Apple finally ended many months of speculation about its upcoming streaming video service with original content when it announced Apple TV+. One question it didn’t answer, however, was: how much will Apple TV+ cost?
Although Apple shared some details of the celebrities and shows that will be on offer when the new service launches, and showed a very brief teaser, at this point it’s looking like the company plans to launch with just a few dozen shows at most …
This would appear to make it a tough sell.
Some have suggested it might have the same $9.99/month pricing as Apple Music, but that seems a stretch when compared to Netflix for $13/month. Netflix offers access to a total of 1,699 TV shows at the time of writing, including more than a thousand Netflix Originals, plus almost 4,000 movies.
Analysts certainly expect Apple to bring in far less money in subscriptions than it will spend on original shows, suggesting that it will lose huge sums of money for years to come.
The media business is not going to be the same immediate cash-generating success for Apple. It is facing the necessity of enormous outlays to procure top tier talent and produce new video content from scratch, with no guarantee of success. Apple TV Plus may be in the red for years before it hits a critical mass of users to make it sustainable on its own merits.
Such profligate spending is necessary because without the content there in the first place, users simply won’t pay to sign up. You wouldn’t sign up for a paid streaming service with only three shows and a dozen movies — there needs to be a key level of content before the entire enterprise even becomes viable. That means burning cash lots of cash.
When you consider that the average subscriber will be interested in only some small-ish percentage of the programming offered by any service, Apple TV+ launching with a few dozen shows could see an individual customer liking only one or two of them. How much would they be willing to pay for 1-2 shows?
It’s possible that Apple might offer very lengthy free trials while it gradually builds enough content to justify a monthly fee. Alternatively, it may begin with a very low monthly fee and slowly increase it as the library grows.
How much will Apple TV+ cost when it first launches, do you think? And based on what we know so far, how much would you be willing to pay?
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