• Disney, CBS in Talks With Apple on "iTunes TV"

    The Walt Disney Co. and CBS have expressed interest in providing programming on a proposed iTunes TV subscription service that Apple would be offering, according to published reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. The media giants are allegedly in negotiations with Apple on the service, which would be an online competitor to cable and satellite TV. Disney is said to be talking about providing programs that are currently broadcast on the ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channel networks, while CBS may provide shows from CBS and CW, according to the reports.

    The companies are not strangers to providing content via streaming media over the Internet. Both CBS and Disney have arrangements with Netflix to offer access to a range of shows to a computer or Internet-connected set-top box for a flat monthly fee. Netflix also streams Starz, MTV, Showtime, Discovery and A&E content. Apple's idea for this new iTunes TV service was discussed by Peter Kafka at All Things Digital last month, and he noted at the time that Disney would be a likely early adopter.

    Industry executives believe that if anyone jumps first, it will be Disney (DIS), since CEO Bob Iger has shown a willingness to experiment with Apple and iTunes in the past: In 2005, Disney was the first player to sell its programming on iTunes, via a-la-carte downloads.
    Apple has been talking about a $30-per-month subscription plan that would be unlimited and advertising-free. The report in The Wall Street Journal indicates some media companies are worried this service could cut into the business of selling bundles of cable programming to distributors like Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc, which air the programs with ads. The current proposal is supposed to be that Apple pay the media companies $2 to $4 per month per subscriber for broadcast networks and $1 to $2 per month per subscriber for cable network, according to the reports.

    image via Apple
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