Apple TV+ to launch as for-pay subscription service, Cook suggests

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 30
Potentially ending months of speculation surrounding Apple's planned pricing policy for Apple TV+, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday hinted that the upcoming original content service will be available on a subscription basis.

Oprah


Fielding questions on Apple's recent push into services during an investor conference call, Cook likened Apple TV+ to an over-the-top product similar to those offered by major networks and content holders.

"The TV+ product plays in a market where there's a huge move from the cable bundle to over-the-top," Cook said. "We think that most users are going to get multiple over-the-top products and we're going to do our best to convince them that the Apple TV+ product should be one of them."

Unlike cable subscription schemes, over-the-top streaming services provide users a la carte access to TV and movie content. Typically, the offering is limited to an individual service, channel or group of channels owned by a content holder and is therefore cheaper than traditional cable tiers. Further, over-the-top systems are cost efficient in that viewers pay only for the content they want, rather than a bundle that includes channels that might go unwatched.

Apple unveiled Apple TV+ at a special event in March, but failed to disclose details on pricing.

As part of a "sneak peek" at programming set to debut on the service, Apple trotted out A-list Hollywood stars like Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell and Jason Momoa to present first looks at their forthcoming projects.

Rumors claimed the TV+ would be a free, value-added service available to Apple device owners through the new TV app, with Apple generating revenue on its investment via subscriptions sold to third-party services. Previous reports said the company at one point mulled a bundle that would integrate TV+ with Apple News+ and Apple Music.

Judging by Cook's statements today, it appears Apple TV+ will instead be listed as a for-pay subscription solution, putting it in competition with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.

Apple TV+ is slated to launch this fall.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Lol. They have completely lost the plot. No one is going to pay for this, unless it comes with content we don’t already know about (as in, iTunes Store movie and tv content). 
    davgregchemengin
  • Reply 2 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,687member
    As long as Apple has a few really big series or shows that people will pay to watch, then the service will do ok I think. And as we all know, Apple has plenty of cash to produce and finance content. Now they just need to deliver and actually end up with some good stuff. There will also be new content added all of the time I would assume, so after a few years, Apple should have a nice and growing library of content.

    Look at CBS All Access, they launched their pay service relying on basically one show, the new Star Trek reboot, which they heavily promoted. I tried that free for a month by the way, and I wasn't feeling the new Star Trek, and it wasn't worth paying anything for, in my opinion.

    Will I pay for Apple TV+? I have no idea. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. I subscribe to plenty of different services from time to time. It depends on how attractive I find their offerings to be and what the cost will be.

    Apple isn't stupid. They know who their competitors are in that area and what they offer, so like I said, we shall see what happens when it rolls out.

    lolliver
  • Reply 3 of 48
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    Lol. They have completely lost the plot. No one is going to pay for this, unless it comes with content we don’t already know about (as in, iTunes Store movie and tv content). 
    Colossal failure incoming.  It’s not too late to can this DOA service. 
    davgregxixoMetriacanthosauruschemengin
  • Reply 4 of 48
    citpekscitpeks Posts: 49member
    Disney dropped the mic after announcing its $7/mo service.  Few, if anyone, could challenge all of its franchises and back catalog, and at that price?

    Of course, for anyone who believes that it will remain at the price, long term, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Apple appears to be serious about ATV+, and since owning/producing one's own content is the key to the media business, it had better be prepared for a long, costly slog.
    edited April 30 davgregxixo
  • Reply 5 of 48
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,643member
    Most of its announced shows look pretty compelling, and there’s much more underway. I am pretty anti-TV and only subscribe to one video streaming service thus far — Acorn TV, which I enjoy when I have time, and provides good value for money — but I’m open to the idea of a second service.
    lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 48
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,945member
     Further, over-the-top systems are cost efficient in that viewers pay only for the content they want, rather than a bundle that includes channels that might go unwatched. 

    Well... sort of, but not really. There's a confound here, between the monopolist profits extracted by local cable companies and the actual economic efficiency of the distribution model. The cable model -- or something close to it -- actually might be most efficient if you take out the monopolist price gouging. 

    I think the most efficient model would be something more like Apple Music. You pay a low, flat price and have access to ALL music. The share of the flat fee that content producers receive is proportional to the popularity of their music. 

