A report from Re-Code indicates that Apple may have another card up its sleeve for its rumored upcoming online television service. Apple is purportedly in discussion with television networks to offer local television programming across the internet. Apple wants to offer both on-demand and live/local content to gain a competitive advantage over the likes of Sling TV and Playstation’s recently in beta Playstation Vue. However, such ambitions may come at the cost of a delay to the service’s release.
Re/Code is quoting inside executives familiar with Apple’s plan. Apparently, gaining such rights to stream local content is not a simple process. Per Re/Code:
Clearing the rights to show local programs and commercials takes some time — ABC, for instance, spent two years getting the rights to show live programming via its Watch ABC app, and its livestreams remain limited to viewers in eight cities. Also, some executives say that providing digital feeds of the programming from dozens of affiliates will also require the broadcasters to build new streaming infrastructure.
As a result, it seems unlikely that the service will be announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference on June 8th as was previous rumored. Hopefully the popularity and monetary power of Apple will enable a faster turn around time than ABC’s two years. Re/Code also reports that television networks are more comfortable with the service as it provides a better alternative to the “Pay-TV bundle” as opposed to doing away with it altogether. Offering such a service through Apple could find the happy medium to the current streaming versus live television conundrum.
Streaming Versus Cable/Satellite TV
Streaming has been poaching on cable and satellite’s territory for a few years now. Since the advent of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and a number of other services; many people are cutting their cords for on-demand content. However, these services lack a number of options such as live sports, news, and the ability to flip through channels to discover content. While it may seem dire for cable companies, statistics still show strong demand for live television networks.
According to a poll performed by Harris Interactive last year, 77% of adults say they still watch television content regularly via cable or satellite, while 43% regularly watch streamed content. Below are some of the other interesting statistics from the study:
- Millenials stream content more than any other group at 47%
- 40% would be willing to pay extra if they could pay extra to stream the content on-demand without advertisements
- “37% would pay more for a streaming service that allowed them to temporarily download TV episodes, for when they’re away from an Internet connection”
While it’s clear that streaming is on the rise, especially with the newer generation, Apple wants to do what they do best and offer a service that appeals to the masses, even if that means providing a viable service to those more interested in live local content. Re/Code confirmed this when they quoted one of the inside executives as saying, “this is supposed to be for 30 million people,”
Apple has some large ambitions for their television service. Hopefully this won’t mean we have to wait years for its release. Rolling out in iterations could be another approach that Apple takes to begin growing its subscriber base at an earlier date. Time will tell.
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