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Network negotiations nix 2015 Apple TV streaming

Maybe 2016, maybe not

Fanbois hoping that Apple would disrupt the daylights out of television are, once again, going to have to wait to see what Cupertino thinks will make the idiot box sexy, with rights-holders proving the stumbling block.

While Apple has long described its Apple TV device as a “hobby”, underneath that lies deadly intent – it wants to do to television what iTunes originally did for digital music: disintermediate it from the producers and make it cheap and easy to use.

The long-rumoured TV streaming service (along with a new Apple TV device) was supposed to be announced at next week’s marquee World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC).

However, The Verge and others reckon that's off the list and the service will be delayed until sometime in 2016 – confirming a date mooted a couple of weeks ago by activist investor Carl Icahn.

Apple's design gurus are also said to be stumped at the challenge of finding anything exciting to do with an idiot-box, other than watching Game of Thrones.

The networks remain the stumbling block. As The Register noted last week, CBS wants the price to be right.

Other networks also don’t want to end up in the same position record companies found themselves in during the late 90s and 2000s, where iTunes completely overturned the revenue model and placed itself between the music conglomerates and their customers.

According to the latest reports, the original time frame for the launch of the Apple streaming TV service was in Autumn, US time (spring in Australia) when the TV networks traditionally debut new-season content, but that's now slipped.

Another problem is Apple’s desire to include live programming – and possibly sports – with the service, something the networks are generally opposed to for both financial and logistical reasons. It was also reported Apple wanted the networks to host the streams, taking the load of its data centres and its sometimes patchy cloud services.

In the end, however, what it all comes down to is money. There’s lots sloshing around in TV, and the networks and content producers want to keep every little bit they can. Apple, with its traditional 30 per cent cut on content, isn’t welcome on their turf, at least until prices come back into their favour. ®

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