Apple Said to Share Viewer Data with Web-TV Programming Partners


In an effort to lure programming partners to its cable-like Web-TV service, Apple is playing very nice and willing to go the extra mile: it is allegedly offering to share details about its viewers, their habits, and other valuable information, reports the New York Post.

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All the above info could help programmers target shows to both viewers and advertisers. According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is taking “a more hands-off approach” with its possible partners, letting them decide whether they want to air ads.

“They’re allowing a lot more decision-making by the content owner,” said one source familiar with the talks, adding that Apple has told potential partners, “It’s up to you, whatever you guys want to do.”
By dangling the “data carrot,” Apple is offering something that traditional cable companies, Amazon and Netflix have refused to hand over to programmers.

Apple has opened talks with CBS, Disney, and Discovery Communications, and it is ready to “write the checks” to get them on board as it prepares its web-based service for this fall. Pricing is rumoured at around $20, according to one source, while programming fees — currently ironed out — are said to be on par with what cable operators pay on a monthly per-subscriber basis.

The New York Post report also mentions that Comcast-owned NBC Universal is not part of the discussions since Comcast went after Time Warner Cable. You may recall that earlier reports mentioned that Apple was in talks with TWC; the talks broke down when Comcast acquired TWC and Apple realized that it couldn’t reach a deal with them.

Apple is rumoured to officially unveil the TV service at WWDC, with the launch scheduled for the fall. Pricing is yet unknown, but the service is said to include roughly 25 channels.


  • kkritsilas

    Sounds a little speculative at this point. According to this Apple is “allegedly” going to be handing over viewer data to the content providers, and on the other hand, Apple is on record as being extremely concerned about privacy for iPhone users. Something doesn’t jive.


  • Al

    There are a few points that seem odd. I can accept one odd statement, but when I hear several, I tend to disbelieve the entire article.

    Apple doesn’t have info that would be of value. Broadcasters would want to know more specific Neilson-type info, such as age, number of people in a household, income, location… all the sort of stuff that is collected from paid ratings sources. Apple can get some of that, but not all of it / all of the time.

    If Apple is charging for the service, why would they allow commercials by the broadcasters? It wouldn’t be a competativie scenario with Netflix or Hulu. At 25 stations, it would just be an extremely pathetic type of cable service. And with no means to PVR, it’s just wierd. So clearly we don’t have nearly enough accurate information yet.

    “…help programmers target shows to both viewers and advertisers”. What? They’re networks. They broadcast what their REAL ratings sources show are popular. This makes no sense.

    Why would Apple “write checks” up front and why is that focused on. Granted they “may” have that as part of their agreements, but it’s the contracts that everyone would be most interested in signing, for long term gain. An initial gift of cash would be less relevant. And with the potential for commercials, and on-going royalties of sorts, this just seems a bit odd.