The Wall Street Journal has published a report that largely corroborates what Bloomberg said earlier; a new Apple TV is under development with Apple currently in negotiation stages for content deals, with at least Time Warner Cable. However, the Wall Street Journal adds some new information about what these talks entail.

Initially, it appears that Apple wanted an independent Apple TV product to offer TV shows and films exclusively over the Internet. However, now it appears that Apple is scaling back some of its ambition due to resistance from content companies.

In the current discussions, which involve at least two big media companies, Apple envisages working with cable companies, rather than competing against them, the people said. For programming, it would rely on cable providers to acquire programming rights from media companies, rather than acquire them on its own, the people said. Apple might consider seeking some rights directly in the future, one of the people said.

Rather than angling for content rights itself, the Wall Street Journal says Apple is using the cable companies as  a proxy for this. This means that you would still have to buy some form of subscription through a cable provider, rather than only deal with Apple exclusively.  In the Bloomberg piece, it says that Eddy Cue has been trying to allow purchases to be made with an Apple ID but is facing resistance.

Moreover, the report says that Apple originally wanted full seasons of shows for on-demand purposes. Now, Apple is angling for just five episodes of back catalogue for the current season, the industry standard. Apple is also considering disabling fast-forwarding for three days after the shows air, to protect broadcasters’ viewership.

This reports line up well with 9to5Mac’s reporting about new Apple TV hardware from a couple of weeks ago. We said that Apple has been testing hardware that includes a tuner, as well as a revamped App Store and Game Store model. Most recently, we found references to Apple TV 4,1 in iOS 7 files which (in accordance with Apple’s typical identifier scheme for products) indicates a major revamp over the current generation.

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13 Responses to “Wall Street Journal corroborates new Apple TV incoming, but says content plans have been scaled back”

  1. OneOkami says:

    My general impression from reading all these rumblings about Apple’s foray into TV is that they are being hindered from revolutionizing content delivery by an industry that does not want to change. Now I could be wrong about some of all that, but again, that’s just the impression I have of all this.

    I’ve often said this but frankly I think a lot of television programming and especially the way it’s traditionally delivered sucks and could be so much better of an experience for the viewer. I happily stopped subscribing to cable TV back in 2011 and haven’t looked back because it’s simply not worth it to me anymore. The value of what I get and how I get it is crap for the money I spending on it.

    Sadly, it does not surprise me that such an industry appears to be rigid. I guess that’s what happens when perhaps there is less money in making and experience better for your customers.

    Now yesterday when reading article of the new Apple TV I was intrigued at what it could bring, not only in terms of content delivery but also in terms of new native functionality like a customization selection of apps and games. But then when I read something like this:

    “This means that you would still have to buy some form of subscription through a cable provider”

    The interest in the content delivery potential for this device just dies and the new Apple TV becomes a harder sell to replace the one I already have. Stuff like this makes me happy I’m not hooked on TV anywhere close to how I used to be.


  2. bwulfe says:

    These reports that keep pointing towards negotiatins with Time Warner Cable seem to be submitting reports with blinders on. NEWS FLASH: last night, Time Warner Cable agreed to a buyout from Comcast. If Apple’s supposed negotiations didn’t include Comcast; then they are back to square one.


  3. PMZanetti says:

    If Apple has backed down from the cable companies, then the entire project is kaput.

    Those archaic monopolies don’t deserve a damn thing.

    Forget them. Forget mind-numbing, brainwashing, idiot-box programming. Just, FORGET IT.

    Go with an AppStore on AppleTV, open it to developers, and give way to a new generation of independently developed content, and change the way people use their TV.

    Truly, the only hope humanity has for a future is turning OFF mainstream programming. Why we should be so concerned with getting our dose through AppleTV is beyond stupid. It’s like begging your slave master for more chains.


