As rumors of a "real" Apple TV heat up, ideas that could upend the industry resurface
In late 2009, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that sent shivers through the television industry.
Quoting unnamed sources familiar with Apple's (AAPL) negotiations, the Journal reported that CBS (CBS) and ABC (DIS) were seriously considering Steve Jobs' plan to offer TV subscriptions over the Internet.
One form those subscriptions might take, according to these sources, was a $30-per-month package of advertising-free shows from a bundle of top cable and broadcast networks -- something Apple was calling the "best of television."
Although the Journal reported that Apple was hoping to launch the service in 2010, it met fierce resistance, particularly from cable companies that reap tens of billions each year in advertising dollars and in the fees subscribers pay for access to channels they don't want in order to watch the handful of shows they do.
"You don't want to shoot a hole in the bucket to create another revenue stream," one media executive told the Journal at the time.
Apple's TV subscription service did not launch in 2010, obviously. Or in 2011, for that matter.
But the idea has not gone away. In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu noted that what's missing from Apple's current TV offering -- Apple TV coupled with the content available for purchase on iTunes -- is access to live broadcast television.
One way to get that access, he writes, is to have users subscribe to satellite or cable TV services, the way they do now.
But another way -- in his words "a more revolutionary, disruptive and differentiated way" -- would be to offer the content via the Internet, in a subscription service that sounds a lot like Jobs' original "best of television" idea.
"We continue to hear," Wu writes, "what AAPL would love to do is offer users the ability to choose their own customized programming, i.e., whichever channels/shows they want for a monthly subscription fee. This is obviously much more complicated from a licensing standpoint. And in our view, would change the game for television and give AAPL a big leg-up against the competition."
It appears that the networks are letting some content through to GoogleTV users.
Yesterday, GoogleTV users were greeted with messages that ABC, CBS and NBC would not work. This morning however, I had a look around and was able to watch an episode of 30 Rock on NBC as well as a few minutes of Talk (my threshold, not GoogleTV) and Medium on CBS. Disney-owned ABC and Hulu are still blocked, MORESeth Weintraub - Oct 22, 2010 9:26 AM ET
Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We've assembled the day's most newsworthy bits below.
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This is the spot for our live coverage of Apple's (AAPL) Sept. 1 music event.
In sum, Steve Jobs delivered on most of the rumored new products and services. The headlines:
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Steve Jobs is not the TV networks' enemy. BitTorrent is.
The second episode of The Big C, Showtime's bittersweet hit comedy about a suburban mom with melanoma, aired Monday night at 10:30 p.m. Less than three hours later, a digital copy was posted on an Italian website, where it spread like crabgrass. By Wednesday morning, there were 3,387 "seeds" of The Big C, Season 01, Episode 02, on the Internet, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 25, 2010 10:46 AM ET
Rather than a "best of TV" subscription service, Apple will be streaming programs a la carte
[UPDATE: The event is actually scheduled for Sept. 1. See here.]
Fuzzy rumors about Steve Jobs' next move in the TV market have been swirling for the better part of a year, but the picture snapped into focus on Tuesday.
A report by Peter Burrows, a veteran BusinessWeek reporter now writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, lays out the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 24, 2010 6:28 PM ET
A report tonight says that Google hasn't convinced any of the bigger network executives to sign up for their new service, set to debut in the coming months.
One of the three areas which Google (GOOG) sees significant expansion over the next few years is in the $70 billion/year U.S. television advertising market. With its GoogleTV product, it now has the platform to sell content against advertising. But can it get top MORESeth Weintraub - Aug 18, 2010 12:22 AM ET
The video streaming service's new premium model lacks the chops to justify its monthly fees.
As a writer and hopeless Internet addict, I probably spend more time in front of my laptop than I'd like to admit, banging out articles, reading blogs, instant messaging co-workers and friends, and viewing media. Whereas the average American now spends an estimated 34 hours a week in front of the television, it's fair to say MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jul 14, 2010 1:45 PM ET
This is one in a series of articles leading up to Fortune Brainstorm Tech, which takes place July 22-24 in Aspen, Colo. The articles will look back at the progress of companies that presented at Brainstorm in 2009 as well as look forward to those that will present this year.
By Shelley DuBois, reporter
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News Corp. vs Cablevision. Cablevision vs. Disney. The list goes on and on. An updated tally of cable licensing deals gone horribly awry.
As the Cablevision and News Corp. feud continues, more than three million subscribers remain without Fox programming. Cablevision blames News Corp. for demanding an extortionate increase in retransmission fees; News Corp. argues Cablevision isn't negotiating in good faith. Regardless of which party is at fault, the cable MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 3, 2010 11:41 AM ET
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