Apple has realized that reaching out to individual channel owners may be too much to take on. Instead the company is reaching out to the main network’s themselves and letting them negotiate with their affiliates as the company works to bring about a streaming TV service. This is a very important step for Apple because it makes the long rumored streaming service appear far more possible. Apple has been in the headlines for months concerning a streaming service that would offer local affiliate feeds, a key factor for many on the fence concerning whether to drop cable. By providing local affiliate access it gives users the potential to see not just local news coverage via streaming but local and regional sports teams.
How is Apple making this possible?
As of right now Apple is negotiating directly with CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. CW, another broadcast network is owned by CBS. By working with networks instead of reaching out to hundreds of affiliates individually Apple farms out the responsibility of negotiating for streaming rights to entities with existing relationships and connections. According to the New York Post the plan is working out. While Apple has been quiet on the streaming hardware side of things it has worked feverishly to build relationships going forward. It’s negotiation with HBO to be the exclusive launch partner for HBO Now worked out great for both parties with HBO seeing its app become a top seller in the iTunes store. Apple TV got a major boost spurred by both a price drop and the HBO offer the device rose to the number 3 selling streaming device on Amazon despite its age.
What do affiliates get out of the deal?
The plan which includes revenue sharing between Apple and the affiliates is gaining traction. If Apple is able to put this together it stands to be a major addition to the streaming space and may effectively end Sony’s experiment in this space and stop the recently announced “Comcast Stream” right in its tracks. Apple has never released details as to exactly which cable channels would be involved with the service but considering the willingness that cable channels have shown to work with Sling and Sony Vue I don’t think Apple will have a great deal of trouble working out deals with a host of other partners.