  4. Enrique Leon says:

    The only way I see this working is if Apple convinces content providors to accept the revolutionary pay-per-view model. Much like instead of buying complete music albums, iTunes allowed you to buy a single song and thus letting record companies know that we as a consumer are tired of buying 9 useless songs on an album to get the one song we love. I think we should be able to subscribe to on-demand channels that can be watched live or on demand. For example, using Time Warner, or other content provider, say I would like to purchase the Discovery Channel, FX, and, TLC at $5/channel. That would allow me to watch all the shows I actually want and I am not forced to purchase “the knitting channel” or other rediculous channels that none ever watches. This would get a “cable cutter” like me to get back in the game. It’s exactly like iTunes. Sure I could download music illegally, but it’s much faster and easier to just pay $1 for it on my phone. This can change the game in a big way if accomplished. Good luck Cable Companies. Don’t make the same mistake the music industry made. It could end up costing you billions.


    • Shaun G says:

      I agree. They should stop negotiating with the cable companies and just start putting as many independent channels on there as possible. I like watching Bloomberg TV. It’s free and it appeals to me. I could always watch it free on their website but it’s more comfortable to sit and watch it on my TV via AppleTV. They should just do more of this. Maybe even set-up a fund to help new channel start-ups looking to break down the traditional TV networks or even do a Netflix and create their own original content. Call it the Apple channel or whatever. That would use up some of their US cash stashed away. Hell I’d even pay a small monthly subscription for some channels if they were worth it but I’m not willing to pay for a bundle of channels 99% of which I never watch.


  5. I’m not surprised the Comcast-TimeWarner merger is dampening the original plans. I’m hoping the merger reopens the debate on Net Neutrality and market share of an ISP provider.


  6. Apple, meet content creators. Content creators, meet Apple. Why do we need anything else in between? Make a new sitcom, put the season up on iTunes to watch. No network. If it’s well-reviewed/good show people will pay for the season.
    How about a new, legitimate news channel? Subscription based on iTunes. There has to be demand for something other than the spin Fox/MSNBC spew out daily. 3rd party creates new news channel like CNN, not on a network, but exclusively on AAPL TV by subscription only.
    Apple doesn’t create or back any of this financially – much like App Store revenue comes in from subscribers and AAPL takes cut/% like App Store.
    Why would AAPL think it needs cable companies like TWC. AAPL should provide a platform for original programming of all kinds to come directly to them. Long-term that would be disruptive.


    • Enrique Leon says:

      They already have that. It’s called Podcasts. I think your on the right track but went too far with it. I agree, forget about talking to Time Warner, but I say talk to the production studios directly. Apple should act as if they are a new cable provider and their set top box is the Apple TV. Cut out the Content provider and go straight to the source. Just like the Bloomberg app, ABC app, or the Redbull app. I disagree that they should allow anybody and their mama to create content because then it becomes something like Youtube where it becomes saturated with 90% crap and 10% quality content. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place with all these networks pumping out anything that will get them subscriber royalties. TV networks should still be in charge of providing quality content and let them have a piece of the pie with subscriptions. I don’t even mind the Hulu ad-based revenue. I’ll sit through commercials if what i’m watching is interesting enough. That will make the networks that much more apt to provide quality stuff. They need to keep our attention. Easier said than done. Good stuff.


      • My idea would not include a free-for-all like YouTube. My limitation here is not understanding how a sitcom/drama gets created, for example? First a pilot by a production studio? Centered around some known talent (comic maybe, just as an example)? Then what, NBC likes it and orders 20 more? Couldn’t Apple be platform where show is presented, not NBC? I mean there is a lot of expense in creating a show like this so it wouldn’t be just some YouTube crap. Networks are too in bed with cable to upset things very much if at all. Why can’t a show (the next Friends or next 24-type show) or a new news organization be born and exclusively live on AppleTV? Probable a naïve question on my part, but Apple, which it’s massive user base, is about the only entity out there who could really change the game. Why aren’t they? None of the big players are going to change much on their own. Competition. A new business model for the industry. That’s what is needed. I guess I must need my glucose monitored first.


  7. If Apple invested in content production (as they did with Sapphire production) and started moving people to ATV for that content, they would have more leverage with other providers.

    How much would it cost to fund say 10 shows for one year? $10-15 million per show per year? $150 million for 10 shows for one season.

    It’s not like anything out there already is that original or complicated. As the years roll on, add mini-series, documentaries, and movies. Apple could sell per show, subscription per show, or subscription to Apple TV. Within 3 years, who would need cable for TV?

    This and independent content as others have pointed out.

    Only if Apple had the money to make such an investment /s