    I would prefer a similar model for video, where I pay a low flat fee and then have access to ALL video from all producers. 

    It's really not all that efficient to need separate arrangements with different producers in order to gain access to all of the content you want. 

    The only reason it might seem more efficient is that we avoid the monopolist price gouging. 

    It kind of reminds me in a way of how the mainframe model of computing appeared inefficient, but actually it was just IBM price gouging that made it appear inefficient. It's actually very efficient, which is why "the cloud" is now all the rage. AWS is really just a giant mainframe. But I digress... 
    designrchaickaelectrosoftn2itivguy
  • Reply 7 of 48
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,293member
    I have Prime and Netflix. I'll be adding this as well. I'll watch what I want, when I want and work it around my schedule, not make it a priority. Talking about this as a failure shows how completely ignorant the forum is of the writing, production budgets, experienced directors and more that are all on-board.
    lolliverStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 48
    designrdesignr Posts: 524member
    Wait, am I missing something? Though they never did mention it, wasn't it pretty much a forgone assumption this would be a subscription model?! Is this really news?
  • Reply 9 of 48
    designrdesignr Posts: 524member
    chasm said:
    Most of its announced shows look pretty compelling...
    Curious which ones are compelling to you?

    chemengin
  • Reply 10 of 48
    designrdesignr Posts: 524member
    Talking about this as a failure shows how completely ignorant the forum is of the writing, production budgets, experienced directors and more that are all on-board.
    Can you inform us about these (i.e., the writing and production budgets) and how they relate to success or failure (ahead of time)?

    xixoholyone
  • Reply 11 of 48
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 422member
    Retreads (Amazing Stories) and long in the tooth media types (Oprah Winfrey, among others) is not compelling.

    Tim Cook is going to find out that Disney already owns the Disney market and HBO owns the HBO market. AT&T now owns the Warner library and Disney the Disney and Fox library of content. Disney has ESPN and AT&T has CNN. Exactly what special thing does Apple have to bring?
    xixoelectrosoftdesignr
  • Reply 12 of 48
    chaickachaicka Posts: 134member
    Time will tell... Given there’s no subscription based video service from Apple yet, I would not be surprise if TV+ actually represents a flat subscription fee to gain access to both current iTunes movies etc contents on top of Apple’s own contents.

    Key to that is how much is current sales and rental generating for content owners. If it’s been declining, why not like Apple Music, move towards subscription based.
    bonobob
  • Reply 13 of 48
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,915member
    davgreg said:
    Retreads (Amazing Stories) and long in the tooth media types (Oprah Winfrey, among others) is not compelling.

    Tim Cook is going to find out that Disney already owns the Disney market and HBO owns the HBO market. AT&T now owns the Warner library and Disney the Disney and Fox library of content. Disney has ESPN and AT&T has CNN. Exactly what special thing does Apple have to bring?

    Seriously!? So Tim Cook is going to be surprised by something that you in some way have already figured out and completely understand, and that he is still in the dark about? 

    What everyone seems to miss is that Apple’s service is not just Apple’s content, Apple TV+ is about bring together multiple distributors under a single roof. There’s no reason Disney won’t be able to offer their content through Apple’s service. Same goes for HBO. Yes, each will have their own subscription accounts, but having all that content in one central location is what’s going to make Apple’s service stand out from everyone else. Apple is effectively creating a streaming cable service, where consumers get to pick which “channels” (services) they want to pay for. And regardless of which device they’re using (Apple TV, Samsung TV, Sony TV, etc), all that content will be available in the Apple TV+ app on that device.

    So, if anything TV+ is going to be huge for people who subscribe to more than one streaming service, provided those services are available in the TV+ service.
    mac_doglolliverdanhbakedbananasdecoderringn2itivguy
  • Reply 14 of 48
    xixoxixo Posts: 422member
    this will fail miserably and be gone in a year.

    remember when iTunes for windows exploded iPod sales?

    I didn't think so... (glass of icewater for someone in hell).

    TV+ is an anchor thrown to a drowning man...
    Metriacanthosauruschemengin
  • Reply 15 of 48
    xixoxixo Posts: 422member
    I have Prime and Netflix. I'll be adding this as well. I'll watch what I want, when I want and work it around my schedule, not make it a priority. Talking about this as a failure shows how completely ignorant the forum is of the writing, production budgets, experienced directors and more that are all on-board.
    VPN + TORRENT = every movie ever made in every language any time....


    holyonebeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 16 of 48
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,266member
    I never even knew anyone had any doubt. Of course it was going to be a pay service.

