Is Apple TV the New Cable Channel?
Bloomberg is reporting that Apple and Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) are close to a deal to bring cable television to the Apple TV.
TWC, which already has apps for Roku Inc. boxes and select smart TVs, is also scheduled to launch an app for the Microsoft Corp. Xbox this summer. (See TW Cable App Debuts on Roku and Xbox Puts Time Warner App on Tap.)
Cable operators are working overtime to make sure their video services are available on every connected screen. And while most would prefer to own the user interface, the trade-off is that cable companies may be able to appeal to more consumers if they agree to cede control of the user interface to retail partners. That logic is behind Time Warner's app strategy, but also other cable deals such as Cox Communications Inc.'s trial with Fanhattan in California. (See Cox Flirts with Fanhattan.)
Meanwhile, cable companies may find Apple is now in the right frame of mind to negotiate partner deals. While the company shipped 5 million Apple TV devices in 2012, competition is heating up in the media hardware market. Apple will need television content to stay competitive with retail rivals and perhaps ultimately to turn the Apple TV into something more than a "hobby."
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable