Former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Jessica Lessin is reporting at her new website that Apple is taking a somewhat unusual approach in its quest to acquire content for its upcoming television service. According to “people briefed on the conversations” between Apple and content providers, the company is touting the ad-skipping abilities of its upcoming service — specifically its ability to offer tiered subscriptions, in which premium subscribers would be able to bypass commercials, and in exchange, content providers would be compensated.
That’s what we know. What we don’t know, of course, is how all of this would work. In the discussion that has risen around Lessin’s report, many are speculating that this ad-skipping tech may take a form similar to the Dish’s AutoHop. It isn’t clear if this is the case, though. The report states that the ad-skipping tech “would allow users to skip ads and would compensate television networks for the lost revenue” (emphasis mine). That could mean one of several things, depending on whether this is a linear service that turns the Apple TV or rumored iTV into a BYO cable box, or the oft-discussed à la carte service, which would basically turn each channel offered by Apple into a Hulu-like app.
If it’s the former, Apple may be talking about making you pay just for the privilege of pressing the skip button during DVR’d programming. If it’s the latter, non-premium subscribers may be faced with “Your Content Will Resume in 30 Seconds” chyrons while a forced commercial plays onscreen, while big spenders simply receive a seamless edit similar to what you’d see on the Blu-ray release of a show.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. The talks, as Lessin points out, have been highly secretive. But whatever form this ad-skipping tech takes (and I for one think it has nothing to do with Apple’s patented ad-replacement technology, which would apple the service to swap in a different video feed during commercial breaks), I would imagine that content providers are certainly intrigued by the notion of regaining a little of the revenue lost as a result of ad-skipping.
Via: [Jessica Lessin]