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Rumor: Upcoming Apple Television Service Could Offer Ad-Skipping

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There's nothing like a hot Apple rumor to set the tech world ablaze, and today former Wall Street Journal editor Jessica Lessin has tongues wagging with an unsourced "exclusive" that Apple's long-awaited television service might let viewers skip commercials. Broadcasters aren't typically keen on ad-skipping -- just look at the legal actions against Dish's Hopper DVR -- so Apple is reportedly sweetening the deal: according to Lessin, media companies will be paid for those skipped ads.

According to Lessin's unsourced story, Apple wants to offer a premium level of service, no doubt for a higher price, that will let viewers skip ads. That higher fee will go to compensating broadcasters for missed ad views.

While Lessin doesn't quote any executives who have met with Apple, she points to a patent granted to Apple last year, which would let a service swap in a replacement video stream during a commercial break.

If the rumors are true, StreamingMedia.com shares Lessin's conclusion that broadcasters are unlikely to take the bait. Even though DVRs already allow viewers to skip ads on recorded programs, broadcasters getting behind such a service would destabilize the traditional commercial model and send a highly negative message to advertisers.

In brighter Apple news, a Frost & Sullivan report says the Apple TV set-top box had 56 percent of the streaming devices market in 2012. Its closest competitor was Roku with 21 percent.

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