put one up depending on my living situation (Apt/HOA?). For some people it would allow them to spend the same amount overall but get a lot more programming for the same money. Example.. I watch NHL Hockey. cable now maybe lets me watch a few games here and there and not my favorite team often. If I can pay $30-$40 to watch what I am watching now..then I am able to subscribe to the NHL GameCenter LIVE on Apple TV I can get all the games, watch anytime on multiple devices. Even with that included it would more than likely be less than what my package is now. Another possibility is now a person can afford to buy a show on iTunes not even available to them on their currant cable/satellite like BBC content.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    hick9hick9 Posts: 3member

    People keep comenting online that it expensive for the amount of content or will cost more than cable/satellite. But first, we still have no idea what Programming will be on there yet. If say Discovery is on there that could encompass 5-10 channels on my current cable TV. yes it might not be a one solution fits all for everyone.. but if I watch 5 channels now and pay $100 and can watch the same channels with AppleTV for $30 then yes I am saving money. If it includes local channels then it even saves me putting up an antenna if I am even allowed to put one up depending on my living situation (Apt/HOA?). For some people it would allow them to spend the same amount overall but get a lot more programming for the same money. Example.. I watch NHL Hockey. cable now maybe lets me watch a few games here and there and not my favorite team often.  If I can pay $30-$40 to watch what I am watching now..then I am able to subscribe to the NHL GameCenter LIVE on Apple TV I can get all the games, watch anytime on multiple devices. Even with that included it would more than likely be less than what my package is now. Another possibility is now a person can afford to buy a show on iTunes not even available to them on their currant cable/satellite like BBC content.

  • Reply 7 of 60
    jwyattjwyatt Posts: 93member
    I could buy a nice car with the bill I have to pay for cable every month. I've already diluted the channels down to nearly the bare minimum plan but still have over 100 channels I never watch. Such a waste! I for one can't wait to cut the cord if I can get the 20 or so channels I actually watch for 50 or 60 bucks a month. I suppose local channels for news etc would come from over the air digital? Anyone have thoughts on how that might be resolved?
  • Reply 8 of 60
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Honestly, Comcast and NBC are such sleazeballs that I'd prefer Apple be the one to bring them to their knees.

    Though if I'm honest I wouldn't watch any NBC programming anyway (Olympics are boring since baseball was eliminated).

    If the rumor that Comcast was simply stringing Apple along in all their negotiations I hope that Tim Cook puts them through the ringer. Not at the detriment to Apple and their customers, mind you, as I don't think Tim Cook is a spiteful person — although I can see Steve Jobs putting a vendetta above everything else — but enough so they know that playing games with Apple isn't going to be a profitable endeavour.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    Of course Comcast is Outta There! Duh! Time Warner too!

    However I don't doubt that one or two cable companies will sell their service soon thru iTunes. It makes total sense in that the lame ass service calls to "install" their Motorola boxes at your home needs to end
  • Reply 10 of 60
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Off topic: Nice to see the new season of Community has aired on Yahoo! today. They are doing it differently than other web-based streaming shows by airing the shows every week instead of dumping them all at once. As much as I like the whole binge watching concept I wonder if it's better to have them spaced over each week.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    Honestly, Comcast and NBC are such sleazeballs that I'd prefer Apple be the one to bring them to their knees.

     

    Though if I'm honest I wouldn't watch any NBC programming anyway (Olympics are boring since baseball was eliminated).




    Unfortunately they need to stay on some what good terns with Comcast/NBC as their parent company is Universal-which not only has a huge stake in the film industry but also in the music industry, both of which Apple is heavily vested in.

  • Reply 12 of 60
    kent909kent909 Posts: 731member

    So here is the problem. Everyone will have a little different idea of what channels they want. This is why a package deal just does not make sense. I always envisioned content providers providing an app and setting there own pricing model. Some may do subscription and some may do pay per view. I think it would be perfect to offer shows for $1.99 at release and $1.00 after one week. Based on that I would have a TV bill that works for me.

    The HBO Now subscription makes me wonder. My first thought is to subscribe for a month and watch everything I want, then end that subscription and switch to Showtime the next month. That way you keep the cost down when there are several $15/mo choices. I prefer binge watching. 

  • Reply 13 of 60
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    kent909 wrote: »
    Everyone will have a little different idea of what channels they want. This is why a package deal just does not make sense.

    That's why packages do make sense.
  • Reply 14 of 60
    solipsismy wrote: »
    That's why packages do make sense.

