Apple eyes premium cable bundle with HBO, Showtime, Starz

After abandoning efforts to unite network and basic cable channels into an inexpensive cable package, Apple is in talks to sell a premium cable bundle featuring HBO, Showtime and Starz, Recode reports. The company already sells all three channels individually, but has reportedly approached the networks about combining them into a single package. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said there is no firm deal in place yet and couldn’t cite a target price for the proposed bundle. Buying monthly subscriptions to the individual networks through Apple currently costs $15 for HBO, $11 for Showtime and $9 for Starz.
As for the company’s own in-house video ambitions, The Information reports Apple has hired ex-YouTube and Spotify executive Shiva Rajaraman to overhaul its video and music operations. People familiar with the move said Apple has reached an impasse over the future of its ongoing video development efforts, with executives unable to agree on the direction moving forward. The company has considered bundling “its music, news and book offerings with new video and cable services that could be activated via the iPhone and work on Internet-connected TVs,” but that type of product would be a broad offering that is difficult to define and market. Rajaraman spent 8 years at YouTube hammering out licensing deals with high-profile clients like Disney, then moved to Spotify where he secured deals with both Time Warner and NBC.

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