Apple has long been rumored to be putting together its own internet TV service, but despite expectations that it would reveal its plans at last year's WWDC conference, it has yet to announce a competitor to Sling TV and other similar over-the-top services. According to ESPN's president John Skipper, that might be because the company is still having trouble hammering out deals with networks and other content providers. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Skipper said that ESPN has had discussions with Apple, but noted that the tech company has been "frustrated by [its] ability to construct something which works for them with programmers."
That echoes the narrative we heard last year when the absence of Apple's internet TV service at its WWDC conference in June was reportedly blamed on the difficulties in finalizing licensing deals with networks. But Skipper says that Apple isn't done trying to get its service off the ground, noting that — as with CBS — ESPN continues to work with the company, and that conversations are still ongoing.
ESPN is also interested in Apple TV, recently refreshed for its fourth-generation release. "[Apple is] creating a significantly advantageous operating system and a great television experience," the ESPN president said of the set-top box. The network already has a deal with Sling TV to stream sports to cable cutters, but it sounds like a similar deal will be coming soon to Apple's hardware. "We are big proponents of believing it would be a fabulous place to sell some subscriptions," Skipper said.