Remember all those rumours of Apple planning a subscription-based service for iTunes? The ones that began way back in 2005, when the company hired XBox Live staffer, Julia Miller?

Seems this chatter’s back again, with Peter Kafka’s MediaMemo claiming Apple to have been in talks with TV networks in an attempt to put together a $30 all-you-can-eat TV subscription service.

This service, which may well appeal to companies not yet signed-up to NBC,ABC and Fox’s Hulu service, and which can also be seen as extending the Apple TV model into business currently occupied by satellite and cable TV services, seems set to launch “early next year”, if anyone signs up.

At present, Apple is assessing what degree of support there is for the notion among TV services.  Kafka says no one has yet signed up.

These subscription plans through iTunes wouldn’t be device-specific, though it is likely you’d be able to access content using iTunes clients, including computers, iPhones, iPods and Apple TV devices.

August saw similar reports, this time from Piper Jaffray analyst, Gene Munster, who predicted Apple would introduce subscription services for TV shows way back in August this year.

“Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (~$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels,” said Munster, according to Loop Insight.

Success will depend on Apple being able to offer the breadth of content you get from cable services and broadcasters. It would also depend on shows being made available in a timely fashion.

If the company succeeds in winning support from TV networks, it would enter a market currently served by Netflix, and Hulu; with YouTube also expected to offer full-length TV shows more widely in the coming year.

This means Apple has a chance at securing broadcaster permission for the plan, as they are more prepared to engage with online services now than before. One source told MediaMemo: “I think they might get it right this time”.

Apple may also have a surprise in its plan, in terms of enabling broadcasters to claw back a little of the ads revenue they would otherwise lose in ads-free subscriptions.

Apple has advanced plans for an ads-funded iTunes service.

These plans first came to light in July, when it was revealed that Apple presented a UK Judge-presided tribunal with advanced plans for an ads-funded service.

iTunes VP Eddie Cue told the Tribunal that iTunes would only pay advertising revenue where it is earned “as a result of an advertisement, sponsorship or a click-through link located on a Licensed service … and only where the Licensed Service is offered to the user at a price which has been artificially depressed to reflect such revenue.”

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