It was recently announced that Apple will roll out an online TV service. The service would offer about 25 channels, including channels such as: ABC, CBS and Fox. Apple has been dealing with Walt Disney Co, CBS Corp, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., and other media companies to offer a “skinny” bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN and FX. Apple’s service would be available across all devices powered by Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes. It is estimated that Apple’s TV service will cost about $30-40 per month.
This coming on the heels of Dish’s introduction of Sling TV, their $20 a month service for internet TV for devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Google Nexus Player for TVs, tablets, computers and smartphones. Dish’s programming will include: ABC, ESPN, TNT, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, Food Network, HGTV, and Travel Channel.
HBO plans to roll out its HBO Now streaming-only service this year, and CBS launched its All Access online streaming service last October. Of course, there are already services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime that offer many shows, after they have originally aired, at rates around $8 per month for service.
The trend to view programs, that until recently have been viewed on TV, on smart devices, is more than just convenience. It is also about money.
“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” This saying holds true for many things, however, when it comes to paying for a basic cable package of 200 channels—and you only care to watch maybe five channels—then the price that you are paying for the value is just not there. This has become more of a glaring issue for cable companies over the past decade.
As smartphone technology and internet services have been offering more and more options to customers to view their favorite TV shows when and where they want, it is undeniable that the traditional television cable package has taken a hit. Another factor leading, especially millennials, to opt for low-cost convenience options has been a sluggish economy. With the cost of cable services continuing to remain high, and technology enabling companies to offer low-cost alternatives, millennials are choosing to save money on these types of services.
So why is it such a big deal for Apple to get involved in this? Well, it is probably more likely for a millennial to own an iPhone rather than a TV. If customers will be able to watch a handful of channels that they really want, and don’t have to pay for that expensive 200-channel cable package, then we may be seeing a huge change in market demand. Will cable be able to grow and change with this trend, or is this the end of cable?