There's been a fresh round of "Apple is building a TV" rumors lately, and now comments by CBS CEO Les Moonves during his company's earnings call may reveal more about what Cupertino would like to do. Many of the rumors are based on quotes by Steve Jobs in his biography that he "cracked" a way to make an integrated TV set that was easier to use -- a major jump from the current Apple TV add-on box. While responding to analyst questions about why CBS isn't on Hulu, Moonves mentioned the network did not join in "Apple TV" for the same reason: because it (like Hulu) was an advertiser split.
As we've discussed at length on the podcast, any efforts to remake how the TV business works won't get far without content, and so far CBS and its fellow studios have not been interested in playing ball. Why is that? According to Moonves, current deals (with cable and satellite, for example) are worth "hundreds and hundreds of millions" in guaranteed cash payments, and rather than seeking a share of advertising down the road, he thinks a "guaranteed revenue stream is a good way to go." Hit the source link to read the full transcript at Seeking Alpha or check after the break to read his words for yourself. It's a revealing look at why the potential task left to Tim Cook (or his counterparts at Google, Microsoft, and wherever else) of negotiating a new business model for home video may be even harder to crack than designing the perfect UI.