The Wall Street Journal’s story alleging Apple is gearing up to launch a web-based television service this fall with 25 cherry-picked channels for $30-$40 per month contains an important caveat: for now, Apple’s talks with programmers about a TV bundle don’t include NBCUniversal.
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac, citing an internal NBC memo to employees pictured top of post, writes that NBCUniversal still hopes to arrive on the Apple TV as soon as the second half of this year.
In addition to Apple’s hockey-puck device, the presentation slide reveals NBC’s plans to launch on Amazon’s inexpensive Fire TV set-top box and Microsoft’s Xbox console.
“NBC also would like to add new affiliate stations, Nielsen Rating integration, and support for Google’s Chromecast,” noted Gurman.
Like many other Apple TV channels, access to NBC programming will reportedly require a cable subscription, requiring the user to verify an existing cable account.
“According to the source, NBC Universal is still in negotiations with local affiliate networks across the United States to ensure that cable box customers will be able to verify themselves across the country on the Apple TV,” reads the story.
NBC, which already has a mobile video streaming app for iOS and Android devices, isn’t involved in negotiations related to Apple’s rumored Internet TV service because of a “falling-out” between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast Corp.
Apple and Comcast were reportedly in talks last year on a streaming television platform that would combine Apple’s expertise in user interfaces with Comcast’s strength in broadband delivery.
“Apple came to believe that Comcast was stringing it along while the cable giant focused on its own X1 Web-enabled set-top box,” people familiar with the matter told the paper.
“One media executive said it may be difficult for Apple to launch a service without NBCUniversal channels,” the article notes.
NBCUniversal is the owner of the NBC broadcast network and cable channels such us USA and Bravo. Apple’s TV service could be priced between $30 and $40 per month, for which viewers would get access to about 25 channels anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox.
The new service should be announced at Apple’s annual developers conference in June, and launch in September. It would work across all iOS-powered devices such as iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes.