Apple is hard at work developing its much-rumoured television service and pitching a unique feature for it that would allow viewers to bypass commercials, according to a new report.
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin claimed on Monday that Apple has recently pitched an ad-skipping feature for its upcoming television service, where the company would pay media companies for skipped views. Apple has sought rights from cable companies and networks over the past year for a television service that would enable users to watch live and on-demand content via its set-top box or an HDTV.
Citing unnamed people briefed on the conversations, Lessin reported that Apple has specifically told media executives that it wants to offer a premium version of its television service that includes ad skipping and compensation for networks. Apple is apparently eyeing deals with cable companies like US provider Time Warner Cable.
It was first reported in June that Apple attempted to expand its "hobby" Apple TV device by working with Time Warner Cable, allowing subscribers to watch Time Warner Cable content via Apple's set-top box and interface, although there was no word on whether the channels would be live or DVR/on-demand content.
Lessin said talks with media companies have been slow, as they are hesitant to approve Apple's foray into television, and rights owners apparently not keen on the idea of skipped ads. Because of this, the Apple TV has continued to be a niche device for Apple.
Calling the discussions highly secretive, and again citing unnamed people briefed on the discussions, Lessin said Apple CEO Tim Cook and senior vice-president Eddy Cue purportedly met media companies last week at a conference in Sun Valley. Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller was also involved in the talks.
It's uncertain how Apple's rumoured ad-skipping feature will differ from DVR and what else the company might be offering in its negotiations.
Whispers have circulated about a new form of the Apple TV for years, and speculation has stretched from a full-fledged HDTV set to an enhanced set-top box with content provided through network partnerships.
Cook notably discussed Apple's view on the television market during an appearance at the AllThingsD D11 conference in May, where he explained that the Apple TV had found many new customers in recent months and improved the television experience.
When later asked if Apple had any game-changing products coming down the pipeline, Cook confirmed that Apple had had some "incredible plans" in the works for a while.