Could Upcoming Apple TV Streaming Service Kill Cable?


With all of the variety and quality of programming on Netflix it still has it’s shortfalls with no live TV to make it a real alternative to cable. And while cable television offers a breadth of live programming and sports events that Netflix can’t deliver, it is cost-prohibitive. Apple will look to create their own streaming television platform that has the potential to woo cable-cutters everywhere.

There are rumors that Apple has been in negotiations with television networks to make their own bundled service that offers about 25 channels. The service would offer such channels as ABC, CBS and Fox. Besides live programming, the tech giant’s television streaming service would offer a vast on-demand library that would be stored in the cloud. It could be announced as soon as June and roll out this fall on all iOS devices, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.

Noticeably missing from the lineup is NBC, which is a byproduct from a falling out between NBCUniversal’s parent company Comcast and Apple dating back to last year over a… Wait for it… A streaming service. Shocking I know. And no NBC also means no USA or Bravo.

Apple is rumored to have been talking to Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp., and 21st Century Fox Inc., plus other media companies. Apple would like to offer a “skinny” bundle with recognizable channels including ESPN, CBS and FX, but cutting out smaller networks to reduce the cost.

Apple has already struck a deal with HBO to stream their content on a platform called “HBO NOW” for $14.99 a month which will arrive in April.

In order for Apple to slay the mighty entertainment dragon called cable, they will need to bring a combination that hasn’t been offered before. It will need to be reasonably cheap. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video offer their services for under $10, however there is no live programming. On Feb. 9, Dish Network launched their cable replacement service called Sling TV. It costs $20 per month and includes channels such as ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS and CNN, but there is no on-demand content.

Even if Apple can offer their monthly service around $25-$40 they would still entice customers who paid an average price of $64.41 per month for basic cable in 2012.

Can Apple break the cycle of only selling TV in bundles? They would make waves if they offered the much sought after, but never realized a la carte pricing, and let the consumer get exactly what they want without paying for channels they have absolutely no interest in.

If Apple’s service offers a DVR, that could be a game-changer. Being able to watch your shows when you want to will appeal to young consumers and will allow it to compete with Netflix with on-demand viewing.

The beautiful thing about streaming television is you plug and play. No blocking off four hours of your Saturday waiting for the cable guy arrive late or not even show up.

Apple’s streaming definitely has the potential to kill cable, but will greed and huge conglomerates allow it to reach it’s potential?

[NYT]