Apple to sell bundled TV shows instead of its own service

If at first you don't succeed, try Plan B. Apple doesn't seem to be having any luck in getting anywhere near its long-rumored TV service, so it might be settling for the next best thing instead. According to the usual sources familiar with the matter, Cupertino is planning on offering HBO, Showtime, and Starz in a single-price bundle, instead of the piecemeal channels it already has available. Whether or not this plan will pan out, however, largely depends on whether Apple is finally able to convince TV networks to do what it wants this time.

Unlike in the music industry, Apple's clout hasn't been big enough to get TV networks on the same page. Even just bundling pay TV channels has been a no-go for the company, to the point that it has publicly stated it has given up even trying. Network giants are just too big to make concessions, at least for Apple. For other companies like Sony, AT&T, or even Google, that apparently isn't much of a problem.

Apple's last resort might to just offer a bundling of its apps instead. It already sells Time Warner's HBO, CBS' Showtime, and Lionsgate's Starz individually, ranging from $9 to $15 a month. Offering those three up as a bundle, not unlike how it bundles some apps together, could be simpler than a more comprehensive pay TV offering.

That said, it's not yet a sure deal, as Apple has still to get the approval of the networks before it can do anything. Unless its luck has finally changed, it might be looking at another dead end. Granted, Apple already does sell these already although separately. Networks might prefer to keep it that way.

Another still unsettled issue is the price. Collectively, the three channels cost $35 a month and a bundle will have to go considerably lower to make it even worth the hassle. That, of course, might mean that networks will get a much smaller split of the revenue and Apple will have to work even harder to make up for that loss by exponentially increasing the number of subscribers.

VIA: Re/code