Shares of Apple opened Monday up 1% after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in early discussions with Comcast about a streaming-TV service delivered over the cable giant’s infrastructure to a new Apple set-top.
Comcast shares dropped 0.3% in early trading, to $49.84 per share. Apple’s stock price was up about 1%, to $538.25 per share. [UPDATE: Apple shares closed up 1.2% for the day, to $539.19 per share, while Comcast ended up 0.6%, to $50.30 per share, amid a broader market decline.]
Under the proposed service, Apple would deliver live and on-demand TV programming over a dedicated portion of Comcast’s last-mile broadband networks, according to the WSJ report, which cited anonymous sources. The service would use an Apple box, likely sold at retail, that would replace a cable set-top. The leak may be aimed at boosting investor enthusiasm for Apple, which has been trying to gain a foothold in the TV biz for years.
Apple and Comcast are not close to reaching a deal, the WSJ noted, and the companies are at odds over how much control Apple would have over direct customer relationships. Apple would need to secure TV programming rights separately, according to the report, rather than simply passing through Comcast’s TV service.
Word of the Comcast-Apple talks come after Time Warner Cable had reportedly been working with Apple to deliver a video service over a next-generation Apple TV device. Comcast has bid $45 billion to acquire TW Cable, with the deal pending regulatory review; the TW Cable project with Apple has apparently been tabled with Comcast’s takeover move.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com is said to be prepping an April launch of a dongle-like video-streaming device that would provide Netflix, Hulu and other services in addition to games.