It seems it was wise after all for Apple not to wait for the launch of its Internet-based TV subscription service before launching its new Apple TV set-top box. Because now it seems that plans for that service are being put on hold indefinitely. Although the rumor mill never really gave a target date, it was commonly believed that Apple was close to finalizing deals that would fill its service with channels and content. As it turns out, Apple was nowhere near closing after all.
Those terribly disappointed by this turn of events will have studios and media companies to thank. Based on insider sources, negotiations over prices have seemingly reached an impasse that Apple had to step back and reconsiders its overall goals for the service. The company is exepcted to charge $30 to $40 a month for a bundle of 14 channels or so. Unsurprisingly, content providers want a higher baseline.
At that point, things could have only go two ways. Either Apple concede to the higher subscription fee, which would have hurt its incentive for a more affordable serving of Internet TV. After all, there would be cheaper alternatives out there. Or these media companies would have conceded to Apple’s requirements. Sadly, those companies are a rather bullish group.
Unfortunately for Apple, it doesn’t (yet) enjoy the same clout that it has on smartphones and in the music industry. There, it could dictate the terms and content providers and carriers would be only too happy to follow. When it comes to videos, however, particularly TV and cable, Apple is the new kid in town. To some extent, it is the one that has to play catch up this time around, with more established players, both other streaming services and media companies, well secure in their positions.
So, in the meantime, Apple will do what it does best, provide a platform for apps that will, in turn, give users access to video content, whether they be from Netflix or from HBO. Those sources say that Apple is still interesting in rolling out a Live TV service eventually. The question then becomes wehther it will be too late even for Apple to break into that market by then.