Apple does end-run around cable TV with CBS and Disney/ABC

Wow, looks like Apple is planning a cable coup -- or is that a satellite slay? Steve Jobs is said to be in talks with TV networks for a subscription-based iTunes TV store. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers ponder the meaning of disintermediation and inflection points.

By Richi Jennings. December 22, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Oscar D'León sings about Twitter...

    Sam Schechner and Yukari Iwatani Kane pump their sources:

CBS ... and ... Disney ... are considering participating in Apple's plan to offer television subscriptions over the Internet ... as Apple prepares a potential new competitor to cable and satellite TV. ... [Which could] offer access to some TV shows from a selection of major U.S. television networks for a monthly fee.


The video strategy is part of Apple's plan to overhaul its iTunes store ... as it finalizes its plans for a tablet device. ... [It] could undermine the lucrative business of selling bundles of big and small cable networks to distributors like Comcast and Time Warner.

Brian Garner garners brains:

Apple has changed its strategy ... due to push-back from some of the larger media companies. Many of the companies ... also have cable TV interests, ... [so a] deal with Apple could result in a decrease in ... revenues.


Apple would pay ... $2 to $4 a month per subscriber for a broadcast network ... and about $1 to $2 ... for a basic-cable network.

MG Siegler doesn't mince words:

The cable companies suck. ... Some suck less than others. ... We need someone to whip them into shape. ... Simply put: This could be huge ... [and] could force the cable companies to stop sucking.


The Apple TV ... could be a hit in a hurry if Apple offered its own television subscription service that allowed you to bypass ... in excess of $50 a month ... rip-off cable packages. ... A change of the channel would do us all good.

And Seth Weintraub drops tha' bomb:

Boom! Certainly Jobs' position on Disney's Board is helping to move Disney (ABC) to Apple's platform. Wouldn't it be interesting if ... his personal sale of Pixar to Disney was what gave Apple its chance as a Internet Network?


With Comcast's recent purchase of NBC, this would be a huge blow to the cable networks. ... Maybe Apple goes directly to the studios that produce the TV Shows and bypasses the Networks and the Cable companies? All interesting scenarios. ... We might have an exciting Spring in store.

But Rene Ritchie is doubtful:

Nebulous ... imaginary ... no names ... is there a story? Maybe. The mere idea of Apple doing for digital television what they did for digital music ... is compelling enough to account for some of the chatter.


And Disney always makes sense to mention ... seeing as how Steve Jobs is their biggest shareholder and a member of their board of directors. ... I want to believe it ... [but] there’s nothing to say it really is yet.

Meanwhile, Arnold Kim adds 2+2:

There is increasing evidence that Apple is looking to revamp its iTunes services. The recent acquisition of Lala Media has raised the possibility that Apple is seriously looking at subscription services as the future for iTunes. This approach is said to also fit in with Apple's tablet plans.

So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Don't like that one? OK, try this...  

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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