    No, I will not pay for it. I will not pay for CBS. I will not pay for Disney. I will not pay for YouTube, or Hulu, or any of the other endless “we want a piece of this pie, too” subscription service feeding frenzy all these studios/networks, etc, think we all should be paying separately for. I’m not paying for basic cable or premium channels. I don’t even have broadcast TV and don’t miss it. I’m paying for Netflix. It’s the ONE subscription service for entertainment that I have allowed to be in addition to all of my other monthly bills. I’m not adding yet another bill, just so some other company can have their finger in the pie of “services”. Eventually every dog damned company will have their own separate video service... and every software company will be expecting us to subscribe to every piece of software... What a stupid train wreck. Stupid New World.
    bonobobdecoderring
  • Reply 17 of 48
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,687member
    dysamoria said:
    I never even knew anyone had any doubt. Of course it was going to be a pay service.

    No, I will not pay for it. I will not pay for CBS. I will not pay for Disney. I will not pay for YouTube, or Hulu, or any of the other endless “we want a piece of this pie, too” subscription service feeding frenzy all these studios/networks, etc, think we all should be paying separately for. I’m not paying for basic cable or premium channels. I don’t even have broadcast TV and don’t miss it. I’m paying for Netflix. It’s the ONE subscription service for entertainment that I have allowed to be in addition to all of my other monthly bills. I’m not adding yet another bill, just so some other company can have their finger in the pie of “services”. Eventually every dog damned company will have their own separate video service... and every software company will be expecting us to subscribe to every piece of software... What a stupid train wreck. Stupid New World.
    The strongest and best will survive. Sounds good to me.

    Let them battle it out, compete on content, compete on price and compete for customers.

    Just because Netflix was one of the first, that doesn't mean that it's the only choice around. I subscribed to Netflix for many years, but stopped a couple of years ago, because I don't like their direction and their political content. The price also keeps increasing and currently it's $13 for HD and $16 for 4k. I currently have Amazon Prime, which is not bad at all and much better than it was a few years ago. I also have Hulu, which I got for so cheap at $1 a month for 12 months, that I couldn't turn it down.

    Many people also jump around, they can have Netflix for one month, Hulu the next, whatever the next, etc.

    Disney coming out for $7 a month will no doubt attract many customers, even though it might not be exactly my cup of tea.

    If you ask me, then Apple makes the best computers and devices in the entire world, but they're basically totally unproven in this new area that they're entering. I think that if Apple is smart, then they won't make the price too high per month, especially since it's a brand new service, and they don't have any huge things in their portfolio yet. Apple has a lot of customers now. Price it at a reasonable, good price, think of the competition and try to get a ton of viewers.

    Most important in my opinion, is that Apple needs to deliver on making a bunch of quality content. 

    I want to see HBO level content coming from Apple. I'm thinking of Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and more. All very high quality content that spans many seasons.
    edited May 1
  • Reply 18 of 48
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 741member
    Disney's market cap is about a fifth of Apple's but they are the biggest threat to Apple in the next ten years.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    citpeks said:
    Disney dropped the mic after announcing its $7/mo service.  Few, if anyone, could challenge all of its franchises and back catalog, and at that price?

    Of course, for anyone who believes that it will remain at the price, long term, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Apple appears to be serious about ATV+, and since owning/producing one's own content is the key to the media business, it had better be prepared for a long, costly slog.
    The Lucasfilm series “The Mandalorian” was enough to convince me to subscribe to Disney+. It looks really good.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    You know what else is going to be on all those upcoming televisions that support AirPlay 2? ... The new tv app, due this month:

    https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-app/

    https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-plus/

    It shouldn’t be surprising if tv+ (Apple TV+) is bundled with most premium subscriptions within the tv (Apple TV) app. I don’t think Cook’s remarks preclude that. It will be available by itself, but most people who buy into the Apple TV app will already have it.

    There’s something else stated on those pages that is significant, albeit obvious — at the bottom of the Apple TV+ page, it says “Exclusively on the tv app.” So Apple won’t be making this content available to competitors, which should not be a surprise to anyone, ever...
    edited May 1
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