Last night, Bloomberg reported that Apple would launch the Apple TV+ streaming service in November with a $9.99 monthly subscription fee. There will be five shows available at launch: The Morning News, See, Amazing Stories, Truth be Told and documentary series Home.
According to Bloomberg, there will probably be a free trial before credit cards get charged. Apple is still considering release strategies for the shows. They might launch the first three episodes than switch to weekly releases of subsequent episodes. Apple TV+ will launch in 150 countries. Subscribers might have an option to download the shows for offline viewing.
To put that into perspective?
That's $9.99 before tax.
For five shows at launch.
That's $119.98 a year before tax.
For five shows.
I don't know about you, but that's not good value:money ratio… especially for five shows we know very little about.
Apple is reportedly spending $6 billion on developing new shows and movies – far less than the $14 billion Netflix spends on their slate. The Morning News is said to cost nine figures, which puts it at over $10 million per episode.
Does Apple really expect people to shell out ten bucks a month for shows that are so innocuous that one Hollywood insider has called the service "expensive NBC"?
Let's Compare the Other Streaming Services
When Disney+ launches in November, it will charge $6.99 a month as a standalone service. The cost of a bundle with Hulu and ESPN will be $12.99 a month. Disney+ on its own will already have hundreds of hours from Disney's backlog of movies and TV on top of the new Marvel and Star Wars shows. Hulu already has thousands of hours of content from its original content and backlog of network shows and movies. ESPN has… well… sports. And it looks like lots of it.
DC Universe costs $7.99 a month but paying upfront for a year gets you a discounted rate. You get DC's exclusive original shows as well as Warner Bros. Studios' catalog of movies and television shows from as far back as the 1960's. You also get virtually all of DC Comics' library of comics at your fingertips – with some comics that go all the way back the 1930's.
CBS All Access charges a limited commercials tier for a $5.99 monthly fee and an ad-free tier for $9.99. You get Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, the new Twilight Zone, Strange Angel, Why Women Kill, CBS' recent backlog and the upcoming Star Trek: Picard spinoff.
None of Them is a Netflix-Killer
Many networks smell blood in the water and think they can compete against Netflix. Netflix has raised their subscription fees to $13.99 a month. They won't have the rights to stream Friends, The Office, and Parks and Recreation, as those shows will return to NBC for their own streaming service. Netflix has started to lose subscribers due to the rise in their subscription fee, but not exectly a "mass exodus."
Disney+ is the one service that has the greatest chance of thriving because of the Disney brand and library. It probably isn't a Netflix-killer. None of the upcoming streaming services have a chance because Netflix has made itself "Too Big to Fail." Netflix has had a years-long headstart and accumulating a mind-blogging library of movies and shows not just from the US but all over the world. Netflix has become a platform for content from virtually every country that has a strong movie and TV production presence… not just the U.S.
Oh, Yeah! We Almost Forgot Amazon Prime!
The closest streaming service to rival Netflix in terms of sheer volume of content is Amazon Prime. Prime has its fair share of critically acclaimed fan-favourite shows like Good Omens, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, Bosch and now The Boys. Amazon Studios has already spent a quarter of a billion dollars for the rights to produce a Lord of the Rings series – and that's not adding in what they spent for the rights to make a Wheel of Time series.
Amazon Prime costs $119 a year. Subscribers get free two-day shipping for their Amazon orders and also two free ebooks a month on top or TV and movies to stream. The irony is that the vast majority of Prime subscribers don't realise they actually have movies and television shows they can stream as part of their subscription.
In the end, the question here is whether you think Apple TV+ is worth that ten bucks with the smallest library of titles out there.
If you were to choose only one streaming service you really don't want to live without, which would you choose?
I have a feeling it wouldn't be Apple TV+… at least not yet…