According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the delays to Apple's long rumored TV service have been due to the company's unprecedented demands and brash negotiating tactics with the TV industry. The Journal says talks between Apple and media giants CBS, 21st Century Fox, and Disney went nowhere after Apple content boss Eddy Cue demanded that Apple be allowed to pay a flat monthly rate per viewer for consecutive years, going against the annual rate increases that the media companies rely on to grow their revenue.
Over the last 16 years, Apple has entered and dominated just about every new industry that it has entered, but the tactics that may have worked with the music industry or the carriers seem to be falling flat when it comes to the media corporations who own the channels Apple needs to offer an over-the-top TV service. According to the report, media executives didn't appreciate Eddy Cue's negotiating style, with one source telling the Journal Cue's approach could be summed up in one phrase: "We’re Apple."
Talks between Apple and media giants CBS, 21st Century Fox, and Disney went nowhere
Since 2009, Apple has repeatedly tried to get a TV service up and running to no avail. Time Warner Cable and Comcast reportedly balked at a $10 a month per subscriber payment request from Apple to run their services through the Apple TV; Apple wouldn't share any information regarding the user interface with the companies, with one Apple executive reportedly only willing to tell Time Warner Cable it would be "better than anything you’ve ever had."
In 2013, Cue reportedly showed up 10 minutes late to a meeting with the CEOs of Time Warner Cable and Time Warner Inc. in a Hawaiian shirt and in tennis shoes with no socks, while everyone else was in a suit — a Jobs-ian move if there ever was one. Apple asked for full on-demand seasons of popular shows and approval for a cloud DVR that would let users skip commercials on first-run episodes, which wouldn't please advertisers in the least.
Progress on Apple's full-fledged TV service has seemingly come to a halt
Apple is now taking a slightly different approach when it comes to the Apple TV. The company has ordered original programming, it now allows TV providers to build their own apps for the set-top box, and Apple is reportedly talking to executives about getting into the premium content game and offering Netflix-level content through its iTunes store. While the latest developments are undoubtedly progress, there's a case to be made that a different approach during negotiations with the TV industry could've led to a far different outcome.