With iPhone sales cooling due to slowed innovation and a saturated market, there’s never been a better time for Apple to graduate its media set-top box from hobby status to bona fide feature product. Apple has dominated every market it has entered dating back to music with the iPod and iTunes through the iPhone and iPad yet television has remained elusive.
With such a successful track record, one has to wonder why Apple has struggled so mightily with attracting media companies. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple has no one to blame but itself.
The Journal recounts a meeting in early 2015 with Walt Disney Co. in which Apple executive Eddy Cue stunned those across the table with outrageous demands that would have upended how broadcasters have built their business for years.
Specifically, Apple reportedly wanted to lock the monthly rate per viewer it would pay Disney to license content at a fixed rate for several years. Typically, broadcasters get annual rate increases which they use to fuel profit growth. Needless to say, Disney wasn’t interested.
Similar talks with CBS Corp. and 21st Century Fox Inc. also stalled, the Journal notes. As such, when Apple launched the latest revision of its media player last September, the long-rumored streaming TV service was nowhere to be found.
A senior TV executive told the publication that they are challenged in a lot of ways but they aren’t waiting for a white knight to come racing in the way music was (referring to the industry's struggle with piracy).