For some analysts, this is how the new Apple TV+ will compete with the bigger streaming operations -- current or forthcoming -- via Netflix, Disney+ and others.
During its annual September conference, Apple said not only would its Apple TV+ start with a low $4.99-a-month price, but if consumers also buy an Apple device -- iPhone, MacBook Air or iMac -- they will receive the Apple TV+ service free for a year. It launches November 1.
Bundling has always made sense -- even for the more traditional TV-based media companies. Just look at how the pay TV market started, and continues. That said, for some, the pay TV “bundle” now may be a bad word -- consumers want to pick and choose their own networks/platform.
Walt Disney has updated this concept for its soon-to-be-launched Disney+. It is priced at $6.99 a month. But bundled with existing services from Hulu (ad-supported), as well as ESPN+, consumers can get the whole package for $12.99, the same price for just the Netflix service that most U.S. subscribers buy.
Much of this bundling comes via existing competition.
At the outset, Disney understands it won’t deliver as much TV/movie content as big streaming market leader Netflix. For its part, Apple TV+ will be behind both Disney and Netflix, as well as other upcoming services from WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal.
But Apple may have something better: Lots of other nontraditional TV-related products -- phones, tablets, laptops, desktops -- as well as services -- iCloud, streaming music service, Apple Music and new video game service Apple Arcade.
This isn’t to say that Apple is going full guns on premium TV content. Doug Mitchelson, media analyst of Credit Suisse, says, Apple TV+ has currently 43 titles in development -- with nine to be started at its launch. Apple has already spent $6 billion on TV/movie content, according to the Financial Times.
But long-term, Apple is thinking like ecommerce retailer Amazon, according to a digital media executive speaking to TV Watch at the IAB Newfronts West event in Hollywood on Wednesday.
Amazon also bundles. Its Amazon Prime Video comes as part of Amazon Prime membership -- now $119 per year or $12.99 per month. Choosing from 12 million products, consumers can buy detergent, clothing, books, vitamins and trash cans -- all with free shipping, among other benefits, like Prime entertainment.
Apple’s idea is a bit more narrow, but highly appealing to modern digital media-focused consumers: A 'bundle' of all consumers' electronic needs -- devices, computers, cloud storage, music, game and entertainment all under one roof.
Bundling as an entertainment/media approach still has legs.