What's on Apple's iTV?

February 7, 2012: 11:29 AM ET

Jefferies' Peter Misek takes a deep dive into the problem of acquiring quality content

Amid all the chatter this week about Apple's (AAPL) putative plans to build a standalone TV set -- from Best Buy's leaked customer survey to the Globe and Mail's report that Canadian telcoms are already testing the thing in their labs -- the 23-page report produced by Peter Misek's team at Jefferies International stands out.

Rather than get distracted by speculation about whether it would be controlled by voice, keyboard, arm waving or all three, Misek focuses on the nut that will be the toughest for any Web-TV manufacturer to crack: how to deliver a critical mass of the best content to its users when and where they want it -- which it to say, anytime, anywhere.

Misek raises and dismisses three approaches Apple's deal makers might take -- creating content, seeding content, buying exclusive access -- to zero in on what he believes will be the most likely: buying non-exclusive rights in a way that doesn't make Hollywood's content owners nervous.

"We think an iTunes-type model is the most likely scenario as Apple will pay less for non-exclusive content, provide access to a broader range of content (creating a better user experience) and package everything with a superior user interface and ecosystem. We believe Apple thinks it can win on a level playing field for content."

Sounds simple, but it gets pretty complicated. Below the fold: Misek's summary of five scenarios by which Apple could acquire non-exclusive content, with their pros and cons.


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