Apple has reportedly been pushing for years on cable companies and networks to provide their programming via Apple TV in an attempt to lour cord cutters to a more attractive selection and pricing model. But Apple's negotiations have fallen flat time and time again, as Apple has had little to no leverage to wield at content owners, but the market is finally starting to change.
Cable and Dish providers are losing roughly 70,000 subscribers per month. Comcast had a recent quarterly turnaround, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. The cord cutting trend will continue and it appears content providers like Disney are taking notice, with or without Apple.
ESPN has been experimenting with pay-to-play content without needing a cable subscription, and according to The Information the Disney owned network be adding more sports content to the mix. The NFL and NBA will not be offered, but regional college sports bundles or niche leagues are said to be in play.
And where is Apple?
Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are all likely to be receiving the EPSN options, but why is Apple not out in front of this, locking up exclusive deals? Apple is clearly interested in acquiring music services, paying out big dollars to artists in order to achieve exclusivity for Apple Music, but when it comes to ESPN, TNT or other Disney or Viacom owned networks, Apple seems less than interested in cutting exclusive deals to build Apple TV as the leading cord-cutting device cable and dish opponent. Why?...
There are two areas that drive cable TV subscriptions. Live sports and cable news networks. Tech giants like Apple do not seem to understand sports and how they draw in loyal subscribers and buyers. Perhaps the Golden State Warriors might get through to Cook and company, who seem gun-ho on their local sports success. If Apple wants to dominate the living room, exclusive deals with sports content creators like NBA and NFL, or exclusive deals with the providers of this content need to be made. If not, Apple will just be another also ran in the living room streaming industry.
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