There’s been recently rumbling on the Internets about Apple’s rumoured upcoming TV service as something which would “erase the distinction between live and on-demand content” – and having some spare time on my hands, I have been mulling over how this might work and I think the answer is right in front of our faces already. iTunes Match.
iTunes Match is Apple’s slightly oddball service which takes all the music you’ve ever purchased & ripped or just “acquired”, and “matches” it in iCloud for you to redownload so long as you keep paying a fee. The way this works out well for the record companies is, whenever you play one of those songs, they get a cut of that fee. So what if we took iTunes Match, and expanded it to a TV based system?
Here’s how I see it working:
- Available on the Apple TV set-top box
- Same yearly fee – part of iTunes Match.
- While your subscription is active, you can queue up anything on live TV to “record”.
- In the background, Apple has all these shows, or records them once, ad-free to iCloud.
- Your recorded shows are available to stream, ad-free,so long as your subscription is active.
- Every time you play a show, Apple keeps their % and distributes the rest of the $’s to the content producers.
- Bonus points: You could also pull up anything from the past program guides to stream on-demand regardless of if you “record” it.
I say “record” because I’m not sure whether Apple could just make everything available post-airing, or whether for some historical legal reason you would be expected to request to “record” a show.
There’s obviously really large holes in this discussion (like how do normal iTunes purchases fit in with this?), and many things would sway one way or the other based on the crazy world of American Cable providers, but it seemed sensible enough to write this down somewhere now. Things like ads would be a could-go-one-way-or-the-other type thing, I could see a world where advertising made it into the shows, but then, if it doesn’t help users OR Apple, why would they settle for that?