Apple’s long-rumored internet television service got some major confirmation today. Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference today, Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, confirmed that such a service is in the works and said that CBS would likely be a part of it.
“We’re very excited about it,” Moonves said. He said that he is currently in negotiations with Eddy Cue, the Apple executive in charge of content.
The Wall Street Journal reported back in March (paywall) that Apple was working on an internet TV service that would offer a slimmed-down bundle of channels. But Apple, of course, has been mum about its plans.
“I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying,” Moonves said today. “The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS.”
For what it’s worth, Sony’s internet TV service, PlayStation Vue, does offer CBS, along with NBC and Fox. Dish Network’s Sling TV, however, does not include CBS, nor any of the other broadcast channels.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s service would include CBS, ABC, and Fox (but conspicuously not NBC, due to a hang-up between Apple and Comcast, which owns NBC). It would also critically include ESPN, which Sling TV also offers but PlayStation Vue does not.
As important as CBS may be to an internet bundle, ESPN is likely even more important. Live sports are the primary reason many Americans refuse to abandon traditional television in favor of the internet.
But whatever channels Apple ends up offering, it appears as though its internet TV service is very real and very near. And it’s not everyday that a TV executive, only tangentially involved in the actual product, is the one to confirm its plans. It’s one thing for Dish and Sony to begin forming cracks in the pay TV bundle, but should Apple enter that space, the bundle could break entirely.
Many believe Apple will unveil its service at its developers conference in June, for release by the end of the year.