Apple Inc. has hired a former executive of Time Warner Cable, reigniting speculations that the company is working to launch its own streaming television service. According a report in The Wall Street Journal, the tech giant has named Peter Stern as vice president, responsible for overseeing cloud services, which includes Apple Music and a potential streaming television service.
Stern Helped Time Warner Grow Its Cable TV Subscribers
Stern will report to Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet software and services at Apple, the news outlet reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Cue is responsible for managing the company’s growing services segment, which includes businesses like the iTunes Store, Apple Pay and Apple Music.
Stern left Time Warner Cable earlier this year when the company was acquired by rival cable company Charter Communications. He served in senior strategy and corporate development roles at the cable company. His most recent job title was chief product, people and strategy officer. In that role, Stern developed a strategy focused on customer service that helped Time Warner Cable grow its cable TV subscribers last year after nearly a decade of losses, according to the WJS report.
Stern joined Time Warner Cable in 2004. Prior to that, he worked at the cable operator’s former parent Time Warner. Before that, Stern was a consultant with McKinsey & Co.
Is Apple Preparing Streaming TV Service?
Apple Inc. has been rumored to be working on a subscription-based TV service since 2009. The company, however, hasn’t disclosed anything about this service.
Earlier last year, a report in The Wall Street Journal suggested that the company was preparing to launch a subscription-based streaming TV service at end of 2015. The publication cited unnamed sources, saying that the new streaming service would cost $30-$40 per month and be available on iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV.
Rumors suggested that Apple’s TV streaming service will offer up a package of 25 bundled channels. Report also suggested that the service will also include widespread access to live programming from local TV stations.
Apple was expected to announce the TV steaming service at the last year’s WWDC conference. Later Re/code reported that the company will launch the service in 2016.
In December, Bloomberg said in a report that the iPhone maker is putting its plans for the streaming service on hold because the idea is opposed by the cable companies and networks.
According to the WJS report, it is not clear “whether his [Stern] appointment means Apple will refocus efforts on launching a streaming television service.”
Stern is a well-respected cable industry veteran, who was a key Time Warner Cable executive involved in talks with Apple a few years ago about a deal to offer a joint television service over an the company’s set-top box.
“Hiring Mr. Stern could aid Apple’s efforts in television. Mr. Stern has deep knowledge of the cable industry’s economics and has relationships with major media companies,” according to the report.
Shares of Apple Inc. are up over 4% for the year. The stock gained $14bn in market value on Tuesday despite a broad market selloff. This surge in the stock is due to investors’ firm belief that Apple’s latest smartphone will benefit as Samsung’s latest competing device is facing problems. Pre-orders for the iPhone 7 are strong as per the reports from Sprint and T-Mobile on Tuesday. Both the carriers claim that the pre-orders have gone up by roughly four times from last year, but they did not disclose the actual figures.