Would you pay $30 a month to watch TV via iTunes?
That’s the pitch Apple has been making to TV networks in recent weeks. The company is trying to round up support for a monthly subscription service that would deliver TV programs via its multimedia software, multiple sources tell me.
Apple (AAPL) isn’t tying the proposed service to a specific piece of hardware, like its underwhelming Apple TV box, or its long-rumored tablet/slate device. Instead, it is presenting the offer as an extension of its iTunes software, which already has a huge installed base: A year ago, Apple said it had 65 million iTunes customer accounts.
The big snag here (besides not so little things like, "hey, there aren't any new episodes of The Big Bang Theory!") is, as Kafka notes, the potential threat to cable networks carriage fees from cable and satellite companies. For now, carriage fees are, if not the proverbial golden goose, at least a few golden eggs. Either way, I can't see cable or broadcast networks (who are now trying to get their fare share of carriage fees) doing anything to compromise carriage fees any time soon.