Apple’s grand plans for TV, which have been rumored for a number of years, have been abandoned and the company’s efforts have been reduced to building a glorified TV guide.
For years now, industry watchers have been expecting Apple to make a major play for the TV space, similar to the one it made for the music industry back in 2003 with iTunes. However, friction between Apple and giant content distributors, coupled with the fact that the TV industry isn’t losing money hand over fist like the music industry was back in the noughties, has forced Apple to abandon its plans of selling content directly to consumers.
Instead, the company has been mostly focusing on apps as way to break into the TV space and offer users a value proposition for its Apple TV. But the company is also focusing on its TV guide feature, that can tell users what’s on TV or on Netflix, Hulu and other apps. According to a report from Recode, Apple is banking on this feature to try and become a portal for users searching for content, no matter which distributor ends up pushing that content.
According to this same report, industry partners have mixed feelings about Apple’s plans. For one thing, distributors would of course like their shows to be easier to find, but they dread relinquishing control and giving Apple power. Because make no mistake, if Apple’s TV guide service, which would also be available on the iPhone and other Apple devices, does become popular, the company will suddenly hold a lot of clout in the industry. Perhaps then it would be easier for Apple to enact its true plans and start selling content and TV directly to users, just as it wanted.
However, Apple still has a long way to go before it can get TV partners on board and before the popularity of its services start affording it real power in the industry.