Apple allegedly proposing ad skipping for upcoming TV service

Apple TV (teaser 001)

It appears that Apple’s long-rumored TV service is alive, and slowly but surely moving forward. According to a new report, Apple has spent the last year seeking rights from cable companies and TV networks for a new Internet television service.

The offering is said to allow users to watch live and on-demand television programming over an Apple-branded set-top box or TV set, and, as claimed by people with knowledge of the project, it could feature the ability to skip TV commercials…

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessien has the scoop:

“In recent discussions, Apple told media executives it wants to offer a “premium” version of the service that would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations.

Consumers, of course, are already accustomed to fast-forwarding through commercials on their DVRs, and how Apple’s technology differs is unclear.”

Those familiar with the ongoing litigation between Dish Network and several TV networks over its Hopper set-top box, which offers a similar function, know how risky ad-skipping is. But it doesn’t take an expert to know that advertising is changing.

Lessien continues:

“Apple wants to strike deals with cable companies like Time Warner Cable to allow cable subscribers to watch television using an Apple device as a set-top box and with a software interface designed by Apple.

But the company has also been talking to television networks, which sell cable companies rights to their content, about rights for the service and issues such as ad-skipping. “

Interestingly enough, a recent report from Bloomberg claimed Time Warner Cable channels are coming to Apple TV in the near future. That makes you wonder if Apple is closer to a TWC deal than it is with the other networks, but that’s pure speculation.

What isn’t speculation, though, is that Tim Cook and Apple’s SVP of Internet and software services Eddy Cue attended the Sun Valley conference last week. And Lessien says that while there, the pair held secretive meetings with several media companies.