New details are surfacing about Apple’s rumored TV streaming service. According to a report from Re/code, Apple not only wants the TV guys to provide their shows, but wants them to provide the streams, too.
Industry executives are saying that Apple wants TV networks to handle all of the responsibility and cost for streaming content to the Web video service, contributing to the many unresolved questions about the proposed service. The proposal isn’t unheard of, of course: the video services that stream via Apple apps today already provide their own streams using content delivery networks like EdgeCast.
Still, most streaming services haven’t experienced a lot of demand so far. Other than Netflix, which streams billions of hours of video every three months, the demand has been pretty light. With a heavily-promoted Apple service, though, that demand could increase dramatically. Morgan Stanley research analyst Katy Huberty has stated that she believes Apple could add 15 million subscribers to its TV service just in the first year.
Why would Apple insist that the TV content producers provide their own streams? One theory is that Apple thinks it should focus on what it is best at, which is creating the hardware and software to bring the content to consumers. This theory holds that other tasks, like building the infrastructure needed for streaming, should be left to the companies that already specialize in it.
Another theory, though, is that Apple believes Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon would be less likely to penalize Apple’s service if the programmers were responsible for providing their own streams. Netflix has had quite a few problems in the past, including being forced to sign commercial agreements with Comcast, Verizon, and other broadband providers to keep its streams running fast and smooth.
Whatever the case may be, these talks at least tell us one thing: Apple is almost certainly working to bring a subscription-based TV service to market. We expect to see the service announced at June’s WWDC, with a launch in the fall.