Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to be making some headway in his latest attempt to take over the living room.
With media and tech hotshots gathered here for Allen & Co.’s annual deal-making powwow, Cook spent some time recently huddled with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, according to sources.
Roberts, who heads the nation’s biggest cable-TV outfit, and Cook are hashing out how they might work together to allow Apple TV users to gain access to cable channels through the Web-connected set-top box.
Cook has been having similar talks with Time Warner Cable boss Glenn Britt, who is also on hand for the annual mogulfest in Sun Valley, Idaho.
That deal looks like it’s going to happen because Britt is more agnostic about being the so-called “dumb pipe.”
Time Warner Cable already has deals to pipe cable content through Roku and the Xbox game console.
Roberts, on the other hand, wants to be the corporate face for the consumer.
“He can’t stomach giving that up,” said a source.
However, Roberts, who has been talking to Cook on and off for months, doesn’t want to get left out. If Time Warner Cable is going to make Apple TV a more attractive product, Roberts wants to know what’s driving that deal.
Apple TV didn’t exactly revolutionize the living room when it launched in 2007. The company had little traction with the content guys to offer a game-changing device. The late Steve Jobs called it a “hobby.”
Activision boss Bobby Kotick spent time chatting with Disney boss Bob Iger. Could he be trying to drum up funds for a long-held desire to buy the gamer back from Vivendi?
Sun Valley kicked off in earnest yesterday with a conference on the sports leagues — which, depending on your point of view, will either save the pay-TV business or wreak havoc on the entire ecosystem.
Washington Post Chief Executive Don Graham asked NFL boss Roger Goodell why sports fees are now 80 percent of cable bills and whether that was sustainable.
Surprisingly, Goodell responded, “Probably not.”
He said that a range of devices and competing interests would help the NFL cut the pie in many more ways.
At presstime, Liberty Media Chairman Malone had yet to arrive, but his plan to push cable-TV consolidation is still causing mild panic among the mogul set.
Liberty owns a big slice of Charter Communications and is eager for a merger with Time Warner Cable.
“John Malone has a big presence here — he’s like a ghost,” said a source.