Apple's plan to kill cable has been put on hold, says CEO of CBS

Les moonves cbsMichael Seto/Business InsiderCBS CEO Les Moonves at Business Insider Ignition 2015

Les Moonves, CEO of the CBS Corporation, says that the company was in talks with Apple to be included in its still-forthcoming cable-killing TV subscription service — but that Apple has placed development of that service on hold.

“They have had conversations on it and I think they pressed the hold button,” Moonves said on stage Tuesday at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York City.

The Apple TV subscription service, which has been rumoured for a long time now, would reportedly let customers build their own bundle of cable channels, allowing users stream live television directly to an Apple TV streaming box.

Today, Moonves said that Apple and CBS were close to settling on a price point of between $30 and $40 per month for these bundles — Moonves specifically mentioned the price point of $35 multiple times — before Apple decided to pause and reconsider.

Still, Moonves is confident that the time for this kind of service has come, whether it comes from Apple or someone else.

“This will happen,” he said. “People will not be spending money on channels they don’t want to watch.”

Rewind back to May, when Moonves said that CBS would “probably” sign on with Apple for the service, but that money was a big sticking point.

Apple is also reportedly looking to take a 30% cut of subscription fees, the same way it takes a cut of App Store revenues. Complicating matters further, too, is Apple’s reported plan to include content from local broadcast channels via licensing deals with local network affiliates, which require navigating through additional negotiations.

Meanwhile, Moonves doesn’t seem too concerned about the shift towards digital TV, or too much else.

“As long as we can continue to create or acquire great content, we’ll be fine,” Moonves said.

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