The TV Industry Says 'Apple Has Bit Off More Than It Can Chew'

Tim Cook looking worried or sadReuters/Stephen LamApple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple has lofty plans for Apple TV.

But according to a new report from Jessica Lessin and Amir Efrati of The Information, those plans aren’t going so well and Apple’s plans to revolutionise TV with a new set-top box have been stalled.

According to The Information’s report, there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on between Apple and the cable companies and content providers it’d need to partner with to enact its revolutionary vision for the future of TV.

Specifically, TV industry executives told The Information that “Apple has bit off more than it could chew” when it comes to licensing content to stream live or on demand.

The pay TV landscape is poised to consolidate considerably if and when Comcast closes its deal to buy Time Warner. This was a major source of concern for cable executives sourced in The Information’s report on Apple TV. Plus, the merger could’ve been what really killed Apple’s TV plans since it was rumoured to partner with Time Warner for its new TV, Bloomberg reported in February.

Companies like Comcast also fear that partnering with Apple could hurt them in the long term when customers begin associating Apple with TV delivery more than its cable partners.

On the other hand, a partnership with Apple could help cable companies hold onto revenue as more and more consumers “cut the cord” with providers in favour of just getting all their video over the internet.

But cable companies wouldn’t be the first to lose leverage after partnering with Apple.

Before iTunes, record companies largely controlled the distribution channels for your favourite music.

Then along came Apple’s flagship music service. Although record labels initially resisted Steve Jobs, they ultimately partnered up. Now Apple has complete leverage over the record industry.

That’s the risk cable companies take by bringing their content to Apple TV. And given how negotiations are going, they’re well aware of being rendered obsolete by the tech giant.

Given its size and influence in tech and media, Apple is used to getting what it wants from partnerships. But despite the company’s ambition to take over your TV, Apple is completely beholden to the cable companies if it wants Apple TV to be more than just a convenient way to get Netflix on your big screen.

And right now, there’s little incentive for the TV industry to give into Apple.

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