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WSJ: Apple likely to push TV subscription option in 2010


The WSJ and the New York Times, among other outlets, are reporting that Apple is in preliminary discussions with ABC and CBS (at a minimum) about a possible subscription plan arrangement for broadcast and cable TV channels. This idea was noted by All Things D in November, which cited a target price of $30 a month for subscription access via iTunes. If the company can get content providers signed up, the service would be likely to launch next year, say both papers.

It's also possible that Apple's Lala purchase could play into this new model, with 'shows in the cloud' and micropayment options that would improve the user experience for TV-watching. Meanwhile, the NBC-Comcast deal might throw a wrench into the works for Apple, and it's not clear that the other broadcast and cable networks are inclined to make a deal at this point; while CBS has few cable assets to protect, and ABC/Disney have a powerful vote in favor of collaboration with Apple, the other companies may have more to lose by throwing in their lot with the iTunes juggernaut. NBC, in particular, has a hit on its hands with the ad-supported Hulu site, now the second-biggest programming provider according to comScore. If only there were some kind of portable viewing device that could play back your videos...

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