Apple in TV streaming talks with Hollywood: report

Apple in TV streaming talks with Hollywood: report

Summary: Apple is reportedly in talks with Hollywood studios in a bid to secure contracts that would allow the company to bring exclusive content to its TV streaming users.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple has been in talks with three Hollywood studios to bring television content to its compatible streaming devices, reports Reuters.

The report, which cites two sources with knowledge of the talks, could be the strongest signal yet the technology giant is preparing an upcoming release of a fully-fledged television set.

Apple is believed to be negotiating with EPIX, a television channel owned by Lions Gate Entertainment, MGM and Paramount Pictures to bring a broader range of television and film content to its Apple TV set-top box users.

But rumours have circulated for months that Apple will at some point in the future announce a dedicated television with its iTunes and Apple TV pre-installed.

Using the company's experience with hardware building and meticulous design, the device remains one of the most anticipated Apple products for the foreseeable future.

The report notes the talks could be "complicated" by the existing $200 million a year agreement between Netflix and EPIX, where exclusive content is channeled to Netflix's 23 million U.S. subscribers. The deal is set to expire in September, with a chance that Apple might jump in to fill the space.

But the source warns that the talks remain in preliminary stages and no deal is expected any time soon.

Apple was unsuccessful in previous attempts to secure contracts with television and film studios with the hopes of launching its own TV service, the report adds.

Shortly before his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs approached CBS chief executive Les Moonves with a plan to launch a subscription video service, reports sister site CNET. (Both ZDNet and CNET are owned by CBS.) Moonves was reluctant, citing disruption to revenue streams, and the plan failed.

Earlier this year, the Cupertino-based giant released its next-generation Apple TV, which streams Netflix content, Major League Baseball, YouTube videos, and media from users' iTunes accounts. Apple TV costs $99, and adds support for 1080p content.

Image credit: CNET. Article source: Reuters.

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6 comments
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  • Well that makes sense. I would wager google, MS, Amazon

    are as well.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Tech Companies Restructuring Entertainment

    I think it is very important for computer tech companies, to try and restructure entertainment, because computer tech is about accessing and manipulating data, and a large portion of this in the consumer market, is entertainment data. This is the major reason it has been so difficult for the computer sector to have great success in entertainment. The sector keeps butting heads with old entertainment, which is so very much at odds with tech.

    Tech companies need to re-imagine entertainment in digital form, so that they provide artists a compelling alternative to what the status quo offers. I believe the heart of this, should be allowing artists to form various kinds of networks, which produce various kinds of services. I believe tech companies should put together packages, which make this relatively easy and economical for artists. E.g. I believe tech companies should allow individual artists to come together to form networks, and produce music tracks, music videos, individual and collaborative video / TV shows, Internet radio stations, digital interactive publications, etc. Something similar could be done for comedians. Tech companies could allow comedians or comedy organizations (e.g. comedy clubs) to come together, and do much the same. Tech companies could also allow people to form organizations to produce TV shows, and they could in turn pool their resources to create networks. There could be educational networks, made up of universities; museums; organizations like the National Geographic and Discovery; government agencies such as NASA, and the National Institutes of Health. These networks could expose vast, private pools of knowledge, etc. that are useful to students, private companies in need of the information, etc. They could do this in the form of shows, interactive materials, etc. All these and other networks could be funded via subscriptions / subscription bundles.

    One key to making the above take place, is making available, economical cloud services. E.g. A group of musicians could easily make use of a radio station service, by uploading their songs, enabling a range of features such as random play; tailored play (based on the historical listening habits of individual subscribers), promotional play, popular play, etc. The musicians could also subscribe to a promotional service, which promotes the network and its products across the web and inside apps. In much the same way small companies subscribe to Office 365, artists should be able to subscribe to ranges of cloud services, to create their networks, and produce their content.
    P. Douglas
    • Business Meditations and Recollections of Temps Perdu

      Show business may be ripe for transformation, but I'm not sure that it should be the tech companies' job to do it. Ultimately, it's the artists who will be most concerned with maximizing distribution efficiency and retention of value.

      Working against the artist is that most of us have some ability to create, some of culture is pop, and many - I daresay almost all - artists will make their art regardless of commercial viability.

      Moving to distribution, it's a high risk business, and the hits have to pay for the acquisition costs for rights to distribute (or production) of flops and hits, royalties, overhead, and the advances to secure future rights for works being produced. Some retained equity for the owners of the distribution company would be nice.

      Technology has already lowered the costs of distribution and I think, unless there's a monopoly involved, the consumption price also comes down, which means an artist whose work is disintermediated now has to generate volume. That takes marketing and technology has not lowered the costs for effective mass marketing yet. I suppose YouTube and Facebook may be counter-examples to that assertion, but I'm going to go old fogey here and suggest that their long-term value has not been established. Sure, going viral is a win (and I imagine significant numbers of people have "10 am: think about how to monetize cat videos" among their reminders), but, to paraphrase The Incredibles, when everyone goes viral, nobody does.

      As a consumer, I hate tech makers using exclusivity to promote their products. I've seen this done in music videos (30 years back, MTV had competition and would negotiate 6 week exclusivities. Yay for the artist? Nope. Video costs were charged against royalties and the label pocketed the money that NBC paid to keep a video off of MTV and sales, which generate royalties, were reduced because some of the potential buyers were denied a chance to view the promotional item), Beta v. VHS, Web site HTML, Blu-ray vs. that other one, AM stereo schemes, quadraphonic schemes, cable movie channels*, software and operating systems, and in most cases the exclusivity added confusion to the marketplace and delayed the wildly profitable days.

      Regarding AM stereo technologies, the Reagan FCC decided to not endorse one of the two competing incompatible standards and to explicitly let the market decide. AM broadcasters, bless their hearts, hoped that stereo would allow them to halt the erosion of the audience. Because broadcast technology has to advance in step with receiver technology, no one wanted to risk making the first step, if it could be wrong. In retrospect, stereo would not have been enough: AM was good for medium distances at a cost to fidelity.

      If there is a deal (and any one who thinks such a deal means Apple is necessarily closer to making a tv had better be smoking something), Apple will pick up some AppleTV buyers and XBox may lose some potential buyers, and both platforms will lose more potential buyers as the consumer pause to ask "How do I know if I can watch Sherlock on this or not?" and then keep walking.

      *As the studios are major partners with the movie cable channels, it continues. There have been a few lawsuits contending that producers and artists were cheated of revenue because the exclusivity arrangements resulted in fees that were artificially lowered as the studio's third floor made a deal with the studio's fifth floor. One might wonder why there aren't more suits, but a lot of things are tolerated in the name of possible future deals.
      DannyO_0x98
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    Alissa242
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  • Apple should link up

    I have an LG Smart TV, and I am big fan of both LG and Apple. I wish Apple would link up with LG and work together for a bigger and better Smart TV.
    schilltastic41