    Especially if you get to pick and choose from different teirs. Something like... 4 teir 1, 2 teir 2 and 1 premium.
  • Reply 15 of 60
    You all need to turn off the box and read a book.
  • Reply 16 of 60
    steveausteveau Posts: 292member
    I watch most of my content, other than the news, by buying exactly what I want through A-TV. The upside is that I pay for exactly what I want. The downside is that I have to make an effort to look around to see what is available that I might like.

    What would improve my A-TV experience would be a free iTunes channel with news, reviews, trailers etc. on what is available or what might be reserved in movies, TV, music, apps, hardware, etc. (I guess Apple should contract this out to Disney or someone), a subscription news channel (I prefer BBC, but clearly the others should be available too), a subscription music channel and, if the kids were still small, a subscription children%u2019s channel. Plus, a pay to view service for specific teams in specific sports and the ability to pay for other games as I wish (a grand final perhaps, or if I have visitors who want to watch their team play). And finally instead of recommended movies being at the bottom of the iStore movies site and ditto for music, TV and books, I%u2019d like a %u201CJust4U%u201D site on the iStore that has, in one screen, all the content that Apple%u2019s algorithms have generated just for me, and with check boxes that allow me to say %u201Cseen %u2013 liked%u201D %u201Cseen %u2013 didn%u2019t like much%u201D, %u201Cperhaps later%u201D, %u201Cbuy now%u201D, etc. so that the recommendations become more accurate over time.

    As for forking out a fixed fee for fixed content over time, it%u2019s a legacy system that is really just a way to sell advertising space so that the consumer economy doesn%u2019t collapse. Why not just have a few free shopping channels instead and let the advertisers fill them with ad%u2019s, promo%u2019s infotainment, etc. If people want to watch, then they can.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    That's why packages do make sense.



    Where I live we have channel choice packages. They could bundle for  example:

     

    Base package with mandatory channels: $10

    A la carte price per channel : + $2 per channel

    5 channels of you're choice : + $7

    10 channels of you're choice : + $10

    20 channels of you're choice : + $15

    Special channels:

    HBO : $15

    ESPN : $10

    ...

  • Reply 18 of 60
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,227member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    LOLOLOLOLLLLLLLLLOOOOLO!!!

     

    No way $2 is enough for big channels like ESPN.

     

    TimeWarner pays $6 for ESPN.

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/12/time_warner_says_new_surcharge_result_of_dramatically_escalating_cost_of_cable_s.html

     

    It will cost much, much much more for an individual subscriber unless Apple can cut a great deal with ESPN/Disney




    Then ESPN could be a special channel like HBO that cannot be pick-up with a la carte bundles...  the way it works here is we have a list of channels we can choose a la carte. The list does not include special channels like premium movies or sports.

     

    Example of mandatory package:  Local feeds of  PBS, CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, CW, ...  ($10)

    Example of a la carte list:  CNN, FoxNews, Animal planet, Discovery, Disney, HGTV, Food, ... (a la carte bundles or $2 / channel)

    Example of premium channels with special prices:  HBO, ESPN, ... (special price)

     

    for some reason Quebec is the only province in Canada with that kind of TV packages

  • Reply 19 of 60
    Is the thought here that the apple TV price reduction is a precursor to a new device?
  • Reply 20 of 60
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,680member

    I totally agree!

     

    The whole concept of paying for a bundle of channels is of zero interest to me. If that's what I wanted, I'd just get cable. 

     

    Having said that, though.... we don't yet know exactly what they mean by "channels". I suppose that they could use the word "channels" because that's more familiar to people, but functionally those channels could be more app-like than traditional channel-like. 

     

    But if all they do is pipe existing cable channels over IP and through an AppleTV box rather than through the cable box, then I think this will be a lot closer to a ROKR than to an iPhone, and I'll wait until they figure out how to get it right. 

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kent909 View Post

     

    So here is the problem. Everyone will have a little different idea of what channels they want. This is why a package deal just does not make sense. I always envisioned content providers providing an app and setting there own pricing model. Some may do subscription and some may do pay per view. I think it would be perfect to offer shows for $1.99 at release and $1.00 after one week. Based on that I would have a TV bill that works for me.

    The HBO Now subscription makes me wonder. My first thought is to subscribe for a month and watch everything I want, then end that subscription and switch to Showtime the next month. That way you keep the cost down when there are several $15/mo choices. I prefer binge watching. 


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