December 9, 2015 Last Updated 10:59 am

CBS CEO says Apple has placed Apple TV service ‘on hold’

Morning Brief: Huffington, the digital magazine from The Huffington Post, originally launched in the sprint of 2012, gets its first update since the release of iOS 9

The CEO of CBS Les Moonves told conference attendees in New York that Apple had decided to place its Apple TV subscription plans ‘on hold’ – a sign that negotiating with the broadcasters to create a system that would upset their business plans might be harder than first anticipated.

(It should be added that those in attendance paid $3495.00 to get the inside scoop on the industry. But if they dozed off during the sessions they could always read about what was said, for free, in the trade press.)

AppleTV-300Apple’s TV service plans were always going to be at the mercy of the content providers, and what they would charge for access to their programming. It never felt to me like a good business for the company to be in unless they could invent such a vastly better experience than cable. That hasn’t happened, so Apple’s new move is to create a new app store where developers can create new channels. If one or more of these really catch on, or enough of the legacy broadcasters come on board, it might put enough pressure on the networks to eventually want to be part of the Apple TV system in a bigger way than they currently are.

For now, the broadcasters are content to create apps with limited, archived content on them. Nice, but hardly live TV. Though even this might prove to be too much, as cord cutters decide that access to apps may be a good substitution for a cable bill.

But even Moonves thinks eventually Apple will have a subscription service: “This will happen. People will not be spending money on channels they don’t want to watch,” Moonves said.

The New York Times reported last night that Disney has invested another $200 million in Vice Media, raising its total investment in the media company to $400 million. The investment raises Disney’s stake in the company to 10 percent, but doesn’t change the valuation of the company.

The investment will be used to create new programming, a sign that such programming will be expensive to produce, and that current cash on hand won’t be enough.

The alternative approach, of course, would be the acquihire, but until Vice programming proves popular enough to justify such an investment Disney and others will simply invest to see what results from the incremental investments.

In case you missed it on Monday, the NYT> reported that Proctor & Gamble has changed agencies – from Publicis Groupe to Omnicom.

PG-logo-225Brands change agencies all the time, of course, though changes at P&G would always be news. But in the case, it is the reasons for the move that are important:

Procter & Gamble spent $2.7 billion on advertising in the United States last year and $3.1 billion in 2013, according to Kantar Media. The company has also been aggressively cutting costs, saying last year that it would sell about 100 brands to focus on about 10 core product lines.

This level of cost cutting will have an effect on the ad business, but also will likely hurt publishers who currently get a share of P&G’s $2.7 billion ad budget.

Huffington, the digital weekly magazine from The Huffington Post, received an app update this morning, its first since August.

HuffMag-700Version 3.2 is about a “better experience for our extensive back issues and some minor bug fixes.”

The most recent reader reviews had complained of problems with the app, which had not received an update since the release of iOS 9.

The digital magazine was one of the first to be launched by a web property, back in April of 2012. At the time, a number of web brands tried their hand at digital magazines, but few had enough content flowing through their websites, and enough long form material, to make a magazine work for them. There also were simply not enough readers to make to work, as new advertisers did not embrace digital magazines (and still don’t) because of the lack of demographic information available on them.

Huffington originally tried the paid subscription model, but eventually went free.

The app uses the Joomag platform, one of the few missing from TNM’s Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms, as the company never responded to my numerous inquiries.

The digital magazine remains a mobile-first magazine, with a simple, but native design, that makes it easy and enjoyable to read, at least prior to the iOS 9 update. On my iPad the app, once updated, appears to work fine.

But the magazine still contains no advertising and no staff box, making one wonder just how long the publisher will continue with the effort.

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