Here’s the iTunes TV Subscription I’d Pay For

By  |  Monday, November 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Apple TVOver at All Things Digital, Peter Kafka is reporting that he’s hearing that Apple wants to offer a $30 TV subscription service through iTunes, and is trying to stir up interest among content providers. He has very few details, but the basic idea of a technology company taking on cable with an Internet-based service appeals to me. (I’ve written in the past of my flirtations with ditching Comcast, although I remain a subscriber as I write this.)

Sooner or later, we’re all going to get all of our entertainment and information over the Internet, whether it’s from Apple or Comcast or someone else or a combination of multiple options. I’m not sure how it’ll all pan out, or how long it’ll take. But I do know what I’d like to see in such a service. Stuff like this:

A la carte options. I don’t watch 98 percent of the channels included in my cable package, and never will–and the only reason I’m paying for the tier of service I’m getting is to get one or two stations that interest me. I’d much rather be able to select from a handful of stations I know I’ll watch. Better yet, why can’t I pay for individual programs?

Diversity even cable can’t offer. I want niche programming on topics I’m interested in. I want every movie that’s extant, and every episode of every TV show–including ones that never came out on DVD.

One subscription I can watch anywhere and everywhere. I’d like to pay one flat fee for programming I can watch on my TV, my PC, and my phone. (That’s one reason why the idea of an iTunes-based subscription service is intriguing–I’ve already got iTunes on my computers, on my iPhone, and–courtesy of Apple TV–on my TV.)

Both live streams and a great DVR in the cloud. One of the reasons I still pay Comcast each month is because it’s still the best way to get news and other real-time programming. I wouldn’t pay an additional $30 a month for Subscription iTunes unless it brought me MSNBC and CNN and FOX and CSPAN. (Or, alternatively, unless they all become available online for free through some other means.) But I also want to be able to get anything my subscription qualifies me to watch at any time.

Is any of this too much to ask for? I’d cheerfully pay a lot more than $30 a month to the first company who offers it. ¬†And until it comes along, I’ll muddle along with a combination of Comcast, iTunes, Roku, Amazon on Demand, Slingbox, Netflix Watch Instantly, podcasts, various network-specific sites, and old VHS tapes. Between them, I figure they get me about two-thirds of the way to where I’d like to go…


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Mark Sigal Says:

    If the goal was to pick off the dollars that customers currently allocated towards pay-channels; namely, HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. it might work if for no other reason than when Tablet comes out you could have a TV anywhere offering to view same content on iPhone, Tablet, Desktop and Apple TV for one price.

    I do agree with others, though, that it sets up somewhat of an ALL-or-NONE as to whether same price includes Movies/TV and Music.

    Some fodder on this one in my post:

    Apple, TV and the Smart, Connected Living Room

    Check it out, if interested.


  2. tom b Says:

    I like the idea of getting the content I want instead of packages the networks want to sell me. Additionalyl, Time Warner is over priced in my area– $50 for internet; another $50 for basic cable– no discount. $50 plus $30 (to Apple) for the content I want sounds almost worth doing.

  3. JellyTech Says:

    I’m happy very happy, this is the end of the cable era. I dont have cable and I still rely on ( ) for good movies and music. Sorry, I wont pay for TV or Downloads. FTA Satellite is a good option too.

  4. Roger Ouellette Says:

    Harry, I agree. But, I dropped my Comcast completely. When they asked why I was dropping, I explained that I only watched the programs I want to see (channel surfing is not my idea of watching TV), and that meant I was watching cable at $6 an hour. I asked if I could pay a small fee for each program I wanted to see, and I was told that wouldn’t be possible. So, no cable — one month and counting.