The WSJ says that CBS and Disney are seriously considering Apple's plan to kill your cable box with iTunes TV show subscriptions. Oh, and that the Apple tablet thing is coming in March.
The WSJ says that Apple's plan for iTunes TV show subscriptions would have you pay a monthly fee for "access to some TV shows from a selection" of major networks, and that CBS and Disney are the two most seriously thinking about it. CBS would apparently offer up shows from both CBS and the CW, like Gossip Girl, while Disney would be offering up shows from ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel. What's interesting is that the networks could actually make more money per subscriber than they do from cable companies, with broadcast networks picking up $2-$4 per subscriber, and cable networks grabbing $1-$2. (Which has to piss cable companies off, no doubt why networks are treading carefully around this proposal.) Originally, Apple had floated something more like a traditional cable payment, like paying $30 a month for a big bundle of TV stuff.
All of this, of course, would fit into Apple's larger plan to remake the iTunes model with Lala, and Apple hopes to launch the service sometime next year. While the way Apple says songs and TV shows now would stick around according to the Journal, the combination of web-and-streaming-oriented music and TV subscriptions fundamentally changes the way iTunes would work.
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Oh, and of course, this is all happening as Apple "finalizes its plans for a tablet device," Apple's trying to launch "by the end of March." Interesting, that's what an analyst heard not too long ago. Killing cable and up-ending the publishing industry in one fell swoop? That's a pretty busy 2010. [WSJ]