LOS ANGELES - Apple is reportedly developing ad-skipping technology that would let owners of its Apple TV set-top box and future television devices watch shows without commercials.
Apple executives have privately briefed at least two owners of broadcast TV networks and cable channels, as well as some of the biggest U.S. pay-TV systems. One proposal is for Apple to reimburse programmers for skipped ads.
The company is seeking to develop TV products with broader appeal than Apple TV, a set-top device purchased by 13 million consumers, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in May at the D: All Things Digital conference. Apple TV is more appropriate for "hobbyists" than mainstream viewers, he said. Apple continues to work on a "grand vision" to update TV-viewing that remains "much like 10 or 20 years ago," Cook said.
With advertising accounting for the largest share of their revenue, commercially supported TV networks have resisted skipping technology. Dish Network Corp. introduced ad-skipping for broadcast network TV shows in its Hopper TV set-top box in March 2012. 21st Century Fox Inc., Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal and CBS Corp. sued, claiming the service will destroy free, over-the-air prime-time television. Dish sued the networks, seeking a court ruling that it isn't infringing copyrights.