We’ve been talking about Apple’s plans to launch a live streaming TV service for a while. A long while. There are reports today we’ll have to keep waiting.
So, why’s it so difficult to get the deal done?
For one, there are infrastructure and technical issues to solve. No one wants glitchy TV.
“What they are doing is not easy,” says Marc Tayer, the author of the book “Televisionaries: Inside the Chaos and Innovation of the Digital Revolution.”
Apple has to get the rights to stream the content from all the big players — Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC — and potentially from the local affiliates of those networks.
“That requires licensing with each individual content provider that they want to include, and make sure that the terms and conditions are such Apple can get the return on their investment at some point,” Tayer says.
For Apple, getting that return on investment could be tough; it’s certainly not as simple as when it launched iTunes.
“They are not in as good a position as they were when they were negotiating contracts with the music industry,” says John Butler, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
When iTunes launched, the music industry was desperate.
“They were facing the loss of music through free services like Napster,” he says. Television providers, on the other hand, “they hold all the cards and content really is king.”
They’re in the catbird seat.
Content providers are thinking about their own bottom line — looking for a good deal, not just any deal.
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