Hard-bargaining Apple misses out on TV product
New York, July 29 (IANS) While Apple attempted to manufacture a TV product and own a complete ecosystem — both hardware and software — in the past, owing to stringent conditions the US tech giant put on cable operators, the deals did not materialise, media reported on Friday.
“Apple approached all negotiations with cable network and content owners with little-to-no-wiggle room and they could not reach an agreement for that reason,” technology website 9to5mac reported, citing a report in the Wall Street Journal.
In early 2015, Apple tried to rope in Disney to become a partner in its streaming TV service.
According to the WSJ report, Disney refused when Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, asked Disney to “let Apple freeze the royalty rates it would pay them for several years”.
The report says Apple had similar failed conversations with 21st Century Fox and CBS.
“One of the reasons media companies are so hesitant is they are worried the terms set by Apple would be picked up by cable-TV distributors, cutting prices across the industry — not just for Apple,” the report noted.
“Apple appears to be set on a $30 per month streaming package. At one time, it would attract media organisations with higher fees than pay-TV but wanted only a subset of the channel offerings,” the report added.
Apple also had discussions with Time Warner Cable and Comcast about offering a joint TV service using an Apple-made set-top box.
The box would only be sold through cable companies but Apple wanted steep royalties of $10 per user per month.
“Apple asked to take control of authentication via Apple ID even though Comcast and Time Warner Cable would be responsible for billing and customer support,” the report added.
Moreover, it refused to tell the companies that what its set-top box would do. The user interface was never shown.
In late 2014, Apple wanted on-demand streaming of current and past seasons of popular shows and global rights so the service could launch worldwide. Apple wanted to sell the package for $30 a month.
However, Disney said that Apple determined Disney TV content was worth $13 a month and it asked Disney to pick networks.
“Content providers wanted Apple to charge more and include more content — this was not acceptable for Apple. Late in 2015, Apple had assembled some form of a service from Fox, Disney, Disney Channel and WatchEPSN, although final deals were not signed,” the report pointed out.