I’ve seen a bunch of takes on Apple’s Monday event that all seem to call Apple TV “Channels” the long-promised “skinny bundle.” I’m not so sure that’s what it is.
The “skinny bundle” is the mythical idea that instead of buying a cable package from Comcast or whomever that includes 1000+ channels, you get to pick and pay for just the channels you want à la carte. For me that might be the networks, FX, HBO, and MASN. You might pick other options, and you’d only pay for the channels you want.
What Apple TV Channels seems to be, instead, is just a slightly easier way to add existing streaming services to your screen without having to make an account with each one. At $10/month, these add up to way more than a basic cable package very quickly.
Now, it’s totally sensible that the cable companies have more leverage to build more affordable packages at larger volumes, but I’d still expect that if I can get 100 channels or $60/month or so, and 1000 for $100, I should be able to build my own skinny bundle for at most $40. What Apple showed off seems to just be, “add Showtime for $10, and HBO for $10, and CBS for $8,” and so on, which doesn’t seem like a good enough deal vs. just having cable.
Which all leads me to an obvious conclusion: for decades it was accepted we were willing to pay $50-150/month for televised entertainment. It’s not sensible to expect the media companies will just suddenly be okay with us building skinny bundles for much less than that.