Apple's expected subscription TV service could have a few more channels than originally believed.
Discovery and Viacom are in talks to add their channels to Apple's rumored subscription TV service, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the discussions. If the companies land a deal, it's possible their many channels, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC on the Discovery side and MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon on the Viacom side, could be brought to the service.
Apple is working on a Web-based subscription TV service that would stream channels to customers, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week. Major networks, including ABC, CBS, and Fox, are likely to come to the service, amounting to about 25 channels in total at launch, the report said. (Editors' note: CNET is owned by CBS.) It's believed that Apple will announce the service in June ahead of a fall launch, and that it could cost between $30 and $40 per month for streaming on all devices running Apple's iOS operating system, including the Apple TV set-top box.
If Apple has plans for a subscription TV service (it hasn't confirmed anything), it would find itself in an increasingly crowded market. Some television service providers, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable, offer streaming of live and on-demand television to mobile devices. Earlier this year, Dish jumped into the fray with Sling TV, which does what Apple's service is expected to offer. Sony is also planning an upcoming service to compete.
Ultimately, though, content is king, and attracting more providers will prove to be most important. If Apple can nab Discovery and Viacom and attract major networks, it'll put itself in competition with Sling TV -- arguably its chief competitor, if the Apple service ever launches.
The biggest challenge for Apple, however, might be getting NBCUniversal, the owner of NBC, on board. According to reports, due to a falling out between Apple and NBCUniversal owner Comcast over streaming talks last year, NBC currently has no plans to bring its service to the Apple TV service.
Apple declined to comment on the story. Neither Discovery nor Viacom have responded to a request for comment.
Update, 11:24 a.m. PT: Adds update on company comments.