Apple TV Keeps Bolstering Pay TV’s Business Model

Set-top adds access to authenticated Disney Junior service, plus Major League Soccer channel

Apple may still have big plans to disrupt the traditional TV business, but the tech giant has been leaning more on the friend side of the friend-foe line when it comes to pay television.

Apple TV users now have access to Disney’s Watch Disney Junior service — but it’s available only to subscribers of participating cable, satellite and telco TV providers. About a month ago, Disney Channel and Disney XD authenticated became available on the device.

Those come after Apple TV in June added Disney’s WatchESPN and Time Warner’s HBO Go, which are also available only with a subscription with participating pay TV providers.

In addition, Apple is said to be working with Time Warner Cable, to bring the cable operator’s TWC TV app to the Apple TV.

SEE ALSO: Apple Set-Tops Are Groundwork for ‘Grand Vision’ in TV, CEO Says

Undoubtedly, a portion of Apple TV users are “cord-cutters” who have dropped cable TV in favor of Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes or some combination of those and other services. But the addition of pay-TV-only services to the set-top should help sway those on the fence about canceling their cable or satellite package — not to mention remind cord-cutters what they’re missing.

The three Disney “TV Everywhere” services are currently available through Comcast, Cox, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, Charter, Cablevision Systems and Midcontinent Communications. The biggest operators not on board at this point are DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable.

Also Thursday, Apple TV added Major League Soccer’s Internet-video service, which includes free on-demand video highlights, player profiles and other programming. An MLS Live subscription, which starts at $14.99 per month, provides access to live streaming and archived versions of regular-season matches (subject to blackout rules). The MLS service also is available on Roku, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android phones and tablets, and Windows 8 tablets.

Other channels on Apple TV include Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube,, League Pass, NHL GameCenter, Vevo, The Weather Channel, Vimeo and Smithsonian Channel.

Apple says it has sold more than 13 million of the $99 Internet-connected set-top boxes to date, about half of which shipped in 2012.

Earlier this week, Apple re-released a software update for Apple TVs after the initial release last Friday disabled some devices. The 6.0 update adds iTunes Radio, direct streaming of iTunes content from the cloud and other features.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 1

Leave a Reply

1 Comment

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. FrankM says:

    Actually, Apple is chipping away at cable companies most profitable TV item — set top box rentals.

    With AppleTV (and Roku & smart TVs) authenticating more and more pay-TV services, cable customers have little use for multiple cable boxes in the home. Have one cable DVR, and stream recorded programs to an iPad without tying up the main set. Use authenticated apps on AppleTv or Roku for additional TV sets.

    How soon until cable companies start charging a “authenticated streaming device maintenance fee”? That seems more likely than them allowing you to buy a cable box or cable card.

    Remember, the cable industry lobbied to prevent coupon-elligible digital-to-analog converters from working on cable systems. Six years later, cable system are ceasing analog signals and requiring customers with old TVs to rent (not buy!) either a cable box or a digital tuning adapter.

More Digital News from Variety