Rumour: CBS and Disney consider subscription service with Apple

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RUMOUR MILL: CBS Corporation, the owner of CBS and owns 50% of the CW, and Walt Disney, which owns such channels like ABC and ESPN, are considering a move with Apple that could take on the cable and satellite TV industry by offering a subscription service, according to the Wall Street Journal, talking to “people familiar with the matter”.

Walt Disney is expected to become part of the service as Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, is the largest shareholder in the company after Disney bought out his animation studio Pixar.

The subscription service could offer access to some TV shows – like Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl and NCIS – from a selection of television networks for a monthly fee. Apple is trying to get all the necessary licensing deals completed so they can launch the service in 2010.

If successful, this could actually alter the economics of the television business, as they try to push their shows on the Internet, threatening providers like Comcast – which just acquired a majority shareholding in NBC Universal – and DirecTV; who provide a multitude of channels according to your subscription.

The Wall Street Journal article also hints at the plan could be tied with a possible revamp of iTunes as it finalises plans for a tablet device, which Apple has not confirmed or denied any rumours.