When Apple announced new streaming services at its event in March, the price tags were left blank. Apple Arcade, the company’s gaming streaming service, and Apple TV+, the company’s television and film streaming offering, sounded like premium entertainment options, which made me wonder whether they would carry premium costs, too. I got the answer to that question when I watched the Apple event Tuesday: Nope. Each will cost subscribers $4.99 per month. If you think that’s cheap, you’re not the only one.
“This is crazy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, comparing the cost of Apple TV+’s entire catalog to the price of just one movie rental.
Low prices might be the ingredient that can make Apple stand out from what is becoming a very crowded landscape of streaming services that deliver movies, television, music, podcasts, and gaming to millions of eyeballs and ears. The move will undercut companies like Netflix (basic plans start at $8.99 per month) and Disney (the Disney+ service is to launch this fall at $6.99 per month).
CE Sticker Shock?
Apple’s content may not seem like it has an obvious connection to a professional organization’s content: One is for entertainment and the other is for professional education. However, the line could blur for users when a service offers high-quality productions — documentaries from Oprah Winfrey; a television show starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon; and a new thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, to name just a few of Apple TV+ offerings — for less than $60 per year. How will they then feel about shelling out $120 per year (the cost of one leading medical organization’s online education subscription for members) for online courses captured with one camera?
Instead of charging extra for continuing education, it may be wise to consider bundling costs in with membership fees — pay for one package, and the audience gets everything. It’s a move that some associations are exploring, and it turns out that Apple is a fan of the approach, too. Anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch will get a full year of Apple TV+ included.