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Comcast and Apple in Talks for Streaming Pay TV Service: WSJ

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According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Comcast and Apple are in talks about partnering on a new streaming video service, one that would offer both live channels and video-on-demand content. The project would combine Apple set-top box hardware with Comcast delivery to avoid last-mile congestion.

The report notes that ownership of customer data is a primary sticking point, with both companies wanting to be in control of the customer relationship and customer data. Apple is also asking for a portion of the monthly subscription fees.

While the report is tantalizing and has had the online video industry chattering since it broke last night, this project is far from a reality. No content providers are attached to the service yet. While the WSJ says that "Apple must acquire significant TV programming rights from media companies," one wonders if Comcast wouldn't be the better partner to negotiate those agreements, seeing as it's already a major cable TV provider. It's unknown what the monthly cost for this service would be.

USA Today notes that Apple's shares were up 1.2 percent this morning, while Comcast fell 0.7 percent.

Streaming pay TV services are sure to be a major topic in the next several years, as companies develop less-expensive online-only bundles designed to attract younger adults. Dish took the first firm step in this direction earlier this month when it announced a partnership with Disney for streaming content. Online bundles will certainly be a major move in the future of home entertainment, but negotiating agreements won't happen overnight.

Neither Comcast nor Apple is responding to media requests about the talks.

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