Apple’s plan to roll out a TV subscription service has reportedly been pushed back, yet again. According to Bloomberg, Apple is still planning to roll out a revamped Apple TV this fall but will wait until 2016 at the earliest before announcing its intriguing and long-rumored TV subscription service.
Though Apple was naturally hoping to announce a new TV service alongside its next-gen Apple TV, contract negotiations with content providers have reportedly been thornier and more complex than Apple initially anticipated. Not only is Apple still trying to secure content deals, but pricing negotiations have also proven to be a sticking point. And so with many question marks still looming, Apple has astutely decided to be patient as opposed to rolling out its planned TV service prematurely.
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“Talks to license programming from TV networks such as those owned by CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. are progressing slowly,” Bloomberg added. “Apple also doesn’t have the computer network capacity in place to ensure a good viewing experience, said some of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.”
Having the requisite computer network capacity in place is a point which should not be overlooked. Indeed, one can only hope that Apple spares no expense in ensuring a seamless viewing experience. While consumers may tolerate a few network hiccups when streaming music or browsing the web, subscribers forking over, say, $40 a month for a TV subscription service will expect top-notch video quality with minimal lag and stutter.
Speaking to the challenges involved, the report adds:
In addition to securing content, Apple has encountered problems creating a computer network that will ensure a fast, glitch-free viewing experience throughout the U.S. Such a network requires storing popular shows close to viewers, so each time a customer in New York for example wants to see local baseball game or the evening news, the shows don’t have to be streamed all the way from one of Apple’s four data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon.
From a content perspective, it will be interesting to see what programming ultimately winds up in an Apple TV subscription service. Previous reports have indicated that Apple is hoping to offer a lightweight selection of about 25 channels in the $30-$40 price range. Some of the channels that Apple already has on board reportedly include ESPN, FX, Disney, and of course, content from major networks like ABC, CBS, and Fox. A Wall Street Journal report from this past March noted that Apple was having particular trouble negotiating content deals with Comcast’s NBCUniversal, a brand which owns cable channels like USA, E!, and Bravo.
In the meantime, it appears that Apple’s 2015 will be mostly a hardware affair, with new iPhones, iPads, and a new Apple TV playing starring roles. If Apple manages to get its TV service up and running by early 2016, there’s still no guarantee it will be a runaway success. With Netflix offering top-notch entertainment (sans live sports programming of course) for less than $10/month, even a $40/month price point might seem a bit much in comparison. That said, Apple might have a surprise or two up its sleeve. To wit, recent comments made by Jimmy Iovine suggest that Apple might be interested in applying the same curation strategy it uses with Apple Music to TV programming.