2015 could well be the Year of the Online TV streaming. Dish Network has already launched Sling TV containing a slew of popular networks including ESPN. DirecTV and Sony are planning to launch similar services of their own.
And now we have the first concrete evidence that Apple is planning one of its own. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks with networks which would be part of a 25 channel slimmed-down service and would be available on iOS devices as well as Apple TV.
The WSJ says Apple’s service would feature ABC, CBS and Fox and provide cable networks such as ESPN and FX. If you note that NBC is missing in this lineup then you would be right. Apparently Apple and NBC’s parent company, Comcast, had a falling out over discussions over working together on a streaming TV service that would have combined the two companies’ strengths, but according to the WSJ, Apple felt Comcast wasn’t totally serious about the project.
It may be difficult for Apple to really got off the ground with its service without NBCUniversal’s popular cable networks like USA or E!, but it apparently is forging ahead.
WSJ sources say Apple is hoping to charge $30 to $40 per month and have the service launch sometime in September.
As more online services launch down the line, ESPN is proving to be a valuable asset. Sling TV markets ESPN’s availability on its service right on the front page of its website. Sony is ready to launch Playstation Vue, but it won’t include any of the Disney networks meaning the ESPN family will be noticeably absent from that platform.
If the Apple online TV service gets ESPN, then it would be a huge feather in its cap and along with the already announced HBO Now for iOS devices in April, then it may hit the ground running in September. And if Apple can resolve its differences with Comcast, then this might be one of the bigger standalone services going into the final quarter of the year.