Apple in Talks with Major Networks for 25 Channel Web TV Service This Fall: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal tonight has detailed what sources tell the publication are Apple’s web TV ambitions. According to unnamed ‘people familiar with the matter’, Apple is in talks with broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox to bring an online TV service, with roughly 25 channels to devices such as the Apple TV.

The Journal says the talks exclude NBC because Apple had a falling out with the latter’s parent company, Comcast. Sources say Apple suspected Comcast was “stringing it along” while the latter had secret plans to launch their own X1 cloud set-top-box.

Other media companies Apple is in talks with includes Walt Disney (no surprise), CBS, and FOX. The premise of Apple’s web TV service is to offer customers a “skinny” bundle with standard channels such as CBS, ESPN and FX, while smaller networks typically found in regular cable TV packages would be excluded.

Apple’s plan would be to target “cord cutters” that do not want to pay $90 or more for traditional cable TV packages.

As for the price? Some media executives claim Apple would target the $30-$40 per month price point, with an announcement pegged for June (WWDC?) and launch set for September:

Some media executives said they believed Apple was aiming to price the service at about $30 to $40 a month. The company is aiming to announce its new service in June and launch it in September, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would work across all devices powered by Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.

With Apple’s recent deal with HBO for the HBO NOW service (U.S. only), which offered Apple customers an initial exclusive to watch new content such as the premiere of Game of Thrones on iOS devices, that is what one source claims is an ‘appetizer’, part of the Cupertino company’s larger web TV ambitions, set to be served later in 2015.

As far back as August 2012, the Journal had reported Apple was in talks with U.S. cable companies to get into customer living rooms, but so far nothing has materialized.

Although these web TV plans by Apple sound so juicy, they most likely will debut in the U.S. only and not be offered to Canada at the start.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Curious to see what affect, if any, the continued movement of broadcast television to online services has on ISP data caps.

  • Shane

    This is a lock to be US only for at least the first year

    Still waiting on apple pay in Canada and iTunes radio!

  • MleB1

    Will probably mean SFA to Apple users in Canada, as usual broadcast licenses / agreements in effect cross-border. Limits the chance of any traditional US networks – or their cable offshoots – here.
    And even if that was the case, $30 – 40 too expensive for 25 of them, even if HBO was included – plus factor in the need for using your data from your plan and the caps involved. If Canadian consumers feeling generous, maybe they’d consider $15 / month (including HBO), but won’t entertain it if it only includes Canadian networks and their sorry mess of ripoff cable stations.

  • Salinger

    As others have said, definitely US only. Expect to see this in Canada…. NEVER.

  • PBT

    For Canadian, can’t we subscribe to it with a USA home address (friend/relative), then use VPN with USA IP address to stream the content?