back to article CBS supremo: Apple TV is still dead to me, just like ...

The CEO of broadcasting company CBS made Steve Jobs furious by telling him that he knew more about the "television business" than him. Jobs apparently blew up at brodcast exec Leslie Moonves because he had refused to sign up to a content agreement for Apple TV. Moonves trotted out the anecdote of his meeting last year with …


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  1. Lallabalalla

    I'm quite fancying an AppleTV box

    .. but CBS can shove their crappy content, anyway.

    1. Richard Ball

      Re: I'm quite fancying an AppleTV box

      Oh come on, Happy Days is worth $154.93 of anyone's money.

      (anyone in Britain, that is)

      Mine is on order, anticipating future installation of XBMC.

      1. Chad H.

        Re: I'm quite fancying an AppleTV box

        But Richard, CBS is also responsible for 2 1/2 jokes; they should give us Happy Days as Compensation.

      2. Lallabalalla

        Re: I'm quite fancying an AppleTV box

        Richie Cunningham's making some pretty good films these days....

        Happy Days? "I could care less".... as they say in America. No idea why they say that, though.

        No, Happy Days really is *too old.

        I could maybe re-watch a few episodes of Frazier though, if I had the time. But I don't think that's on CBS?

  2. g e

    CBS being cunning?

    They've maybe done the sensible thing and reviewed the history of how apple have dealt with other media co's historically and, realising they're a massive and likely important consideration for appletv decided they don't need apple pushing them around once they've signed up.

    Can make apple cry, will make apple cry. One of a few co's in a position to, so playing them at their own game, maybe. Or, perhaps Google have something in the CBS inbox, too, so they can afford to give apple a bit of a dig.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: CBS being cunning?

      By that reasoning apple must have something huge in Warners in box because google music (or whatever it's called) still doesn't have any Warner content.

      1. g e

        Re: CBS being cunning?

        Maybe they do... would help offset the losses of AOL...

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: CBS being cunning? a Fox

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Post-TV (broadcast) world

    With the amount of time shifting, streaming, and torrenting going on, the traditional TV broadcasters will end up like the music industry if they don't evolve.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Post-TV (broadcast) world

      But HDTV content tends to strain bandwidth caps. ISPs (especially Mobile ones) aren't ready for HD streaming yet. In any event, CBS is in a position where recording isn't as big a problem. Remember, they're a broadcast network as well as a producer. Their content literally goes out for free over terrestrial airwaves, and most people with a ClearQAM or ATSC tuner card (and a good-enough signal) can draw the raw MPEG-2 timestreams out of the copper/air. As long as the ads remain in them, they're not in a position to care.

  4. squilookle

    Playground stuff

    "I know more than you..."

    "No, I know more than you..."

  5. Gil Grissum

    Apple needs the broadcasters more than the broadcasters need Apple. Comcast is one of them, owning NBC. Comcast doesn't need Apple either because they already have an existing content delivery stream both via Cable and streaming via web. So Apple is going to be fighting an uphill battle in this topic. What does Apple have to offer the networks that the networks don't already have? What advantage is there in broadcasting content via an Apple TV? The TV industry isn't the same as the music industry. The music industry was facing a ton of illegal downloading thanks to Napster. Apple came up with a way for people to legally pay for and download songs. Thanks to the Kim DotCom trial, illegal movie downloads and streams have suddenly become scarce, so there isn't any incentive for anyone in the TV industry to want to partner with Apple.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Tim Cook

      is missing a play here, by not creating an iTV store for independent content producers.

      Usual deal - cheap content or free with ads, Apple gets 30%, you get 70%.

      Basically YouTube, but with money for everyone.

      Of course most people wouldn't make much, but there would a lot of interest from independents, and it wouldn't *all* be 10 second videos of silly dance routines.

      Apple would run a round past the big studios and get some cool points too.

      Is it going to happen? Nah.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        it wouldn't *all* be 10 second videos of silly dance routines.

        Some of it would be funny cat videos... :p

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is it going to happen? Probably, though not with Hollywood...

        Why the heck not? Plenty of indie films would shine on that format. Plenty of TV shows from outside the USA as well. Given the BBC's love affair with Apple I think we can assume they'll be on side from the start.

        Remember, the really good thing about the iStores is they turn content purchases into an impulse buy for lots of people rather than just deciding to buy a DVD and wait four weeks for it. Apple are planning to sell 4-10m TVs per year just to start with according to rumour, so there will be plenty of money in it for people.

        Taking a random search, you can already rent most of last year's Oscar nominees for best foreign films from iTunes for £3.50 for a month-peanuts if you can afford a £1200 iTV. So even if they can't get Hollywood involved they will probably be able to make it launch with a lot of content for a lot of countries and studios.

    2. ArmanX


      Megaupload was not the only pirate storage in the world... and just like pirating music didn't really drop off after Napster went offline, movie and TV show downloading hasn't gone offline either. It's just moved on to the next best thing, and will continue to do so for eternity.

      1. Gil Grissum

        Re: "Scarce"?

