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.

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