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Report: Apple to Approach Station Groups About OTT Service

Apple sees considerable value in local television, according to a report in Re/Code, enough so that it aims to have its as yet unlaunched over-the-top service offer local station programming. “That would distinguish Apple’s planned offering from those already available from Sony and Dish’s Sling, which to date have only offered local programming in a handful of cities, or none at all,” reports Peter Kafka.

Such inclusions will likely mean delays in the online TV launch, which is pegged to early fall. Re/Code reported Apple’s OTT plans earlier this year.  As we’ve seen with networks getting station groups on board with TV Everywhere and similar services, sealing up rights agreements is tricky and time consuming. As Re/Code notes, ABC spent two years getting the rights to show the full live, linear feed for its Watch ABC app, and only its owned stations currently offer the service.

Apple’s interest in local news may be counterintuitive, says Re/Code. “The popular image of a Web TV watcher doesn’t sync with someone who watches, say, the local TV news.”

But Apple plans to go as broad as possible with its OTT foray.

Let the negotiations begin.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.