Apple’s video streaming strategy may be getting clearer, thanks to a report that the company’s subscription TV service will go live in November and cost $9.99 per month.
According to Bloomberg, the tech giant will initially include just a handful of shows, with plans to expand. At $9.99, the service would be the same price as the basic Apple Music and Apple News+ subscription services.
Apple TV+ is part of the company’s broader push to goose its Service revenues as iPhone sales stagnate. The company is also getting ready to introduce Apple Arcade, its subscription gaming service, which will reportedly cost $4.99 per month.
Apple TV+ will have a free trial period, according to Bloomberg. The service is entering a tough landscape, facing streaming leader Netflix, which also offers a basic service at $9.99 but has already spent several years building its original content catalogue. And Amazon.com has done the same for its Prime Video service.
In terms of timing, Apple TV+ will likely debut about the same time as the Disney+ streaming service. The latter will have a monstrously large content library, thanks to its Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel properties, and will only cost $6.99 per month. Disney will also offer a bundle for $12.99 per month that includes Hulu and ESPN.
Down the road, AT&T and NBCUniversal will be rolling out their own competing services.
The Financial Times reported that Apple’s response to this stiff competition has been to massively increase its budget for original programming, from a previously announced $1 billion to $6 billion.
That’s still short of the $15 billion Netflix is on track to spend, but Apple is a cash machine with nearly limitless resources that will allow it close that gap over time if it chooses. Netflix is financing shows through debt, which could be problematic if the coming wave of competition slows subscriber growth.
Bloomberg says it’s unclear just how Apple TV+ will release shows, whether one week at a time or a few at the start. Apple did not confirm pricing or the launch date to Bloomberg.
Among Apple’s first shows is The Morning Show, for which the company just released a first full trailer. Bloomberg notes that Apple will spend $300 million for two seasons of the show.
Another challenge Apple faces will be availability of its service. While most other services will be available through a mix of apps and browsers, Apple TV+ will be part of the Apple TV app.
The good news for the company is that Apple TV+ will immediately have broad international reach. Users can view content via the company’s Apple TV device, and it will be preinstalled on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad. It will also be available via Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung televisions, Bloomberg says.
By the same measure, it appears the service will be restricted to customers with access to one of those platforms. Just how much that could limit Apple TV+’s growth will be interesting to see.