undeniable that Apple has a tight relationship with television. For years, Apple TV was a product that was reportedly treated as a "hobby" of the company, that is, something they did not take so seriously. When they effectively decided to pay little attention set-top box, rumors emerged that a “real” TV set from Ma would be on the plans, as well as several conversations about Cupertino executives closing deals with content companies to launch a TV service via streaming.
None of this happened, true Apple TV is stronger than ever, but remains restricted to the contents of the iTunes Store and its (increasingly better) applications. Now, a long report from Wall Street Journal (exclusive article for subscribers) gives more details about Apple's long journey in the television world, its non-liberal tactics and the disillusions that possibly made it give up the dream of Internet TV.
The protagonist of the time, how could it be, Eddy Cue, senior vice president of services and internet at Apple and increasingly the company's “public face” in this transition to a service company. The report narrates a few episodes to illustrate Cue's absolutely hard-line negotiation tactics with television companies, inherited they say directly from Steve Jobs. According to the WSJ, the requirements deemed “unacceptable” by the TV industry figures were what ultimately made an Apple deal with these studios and distributors impossible.
About discussions with Disney, for example:
() Apple wanted to freeze the monthly fee per subscriber that it would pay to license Disney channels for a number of years. TV channels generally work with annual fee increases and depend on them to increase profit growth.
Disney refused. Similar conversations with other industry giants, such as 21st Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp., also got in the way.
detailed the TV project by streaming that Apple would have on hand and that Disney was introduced: it would include a number of popular channels the Mickey Mouse company hits such as ESPN and the Disney Channel broadcast live over the internet, in addition to various programs and series from these channels on demand, all for $ 30 a month for the user.
The conversations, as said, did not go ahead, and the unyielding attitude of Apple and Cue was supposed to be the deciding factor, and the story even reported Cue's usual line before TV industry executives: “Time is on my side. "
Other business models attempted by Cupertino involved conversations with large media conglomerates, such as Time Warner and Comcast, and would involve an exclusive partnership in the distribution of set-top boxes developed by Apple, with channels chosen by it, authentication through a Ma account and a function to record programs and exclude commercials even from recently transmitted programs, required by Apple. No one wanted to take the idea forward.
Now, all of this can create an image of Cue as an unskilled negotiator, which he certainly does not. We have not forgotten that we are talking about the strong man behind the creation of the largest music store in the world, in addition to an App Store with 2 million applications and a streaming absolutely competent musical.
No, Cue is by no means incompetent, but perhaps the dynamics and demands of the television industry and the art of negotiating with the small screen figures is still one to be mastered by the executive and his team at Apple. In the meantime, we know very well that Ma's strategy is being different: investing in its own content, which attracts more people to its corral, and feeding tvOS until it becomes a real platform like iOS and OS X macOS. If something that replaces (or lives with) possible internet TV plans in the future, this is time.