CBS CEO Les Moonves says his company will “probably” provide content for the “skinny bundles” in a new Apple TV video subscription service. Moonves discussed the matter with Apple content chief Eddie Cue as recently as last week.
To date, Apple TV has come in the form of a small device that streams various kinds of Internet video (via apps) to the TV set. Apple wants to do far more than that with TV. Reports have been flowing in for the past few months that Apple is preparing to launch a new video service that does not require proof of a cable subscription and that contains live and local programming — in short, the ultimate cord-cutter package. A recent Wall Street Journal report said that Apple is readying its new TV offering, which includes premium and live news and sports content.
Other reports claimed Apple is building a new set-top box to support the new video service. The box would contain a much faster processor than the current Apple TV streaming box, and a lot more memory.
Content licensing has always been the roadblock that has stymied Apple’s grand plans for living room TV. But CBS, one of the biggest content-rights holders, is apparently ready to buy into Apple’s vision. This is no easy choice for Moonves and company. CBS and others have long-standing relationships with cable and other pay TV providers to distribute content exclusively over their networks. But the cracks are beginning to show in that partnership.
Moonves spoke Wednesday at Re/Code’s Code conference about Apple’s “skinny bundle” approach to selling video content, saying that CBS will “probably” sign a deal to provide part of the video in that bundle. Moonves said that Apple’s bundle would resemble the those that Dish Network’s Sling and Sony’s Vue are selling.
However, Moonves said he doesn’t know how long it will take to reach a firm deal with Apple. Talks have been ongoing since the Steve Jobs days, after all.
Some have speculated that Apple hopes to open the curtains on new video service at its yearly Worldwide Developer Conference on June 8. But that leaves very little time to finalize content deals with Moonves and others.
Hat tip: 9to5Mac