Apple has not approached Comcast about Web television deal

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2015
Amid rumors of an Apple branded streaming television service, Comcast asserts it has not engaged in any discussions with the company about licensing NBCUniversal content to air alongside programs from potential partners ABC, CBS, Fox and more.




In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission regarding its interest in acquiring Time Warner Cable, Comcast said it has not been approached by Apple to discuss bringing NBCUniversal content to the supposed over-the-top service, reports Re/code.

"Not only has NBCUniversal not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request," Comcast attorney Francis Buono wrote in a letter to the Commission.

Buono's letter is a response to a court filing by Stop Mega Comcast, a coalition opposed to the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

A note from Stop Mega Comcast submitted on Wednesday claimed, "Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal ('NBCU') content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors." Specifically it cited a recent Wall Street Journal story, which mentioned that Apple wasn't speaking with NBCUniversal because of a "falling-out" with Comcast.

The upcoming TV service could include channels from parties such as ABC/Disney, CBS, Fox, Discovery, and Viacom. It's expected to cost between $30 and $40 per month, and provide a "skinny" bundle of channels, excluding some of the more niche offerings frequently inserted into cable and satellite packages.

Viewers should be able to watch using either an Apple TV or an iOS device. Apple is notably believed to be working on a redesigned Apple TV that the service might launch in tandem with sometime this fall. The new set-top may be shown off earlier at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and include features like Siri, an App Store, and more local storage.

Unusually, Apple may be able to force NBCUniversal to particpate in a TV deal. To secure federal approval for their 2011 merger, Comcast and NBCUniversal agreed that the latter would have to license content to an online distributor if the distributor managed deals with NBCUniversal's competitors.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,933member

    Apple is only looking for those companies they feel will be happy to join them in a new venture. NBCUniversal doesn't fit that requirement because of it's owned by Comcast, the new Ma-Bell. As for Comcast sucking up Time Warner, why is the FCC even thinking about allowing them to do that. Put those two together and who's left? Talk about an obvious monopoly. Put the top two cable suppliers together servicing 33 million households and you it has a 40% share of current cable or internet subscribers. Just because it isn't at 90% doesn't mean it isn't a monopoly. What's to stop them from buying up the rest? Certainly not the weeny FCC.

  • Reply 2 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    Apple is only looking for those companies they feel will be happy to join them in a new venture. NBCUniversal doesn't fit that requirement because of it's owned by Comcast, the new Ma-Bell. As for Comcast sucking up Time Warner, why is the FCC even thinking about allowing them to do that. Put those two together and who's left? Talk about an obvious monopoly. Put the top two cable suppliers together servicing 33 million households and you it has a 40% share of current cable or internet subscribers. Just because it isn't at 90% doesn't mean it isn't a monopoly. What's to stop them from buying up the rest? Certainly not the weeny FCC.




    I agree.  Remember Hulu dropping iTunes TV Shows and them coming back.

    Comcast is probably just try get the TWC deal so they screw everybody afterwards.

    Comcast probably sent clear signals that NBC would not do a streaming deal.

    Apple should just leave them the hell alone and avoid future problems.

  • Reply 3 of 19
    In don't know why everyone is crying to mommy and daddy, aka the government, to force companies to do what they want. If people actually had the balls to just not buy cable and vote with their wallets things might happen a little quicker. But that will never happen because we need to have our boob tubes. I don't know when everyone turned into entitled pricks. The FCC just slows progress down with their countless regulations anyway.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,918member

    I seriously don't miss any of NBC Universal channels below. Are you?

  • Reply 5 of 19
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    I seriously don't miss any of NBC Universal channels below. Are you?

    Yes, but I'll be fine.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    More specs! Because I've been conditioned to reflexively judge all technology value in terms of specs!
  • Reply 7 of 19
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    I seriously don't miss any of NBC Universal channels below. Are you


     

    No but that's because I have no plans to sign up with Apple's rumored new service. So far I don't see how it's better than what I have.

  • Reply 8 of 19
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    More specs! Because I've been conditioned to reflexively judge all technology value in terms of specs!

     

    So content is considered a 'spec'? 

  • Reply 9 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,311member
    Actually there was a rumor that Apple and TWC was doing a deal where Apple would allow streaming of TWC content. TWC supposedly has streaming licenses and Apple TV would have been the delivery hardware and TWC would have sold subscription with anyone who had a cable connections. Comcast stepped in to buy TWC from doing a deal with Apple.

    Comcast has no interest in any of their customers streaming video content on their Internet connections. They already have an issue where the majority of their customers are basic cable subscribers very few up buy, and if the ones who actually spend money leave and stream only they are screwed.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    kent909kent909 Posts: 694member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post

     

    I seriously don't miss any of NBC Universal channels below. Are you?


