A lot of buzz so far this week from Peter Kafka’s online story that Apple is shopping an iTunes pay-TV service to various networks, both broadcast and cable.
Kafka writes the popular MediaMemo for All Things Digital, where he’s Senior Editor.
Kafka says it’s an idea that Apple has floated before. But now with 100 million customers for its iTunes store, the conversations could turn serious. Price point for the service would be around $30 a month.
As for why programmers might NOT want to participate, Kafka writes, "Cable networks, for instance, don’t want to threaten existing relationships and subscription fees from cable providers like Comcast (CMCSA). And programmers are also worried about the effect a subscription service would have on advertising revenue: Even if the service didn’t distribute TV programs until after their initial air date, that could cut into ratings, which now measure viewership over the course of several days. "
Kafka also speculates that if any studio/programmer might be interested in leading the charge to join with Apple on such a service, it would be Apple’s pals at Disney.
According to the Associated Press, on an earnings call today Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was asked if such a service from Apple would be a "long-term threat to Comcast."
Roberts reportedly responded: "I’ve been saying for a long time that I think video over the Internet is more friend than foe. … Specifically to the Apple reports, let’s wait and see what does materialize. I read the reports myself. I think there are many folks who want to deliver parts of the experience.
"I think a little bit goes back to (the) question, which is, why can’t we have the most robust experience right to the TV set, right from Comcast Cable? And I think we very much take all these possibilities and use it as a galvanizing mechanism inside the company to come up with better and more innovative products."