Apple continues adding new channel partners to its Apple TV hardware, and now it’s rolling out four new ones today (via 9to5Mac), including Watch ABC for streaming local ABC affiliate content, Crackle for movies and TV, and KOR TV, a Korean language channel. There’s also Bloomberg, which is going to be streaming a live 24-hour news channel that provides content seven days a week.
This launch is just the most recent in what’s been an increasingly fast-paced rollout of new content partners on Apple’s set-top box, but it brings some interesting ingredients to the mix, including local broadcast TV streaming and a 24-hour news channel, which are key ingredients to what many users would consider basic TV service. Apple TV didn’t start off as a really viable cord-cutting alternative for people looking to ditch their cable subscriptions, but it’s been building up a piecemeal library of a la carte content that begins to become a truly worthy option.
It’s true that many of the services are still tied to cable service and TV packages, including the new Watch ABC channel and the HBO Go app that was launched previously, but it’s best to take all of these launches as baby steps in a larger plan that sees content unbundled from traditional sources. Apple’s Apple TV bet is a long play, and I think we’re only just starting to see the next curve around the bend on the long road to what will ultimately be a robust alternative to subscription-based bundled TV services.
Of course, that takes for granted these service providers can deliver content in a high-quality, reliable way. I’ve heard less than flattering things about the WSJ channel, which delivers live news content, but only during certain hours, unlike the Bloomberg effort. Still, the building blocks are falling into place, and Apple just needs to continue this rollout while avoiding a big blockade from legacy players along the way