Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is reportedly pitching a product to premium video content owners that would pay them when users skip the ads embedded in TV programming. The talks have been going on for at least a year, according to a report from former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.
The reports could fit with a patent application the computer and smartphone giant applied for last year, NBC Bay Area reported. That patent application described a way of "seamlessly switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library."
It's not clear how well Apple's talks with media companies have proceeded or how such a feature could be added to the TV and movie programs it already sells through its iTunes store.
The company's Apple TV device lets customers easily browse and purchase shows and movies from that online library of content, but the programming is already ad free.
An ad-skipping service could raise copyright concerns with content owners, regulators or even the courts. Services that interrupt program streams and insert additional material have brought on lawsuits before. In 2006, the major broadcast networks sued a chain of truck stops to block it from substituting their ads with other messages that were more relevant to truck drivers.
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