Apple TV Plus and Apple Arcade will launch for $4.99 on November 1st and September 19th, respectively, but the company isn’t giving people a chance to subscribe to everything as part of a packaged deal.
CEO Tim Cook didn’t mention anything about a potential subscription bundle for the company’s various services in the future, either. Despite a probable interest from customers in both Apple’s Arcade and TV Plus services, alongside Apple Music and Apple News Plus, there’s no way to integrate all of that into one account — short of paying for everything at full price. An Apple services bundle would make a lot of sense, especially considering its competitors like Disney and Amazon are offering customers their own bundles.
Disney will offer its upcoming streaming service, Disney+, with an ad-supported version of Hulu and ESPN’s sports streaming app, ESPN+, for $12.99 a month. Amazon currently sells bundled channels through its storefront, and it bundles Prime Video content through its main Prime subscription. Both Amazon and Disney have a similar goal: grab as many subscribers as possible, even if that means offering a slightly discounted version of a product. Apple’s TV Plus seems similar to Disney+ and Prime, making the lack of a bundle extra questionable.
It would make sense for Apple to offer a similar bundle, even if it does out some services like Apple News Plus. Apple’s services sector already brings in more than its Mac, iPad, and the collective Wearables, Home, and Accessories group. The company is also on track to double its service revenue between 2016 and 2020. TV Plus, Music, and Arcade all play a big role in that, along with things like iCloud and AppleCare+ subscriptions, which are other components of Apple’s offerings that could be bundled, too.
Apple Music currently costs $9.99 a month, which puts it on par with competitors like Spotify. It’s also one of the most popular music streaming platforms, with artist exclusives and a huge library of content for people to stream. Ever since the iPod and the birth of iTunes, music and Apple products have gone together. When the App Store came around, so did gaming. Using mobile gaming’s accessibility to launch a subscription service for games is a logical leap. But original TV and film content is an entirely new world for Apple and, unlike gaming or music, the company doesn’t have many originals.
In fact, right now, it only has nine, which is how many titles TV Plus will launch with on November 1st. It’s not exactly the millions of songs on Apple Music or even the hundreds of games the company is promising on Apple Arcade. Even coming in at the lowest cost streaming service available, TV Plus isn’t an easy sell. It makes more sense to bundle TV Plus with Music and Arcade at a couple of dollars cheaper — like Disney is doing with Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu — if only to make the service more accessible, especially in these early days.
Apple’s is already kind of bundling TV Plus in one way, though. People who buy new Apple products will be given a one-year subscription to TV Plus for free — a savings of approximately $60. Even though iPhone sales are on the decline, it’s a good chance to tap into a market of tens of millions of people and build subscribers. The fact that those people can share their TV Plus subscriptions with five other people on Apple’s Family Sharing groups is also key.
Apple clearly knows that bundling (even if it’s a service package with hardware sales) is an integral component to promoting TV Plus and ensuring people have a chance to watch its shows (some of which cost around $15 million an episode to make). Maybe the company will eventually bundle Music, Arcade, and TV Plus together. Apple’s push into services is a big one, so bundling seems like more of an inevitability than a possibility.