Apple Inc. will try to do to cable television what it did to the music industry with iTunes. The iPhone maker is reportedly planning to launch an online TV service, which will be available on its devices like the Apple TV.
Apple is “in talks” with networks like ABC, CBS and Fox to launch a TV bundle service consisting of about 25 channels sometime this fall, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plans do not currently include NBCUniversal, the report said.
Apple plans to price its service at $30 to $40 a month, and will launch its TV service this September after an announcement in June, the Journal said, citing executives “with knowledge of the matter.” Apple plans to offer a slimmed-down TV bundle that will include major broadcast networks along with cable channels such as ESPN and FX, excluding smaller channels.
The service will reportedly work with Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. It won’t include channels like NBC, USA and Bravo because of a dispute between Apple and Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, the Journal reported. The two had previously worked on a similar service until Apple began to feel like Comcast was wasting its time while developing its own smart set-top box and Apple TV replacement called the Xfinity X1.
International Business Times broke the news earlier this month that Apple would be the exclusive launch partner for HBO’s standalone streaming service, HBO Now, which it plans to launch in April.
Apple is also planning to offer its own cloud DVR platform, where a library of TV shows and movies could be offered on-demand alongside its streaming TV service. The Cupertino, California-based manufacturer faces a few roadblocks in its plan, including some deals in place between TV networks and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.
The news comes as a number of companies look to offer lower-cost TV packages to consumers, avoiding large cable bills in favor of streaming video, also known as “cord cutters.” Dish Network recently launched a service for $30 per month that offers a lineup of 12 cable channels for $20 per month called Sling TV, with additional bundles available.
TV networks are feeling the squeeze from cord-cutting, with ratings declining by double digits for the fifth straight month in February.