Apple's aggressive negotiation style said to be hindering its TV streaming efforts

New light has been shed on Apple's long-rumored efforts to launch a TV streaming service, and the struggles the company seems to have faced in doing so. Difficulties in securing deals for the service reportedly come down to the company's aggressive negotiating style, and what TV execs considered unrealistic demands.

From The Wall Street Journal:

In online TV, Apple wants to combine a selection of popular live channels with an on-demand library stockpiled with full seasons of hit shows. The streaming TV service pitched to Disney would have cost $30 a month.Apple's roaring success and assertive negotiating style are kinks in that strategy. Media companies worry that agreeing to Apple's sweetheart terms could allow traditional cable-TV distributors to demand the same deal and make it harder to recoup their investments in original shows.

Apple, led in negotiations by Eddy Cue, apparently pressed on through stalled talks with the idea of a "skinny bundle," a collection of popular channels offered for a lower monthly rate.

Apple's Mr. Cue began pitching Disney, Fox, CBS and other media companies on the streaming-TV service. The goal was to attract consumers who have dumped their cable-TV supplier with 25 popular channels, anchored by the broadcast networks.

Part of the trouble comes from the fact that, while Apple's negotiating tactics worked well on a music industry that was facing the threat of piracy, the TV industry doesn't see itself as being in the same position. Many execs, therefore, feel like they can wait for more favorable terms.

In the meantime, Apple has started funding original content, though Cue has previously insisted that it's not the sign of a wider push into that arena, already occupied by the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Apple is helping to produce the will.i.am-hosted Planet of the Apps, and recently acquired the rights to a spinoff version of James Corden's popular Carpool Karaoke.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

17 Comments
  • So it's something like this... Apple: this is what we want. Tv exec: we can't afford that. Apple: we don't care. We're apple. Tv exec: :/ Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • @Gator352 Since the inception of cable TV, this is how it has gone: Cable company: We're giving you 100 channels of junk for the low, low price of $(way too much) a month. Consumer: But we only want eight of those channels. Cable company: Too bad. Take it or leave it. Consumer: We would shop around but you're the only game in town. Cable company: Too bad. Take it or leave it. Consumer: We're hooked and you know it. Cable company: **** straight.
  • you apparently aren't familiar with slingtv or hulu. The only story is Eddy Cue sucks at negotiating deals. The last media deal he negotiated was deemed illegal and cost Apple nearly a billion dollars
  • Sling is way overpriced. Sent from the iMore App
  • 20 package is enough. It has already beaten the proposed $30 fee by apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • Too much for only 20 channels.
  • Sling is an excellent deal. Sent from the iMore App
  • How is $20 "overpriced"?? Sent from the iMore App
  • Tv exec: Staahhhhp Apel, we no has da monies Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm glad Apple is playing hardball with media companies. Cord cutting is accelerating.
  • Agreed. All the Android a-holes on this forum eager to criticize Apple don't realize that this will help them as well. Idiots.
  • Projecting too much your own obsessions?
  • What does it have to do with Android?
  • I'm glad someone is playing hardball but this story left out some of the more nitty gritty details of Cue's negotiation tactics. From other accounts he showed up late to at least one meeting and basically had one argument and that was summed up as "we're Apple". It sounds like he was kind of smug and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in the negotiations.
  • Apple has always struck me as a company who knows its followers will always be there so they can strong arm the weaker companies for what they want. That's why cell carriers will bend over backwards to have the iPhone on their roster. Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree that their products are great. In no way could I ever dispute that. But sometimes I wonder if their popularity causes them to act in a way less consumer friendly. Not saying that this particular story is a case of that. But when a company knows they can "do no wrong", how far will they go?
  • Unrealistic demands ? Many of these companies are cable companies... HBO has HBONow app separate service,,, they have no trouble, (Although took long time to get where they are now) with web only service Don't see why others can't do the same... Although it always comes down to business deals. Apple likes saying that allot. Apple TV already has separate apps for channels anyway (Netflix, Hulu etc)..... so if it was hurting the cable companies streaming, don't u think they wouldn't have done this?