Cable network executives would not comment on Apple's proposed $30 a month subscription video on demand buffet package.
The Wall Street Journal's All Things D site reported Nov. 2 that Apple is pitching networks on the proposal, which would allow consumers to access iTunes' full complement of cable and broadcast network-based shows - currently offered on an individual basis for $1.99 for a standard signal and $2.99 for a HD feed - for a flat monthly subscription. It wouldn't require separate hardware, such as the Apple TV set-top.
Most cable networks offer their top shows for download via iTunes. The Journal speculated Disney might bite first, based on past tie-ins with iTunes, but said no programmers have committed to the idea and further said Apple has floated the concept in the past.
Even if networks decide to take Apple up on its offer, Leichtman Research Group president Bruce Leichtman doesn't believe there will be much consumer interest for the package. He said Apple has not fared well with sales of individual TV shows, pointing out that consumers downloaded only 100 million shows from iTunes between 2007 and 2008 compared to 2 billion songs.
"Consumers have shown little to no interest in buying TV through iTunes," he said. "The subscription package is like a concept in search of a market."