Apple has been in talks with cable companies and television networks for more than a year now, in an attempt to negotiate an ad-skipping feature for its anticipated TV service, according to a recent report from Jessica Lessin.
The service itself would run either on a forthcoming “Apple HDTV” product, the preexisting Apple TV set-top box, or both, and the idea for Apple’s ad-skipping feature is relatively simple.
With a “Premium” edition of its TV service, which would offer users both live and on-demand programming, it could be possible for subscribers “to skip ads and [Apple] would compensate television networks for the lost revenue, according to people briefed on the conversations,” the report explains.
Lessin notes, however:
It is a risky idea. Ad-skipping would disrupt the entrenched system of television ratings—the basis for buying TV ads. In fact, television broadcasters sued Dish Network when it introduced similar technology last year.
That being said, subscribers are presently fast-forwarding through TV ads using equipment already available, and in this capacity “lost” ad revenue isn’t compensated. Apple’s proposition, therefore, could nevertheless appeal to some.
Apple wants to strike deals with cable companies like Time Warner Cable to allow cable subscribers to watch television using an Apple device as a set-top box and with a software interface designed by Apple.
But the company has also been talking to television networks, which sell cable companies rights to their content, about rights for the service and issues such as ad-skipping.
Recently, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Eddy Cue visited the Sun Valley Conference, along with the so-called “King of Cable” Liberty Media Corp. Chairman John Malone. When asked at the time about the potential of TV-related talks, Cue is said to have joked: “There are cable companies here?”
According to Lessin, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment.
We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
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