Technology

Apple Said to Hold Talks With CBS on TV Service


By Andy Fixmer

(Bloomberg)—CBS Corp. is in talks to offer television shows through a subscription-based online service planned by Apple Inc. (AAPL), the maker of the iPhone and iPod media players, a person with knowledge of the discussions said.

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC is also holding discussions with Apple, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The talks are preliminary and an accord may not be reached, said the person, who sought anonymity because negotiations are private.

The service would give iPod and iPhone users an alternative to buying downloads through Apple's iTunes service. Apple wants to introduce the subscription product next year, the Wall Street Journal reported. Owners of Apple TV, a device that allows iTunes media files to be viewed in living rooms, would be able to buy subscriptions to TV shows, the person said.

Apple doesn't comment on rumor or speculation, Tom Neumayr, a spokesman, said in an interview. Gil Schwartz, a spokesman for CBS, didn't respond to requests for comment, nor did Kevin Brockman, a spokesman for ABC.

Apple offers more than 50,000 TV episodes for sale, the Cupertino, California-based company said in October. Prices range from 99 cents to $2.99. ITunes sells passes that allow users buy an entire season's worth of shows, for example $49.99 for the first season of Fox's "Glee."

CBS Corp., based in New York, may offer programs from both its CBS and CW networks, the Wall Street Journal reported. CW, a joint venture between CBS and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., airs shows including "Gossip Girl" and "Vampire Diaries."

Disney may include programs from its ABC, Disney Channel (DIS) and ABC Family networks, the Wall Street Journal said. The company was the first to sell shows and films on iTunes. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is Disney's biggest individual shareholder and a director.

CBS (CBS) fell 4 cents to $13.86 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Disney, based in Burbank, California, dropped 9 cents to $32.31. Apple climbed $2.13 to $200.36 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net.

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