The latest player to announce a big move into online streaming could turn out to be a game changer for the TV business. The Los Angeles Times reports that the upcoming “skinny” package of TV channels from tech giant Apple — details of which were reported earlier this week — is “expected to accelerate the unraveling of the pay-TV bundle.”
Apple, which is talking with ABC, CBS and Fox Broadcasting, among other programmers, is aiming to have its new product on the market in time for the fall 2015 TV season in September, the report notes.
“The proposed streaming service takes aim at the 10 million homes that have high-speed Internet and no pay television programming, along with customers who are fed up with high cable fees. Apple’s cachet and legions of loyal fans could make it one of the biggest threats yet to cable and satellite operators,” the Times reports.
In a research report this week, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White wrote: “Apple remains one of the few companies in the world that has the potential to transform the TV industry, and we believe consumers are ready for a change.”
The Apple offering is the latest entry in a crowded field of alternatives to traditional pay TV that already includes services from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Meanwhile, Sony is readying a TV service for PlayStation, and Dish Network has just launched its Sling TV online service, starting at $20 a month.
Apple’s new service is expected to be priced at about $30 a month, the report notes.
The Times adds: “The recent moves should help prompt cable and satellite TV providers to offer their customers smaller packages of services at lower price points to remain competitive. Consumers for years have been grousing about the high cost of subscriptions that include hundreds of channels they never watch.”
At a recent investor conference, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said: “The floodgate is now open. Clearly the bundle is changing. … The days of the 500-channel universe are over.”