        This is true,

        But that "next best thing" isn't going to be Apple. There are existing Smart TV's that bring the web to your TV. They aren't selling very well because very few are willing to pay a premium for an Internet TV when they can buy a big screen LCD TV for less and plug it into Cable or Satellite. Apple has zero leverage to strong arm anyone in the TV industry to work with them. Movie content may be another subject altogether, but again, Comcast is much bigger than Apple and doesn't need them, much less CBS or any of the others. They lose nothing by not working with Apple. Apple on the other hand loses an opportunity to get content providers on board.

        1. DZ-Jay

          Re: "Scarce"?

          >> "They aren't selling very well because very few are willing to pay a premium for an Internet TV when they can buy a big screen LCD TV for less and plug it into Cable or Satellite."

          It could also be because they treat the Web on the TV as "The Web," just like a PC, and come with a scary-looking keyboard that further cements the idea that it's more like "work" than "passive entertainment."

          >> "Apple has zero leverage to strong arm anyone in the TV industry to work with them. Movie content may be another subject altogether, but again, Comcast is much bigger than Apple and doesn't need them, much less CBS or any of the others."

          True, they have zero leverage... right now. Just like they had zero leverage on the Music Industry at some point. More importantly, Apple does not need leverage on them, only the promise of increased profits from their vast user rolls.

          Of course, the content industry can choose to snob Apple, but that doesn't make it a good strategic decision, just a puerile pissing match.

          >> "They lose nothing by not working with Apple. Apple on the other hand loses an opportunity to get content providers on board."

          Actually, if Apple gets other content providers on-board, and their product and model proves successful, CBS may see themselves in a weaker position to negotiate themselves back into the fold.

          It is true that they lose nothing *right now*, but again I say that this may not necessarily be the best strategic decision. Streamed content and Internet-connected "smart" TVs seems to be the future of television, and so far nobody has been able to break the floodgates of revenue in that market.

          Apple, however, has a proven track record of entering emerging markets and raking in the profits for themselves and their partners.

          You're putting too much weight on the words of one self-aggrandizing CEO.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good point

      Megaupload's problems mean that Apple can't just release the iTV 36" without any help or content store from the TV companies and wink suggestively when people ask what they're going to load onto its hard drive. But I would hope the TV companies will play ball if Apple do have something amazing up their sleeve: a central iTunes store for Blu-Ray quality content would be an amazing thing for their market even if Apple want 30%.

      Or more brutally they could just load it with recognition software or some kind of huge database that snags the content off any DVD you put into it and stores it on board so you can play a DVD you've bought from whatever interface they've cooked up. But that would have the lawyers up in arms.

    4. Lallabalalla

      Another revenue stream is another revenue stream.

      That is all

      1. auburnman

        Re: Another revenue stream is another revenue stream.

        And that's the only consideration? So if someone paid you twenty quid a month to wear mittens and a blindfold with a product logo on them, you'd go for it?

  6. Asher Pat
    Thumb Up

    OMG, a spineful content executive that's not bullied by Steve? Incredible!

    Compared to the spineless music industry that grovelled to Jobs and Apple, and got subjugated forever, this guy did not blink. He will get the stick now from the media - NO ONE can be allowed to challenge the invincibility perception of the Church of the White Fruit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      iTunes are as good as they're going to get right now

      After the iTunes store, their next best option right now for a revenue stream appears to be Spotify. Excuse me while I burst out laughing.

  7. sgtrock

    Don't forget, CBS didn't just turn down Apple. The same management team refused to join Hulu, too. Every major U.S. OTA broadcaster except CBS has most of their content available through Hulu. That makes their content available through the Web, smart TVs, Roku boxes, Apple TV, etc.

    This CEO may be smart enough to run the second largest TV company in the world, but I think he's missing a HUGE bet. The response to Hulu's combination of a small subscription fee combined with limited commercials is positive, and the various consortium members seem to be very happy with how much they're making from it. The service keeps growing in both content and in offered services, anyhow.

    I think CBS risks losing a good deal of viewership as people's habits change. Obviously, this CEO doesn't think that risk is significant enough to be an issue.

    1. Gil Grissum

      Until people's TV habits change from watching a TV connected to Cable, AT&T U-Verse, or Satellite, I don't see Apple gaining much support from the industry for any sort of streaming Internet TV service when Comcast and the others already allow TV shows to be streamed to TV's, Smartphones, and Tablets. Since content providers already have existing content delivery methods, there's really nothing in it for them accept losing revenue to Apple and none of them are going to be willing to do that.

  8. fandom

    Another CBS series

    They also have a little known series called "Star trek"

    At least some people seem to like it, for whatever the reason

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I don't think so.

      At least in terms of the original series, I believe Paramount acquired the rights back from CBS to allow for distribution. They produced the series and own most of the other franchise rights, so they had leverage. In any event, all the series from The Next Generation onward definitely belong to Paramount (and thus Viacom) since they were either syndicated or aired on the UPN network Paramount ran in the 90s.

  9. arrbee


    If they keep true to form the BBC will pay Apple to include their stuff, and advertise its availability during every program break (and every 2 mins during QI).

  10. Mr Curnudgeon

    Happy Days, huh?


    Happy Days, AND Dynasty were both on rival network ABC.

    Well researched.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Happy Days, huh?

      Then what about Dallas? That was definitely a CBS prime-timer in the 80's.

  11. Frank Bough

    Was that really

    the whole article?

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