It appears Apple will try to compete more directly with the cable industry after all. According to MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka, Apple is pitching the networks on a subscription TV service for iTunes that it hopes to roll out in 2010.
The supposed proposal to consumers: $30 per month, Kafka reports. But for what? Everything on iTunes? Network shows only? Only recent shows? Live? On-demand? HBO? Movies? Any live sports — or at least full games?
First steps: Getting cable and broadcast networks to sign on. Apple has given the project to iTunes boss Eddy Cue, Kafka reports.
One potential first partner could be Disney, which has worked deeply with Apple in the past — and where Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder. But Disney also has tight relationships with cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner, which pay Disney handsome revenues generated by cable subscription fees. The media giant may be reluctant to risk those relationships for iTunes, which would provide a relative trickle of income for the forseeable future — especially as the TV advertising market sputters.
But, as Kafka points out, “the move to deliver TV and movies over the Web is already well under way” — see Netflix, Amazon, Hulu’s attempts to create a pay wall, rampant piracy, etc. And so Apple’s subscription service would hardly be groundbreaking or as potentially poisonous as it may have seemed even a few years ago.
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