Comcast, Apple reported to be in talks about a TV service

  • Article by: BOB FERNANDEZ , Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Updated: March 24, 2014 - 8:54 PM

Rumors come as Comcast faces regulatory reviews.

– Comcast Corp., which inked a deal last month with streaming service Netflix Inc., is now talking with Apple Inc. about advancing that company’s long-cherished dream of entering the streaming TV business in a big way, according to sources and a published report.

Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone and the iPad, is also speaking with programming companies about acquiring additional entertainment or news content. Apple TV’s current content includes free movies, TV reruns and music.

The talks’ dual track suggests that the Cupertino, Calif., tech icon is getting more serious about the TV business as Comcast, the nation’s largest residential-Internet provider, faces regulatory reviews of its proposed $45.2 billion deal for Time Warner Cable.

A combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable could control one-third of the nation’s broadband market, and its network would reach almost 60 percent of U.S. homes, Buckingham Research Group analyst James Ratcliffe said Monday. Any loss of Comcast cable-TV customers to an Apple TV service would likely be erased by higher broadband revenues at Comcast, Ratcliffe said.

A new Apple TV service could take one of two forms: an Apple set-top box that costs about $99 and delivers the TV service of Comcast or other cable-TV providers, or an Apple set-top box delivering Apple’s own TV service over the Internet.

On Monday, Comcast shares rose 0.6 percent to close at $50.30. Apple shares jumped 1.2 percent to $539.19. Netflix slumped by 6.7 percent to $378.90.

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