Apple is in talks with TV programmers to put together its own over-the-top pay TV service, Recode says. According to the site's industry sources, Apple's proposed service would be comprised of bundles of programming, secured through deals with content providers and sold direct to consumers, rather than a full TV lineup. Apple has reportedly already shown demonstrations of the proposed service to people in charge of TV programming, but Recode says the talks "seem to be in early stages," with the pricing and release date still yet to be set.
The company's proposed product sounds similar to Sling TV, the $20-a-month Dish service that offers a small number of channels such as ESPN for streaming on mobile devices, video game consoles, set-top boxes, and streaming dongles. Sony has a similar service in the works. PlayStation Vue is a cloud-based TV initiative that will let cord-cutters watch a number of big-name networks — with a few notable exceptions.
Apple has apparently demonstrated its service to some TV programmers
Apple has made its intention to join the TV industry clear — CEO Tim Cook has explained multiple times that the company has a great interest in the market, and Apple media head Eddy Cue said the modern TV experience "sucks" at last year's Code conference. But Apple has yet to settle on an approach for how to tackle the problem. Its Apple TV set-top box has a good selection of content, but has failed to revolutionize the market since its launch in 2007, and a $30-a-month iTunes-based subscription service proposed in 2009 didn't get off the ground.
Apple switched tack, opening discussions with cable networks in a bid to get at their content, but the talks have yet to bear fruit as the networks guard their positions. By reportedly going straight to the people making TV shows, Apple is hoping to cut these networks out of the deal and solidify a beachhead for its assault on the TV industry in the process.