Apple Entertainment Pricing and Feature Speculation

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

The Information is reporting that Apple is looking at creating a single subscription that gets users access to TV, music, and news, all for one monthly or annual fee. I think this makes total sense, is exactly what Apple should be trying to make work.

Fast forward 12 months and I expect Apple to have 3 main subscription media services:

  • Apple Music
  • Apple TV
  • Apple News

Apple Music

This is already a known quantity. It’s a service that lets you listen to any music you want fora flat monthly fee. Music videos are included in the app as well, but it’s really all about regular music.

Cost: $9.99/month or $99/year

Apple TV

Apple has been openly working with creators to start producing over $1 billion worth of television-type series. This will likely be a Netflix-type service with original Apple content, licensed back catalog content (old TV shows, movies, etc.), and some sort of live TV functionality.

I expect Apple to embrace their app ecosystem to make this service work. So instead of having a traditional TV guide interface like you see on cable boxes, PS Vue, or Hulu, you’ll get something like the TV app on iOS/tvOS that lets third party apps plug in and present content to you that it thinks is relevant to you. Apps like HGTV and ESPN will let you sign in with Apple as your cable provider and access all of the content in the app.

I’m not totally convinced that’s the best way to get other channels into the unified Apple TV experience, but it just makes sense to me as what Apple is going to do here.

Expected cost: $9.99/month or $99/year

Apple News

Apple News exists today and is my favorite way to read the news throughout the day. The current service is free and lets you link your premiums site subscriptions1 in the app today. For example, I get The Washington Post in Apple News because I pay for it on the web. Apple News is great.

But with Apple’s purchase of Texture last year, I expect Apple to offer an Apple News Premium service that adds a lot more paid content to the Apple News experience. So while today I get mostly free sites and The Washington Post in my Apple News feed, subscribing to this Premium service would let a whole lot more paid content start showing up here. You could of course tune the new content this would unlock to your preferences.

There is the other possibility that a whole new app will appear that is more like the Texture app of old, but I really doubt it. I don’t see the benefit of Apple having two competing news apps, especially when one of them is emulating the legacy print format. Better to have one news experience that is finely tuned to giving you the news you want to see.

Expected cost: $9.99/month or $99/year (are you detecting a pattern?)

Apple Entertainment Subscription

This is where I get to the same place as The Information. Apple will have 3 $10/month services: one for music, one for video, and one for news. Users will be able to subscribe to just the ones they want, but I expect Apple to offer a discounted rate if you subscribe to all 3.

We’ll have to wait and see how aggressive Apple wants to be here, but using their cloud storage pricing as a benchmark, we can probably expect them to come in a little lower than the competition.

Expected cost: $19.99/month or $149/year

At this cost, it would get people who would want 2 of the services to just subscribe to the whole shebang for the same cost. The extra-aggressive annual cost would also incentivize people to pay up front for a longer term subscription and get them to buy into the ecosystem more easily.

  1. Or even sign up for those subscriptions in the Apple News app itself.