    All that, and the only thing I watch is Sunday Night Football. Yep, won't miss it at all. 

  • Reply 11 of 19
    kent909kent909 Posts: 694member

    I am starting to think that the longer this transition goes on the greater the greater the chance that people will just start to watch less TV. I know that I already have stopped checking out new fall programs on the networks, knowing that if they are actually any good I will be able to stream entire seasons on Netflix eventually. I am more and more becoming a binge watcher.  Gone are the days of standing around and discussing last nights episode with coworkers or friends. Could be very soon, HBO, Showtime and Netflix will be all I care about, regardless of what Apple or anyone else does.

  • Reply 12 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,719member
    kent909 wrote: »
    I am starting to think that the longer this transition goes on the greater the greater the chance that people will just start to watch less TV. I know that I already have stopped checking out new fall programs on the networks, knowing that if they are actually any good I will be able to stream entire seasons on Netflix eventually. I am more and more becoming a binge watcher.  Gone are the days of standing around and discussing last nights episode with coworkers or friends. Could be very soon, HBO, Showtime and Netflix will be all I care about, regardless of what Apple or anyone else does.

    Once we dropped cable and went purely Netflix we watch more shows than ever. That said, it only takes a fraction of the time without ads and we have more time free. It's been a win win for us.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,719member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    I seriously don't miss any of NBC Universal channels below. Are you?

    I can never keep up but are any of the NBC shows on Netflix? I think CSI is but I could be wrong. Back in the day we used cable I used to like Chris Mathews, CSI and JAG ... that's about it I think.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    rogifan wrote: »
    So content is considered a 'spec'? 

    You missed his joke.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    In don't know why everyone is crying to mommy and daddy, aka the government, to force companies to do what they want. If people actually had the balls to just not buy cable and vote with their wallets things might happen a little quicker. But that will never happen because we need to have our boob tubes. I don't know when everyone turned into entitled pricks. The FCC just slows progress down with their countless regulations anyway.

    And I don't know when Americans turned into apologists for monopolists.
    If you don't get that Internet connectivity is just as much a necessity as water and sewage and needs to be regulated thusly, then I weep for your sycophancy.
    Comcast to be broken up NOW and split into a dumb pipe and whatever content the want to play in. At least that would have competition.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    plovellplovell Posts: 784member

    Actually I wouldn't be so sure.

     

    Comcast is so big, so sprawling and so screwed up that one part can believe that there has been no contact while another part already has a signed deal.

  • Reply 17 of 19
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,888member
    I can never keep up but are any of the NBC shows on Netflix? I think CSI is but I could be wrong. Back in the day we used cable I used to like Chris Mathews, CSI and JAG ... that's about it I think.

    CSI and all those are on CBS, or as some say the old people network. I cut the cord acc few years ago. I had enough of the high bill every month. I don't miss it. I'm sure not going to start paying Apple a bunch of money every month for TV service.

    Remember this is all based on rumours anyway.
  • Reply 18 of 19

    Nobody is crying at all. And yes, legislation is indeed what was needed to keep Comcast from initiating measures to keep competition cost-prohibitive.

     

    I'd say this is probably half payback for trying to kill off Apple TV and it's partner's products, and half because Comcast & Apple have already been down this road before, and couldn't reach a settlement then. As the rumors go, while other cable companies like Cox, CableVision, Charter, and Cable One were excited about the prospect of Apple TV replacing their set top boxes (or STBs as they're called) for the financial benefits, Comcast and Time Warner Cable were both not happy with the idea that iTunes Radio could render things like Music Choice obsolete, and worst of all Apple's anti-porn stance with their products. Cable companies still make tons of money with adult films, and the prospect of losing On-Demand PPV movies for both regular as well as adult films did not set well with them. It's said that they either wanted porn on the Apple TV, or they wanted the iTunes store removed entirely. Neither of which was going to happen.

     

    Comcast/NBC Universal lost out a long time ago their opportunity to evolve, but worse yet tried to stand in the way of other capitalists and are going to pay a heavy price for it.

  • Reply 19 of 19
    rob53 wrote: »
    Apple is only looking for those companies they feel will be happy to join them in a new venture. NBCUniversal doesn't fit that requirement because of it's owned by Comcast, the new Ma-Bell. As for Comcast sucking up Time Warner, why is the FCC even thinking about allowing them to do that. Put those two together and who's left? Talk about an obvious monopoly. Put the top two cable suppliers together servicing 33 million households and you it has a 40% share of current cable or internet subscribers. Just because it isn't at 90% doesn't mean it isn't a monopoly. What's to stop them from buying up the rest? Certainly not the weeny FCC.
    From a previous life, I can tell you that Comcast always listens, but never does a deal where they don't have total control. Talking to them is a waste of time.
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