Report: CBS, Disney Show Interest in Apple's Plans for Subscription-Based OTT Service

A report by Sam Schechner and Yukari Iwatani Kane in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is planning to launch a subscription-based over-the-top-TV service, and that CBS and Disney are considering participating. The report, which cites unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" (note: Apple, CBS and Disney all apparently refused to comment), also claims that Apple is hoping to launch the service next year.

However, the service, which would presumably be marketed in tandem with Apple's new tablet device (expected to be launched in the spring), has apparently met with a somewhat unenthusiastic response from several media companies, the Journal's report continues, including News Corp., Discovery, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom. NBC Universal's position on the service is "unclear," according to the Journal, but presumably Comcast, which is set to gain control of that company, would not be enthusiastic about a service that might give consumers another reason to "cut the cord."

Citing more "people familiar with the matter," the Journal reports that CBS is considering providing the service with programs from the CBS broadcast network and from the CW, its joint broadcasting venture with Warner Bros.; and that Disney is considering providing programming from ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel. The report also claims that "in at least some versions of" Apple's proposal for the service, Apple would pay broadcast networks $2 to $4 per month per subscriber, and would pay basic cable channels $1 to $2 per month per subscriber: the Journal points out that "those amounts are in some cases higher than media companies receive from traditional distribution."

The full text of the Journal's report--which also discusses earlier versions of Apple's proposal for the service, concerns media companies have about the fact that the service would likely not include advertising, the competitive landscape for the service, and more--is available here.

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North America