Apple has held talks with leading television groups to offer an Internet-based TV service for its iPhone, iPad and Apple TV set-top box, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.
The service, which could be announced later this year, would offer a bundle of channels that is smaller and cheaper than the bloated catalog of offerings in a typical cable subscription, said these people, who asked not to be named because the conversations were confidential and not finished.
The plan possibly would offer networks owned by the television groups Disney, Fox, CBS and Discovery, the people said. That could include the broadcast networks ABC, CBS and Fox, along with a lineup of other cable networks, such as ESPN and Discovery Channel.
The total number of networks to be offered is yet to be determined. Apple is not including all networks owned by each of the TV groups, signaling yet another fraying of the traditional cable bundle. No deal has been reached yet, the people said.
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The Wall Street Journal reported news of the Apple TV service Monday, following an initial report in Recode last month.
Apple declined to comment on the reports.
Pricing details remain unclear. One person pegged the rate for a monthly subscription at $20 to $25, while another said that it would be around $30. The final price probably will depend on which networks are offered and negotiations with television groups, the people said.
News of Apple’s plans for a web TV service follows an announcement last week that it had formed an exclusive partnership with HBO to offer the premium cable network’s new digital TV service, called HBO Now.
Several media, telecom and tech companies are in the midst of introducing digital TV services this year to appeal to a generation of viewers willing to pay for Internet access but not traditional TV cable subscriptions.
Apple would heavily market its new streaming service, which the company has pitched to networks as “better than the best-of-class cable products,” one person said. Its features possibly would include on-demand functionality and the ability to stream live and on-demand television to an array of devices.