Apple's struggle to reach agreements with content providers for its streaming TV service has been well documented in the past year.
Indeed, back in October the company released a new Apple TV set-top box without the pay TV feature that many had presumed it was designed to host.
Now, according to reports, the company may be pondering a solution that would guarantee that problem would, at least partially, go away; buy up an entire network of top channels
Apple is said to be monitoring goings-on at US cable giant Time Warner, following its CEO's admission that he's willing to entertain a sale.
According to a New York Post report (via MacRumors): “Eddy Cue, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s top lieutenants, who's in charge of content deals, has been keeping tabs on proceedings at Time Warner, a source close to Apple said.”
While the New York Post's report also mentions a host of other possible suitors for Time Warner, it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility for the world’s richest company to take control of the content it seeks.
The Time Warner network includes CNN, Cartoon Network, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV and, of course, the Warner Bros studio – which is a decent starting point for any new streaming service.
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Many of Apple’s problems in securing deals with television networks have arisen through its desire to offer a "skinny" bundle, making available a core range of around 25 channels.
However, talks with big companies such as Fox and Disney have unravelled due to an unwillingness to unbundle their own channels for such a service.
For example, Fox is unwilling to offer its network channel without the cable offshoot FXX, while Disney doesn't want to give Apple access to ABC without ESPN bundled in too.
Obviously, Apple can’t buy up everything, but a multi-billion-dollar deal for Time Warner might be enough to get the ball rolling as it seeks to realise its vision for the Future of Television.