By Dan Moren
October 25, 2023 8:33 AM PT
Apple hikes prices for Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Apple One bundles
It takes money to make money: specifically, it takes your money to make money for large corporations. As online services around the world raise their prices, Apple is no exception; today, the company announced higher costs for several of its online services, including Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and its Apple One bundles. (Prices for Apple Music and Apple Fitness+ remain unchanged.)
MacRumors reports on the details of the price changes, which see each service hiked between $2-3 per month, as well as $3-5 for the Apple One bundles. Those prices are effective today for new subscribers, and for existing customers in 30 days or their next renewal date.
This increase really shouldn’t come as a surprise: Disney+, Hulu, Netflix—almost every major streaming service has raised their prices over the last year. In some cases, this is to compensate for lost revenue from customers canceling cable packages where older more conventional networks and studios used to bring in money for selling their shows. But it’s also a matter of demand: people are hungry for content, and content isn’t cheap.
This is the second price hike for Apple TV+, which debuted at a $4.99 monthly price (free for several months in many cases)—with a rather paltry library of content—before subsequently rising to $6.99 a year ago. Apple’s built up its TV+ content substantially since launch, and the company seems to be making the argument that all of that new material is worth more money. Whether that’s true will, ultimately, be up to the consumer.
I do have to raise an eyebrow at the increased costs for both Apple Arcade and Apple News+. Neither of these services seem to have been blockbuster hits for the company, and perhaps Apple’s decided it’s not just going to make it up in volume. News+ did see some additions this year, including Puzzles and integration with subscriber-only podcasts. But I think both have mainly benefited from being included in the Apple One bundle: I know that if I had my way, I’d gladly trade them both for Apple Fitness+ and a lower overall price, but there’s a reason Apple’s not offering a “build your own bundle” plan.
Let’s also not forget that, of course, Services remains a sector that Apple has bet heavily on as iPhone sales mature and it looks to diversify its business. And given that the company’s deal with Google is under increased scrutiny, Apple would probably like to find a way to offset the possibility of losing that $18-20b, which represents around a quarter of the company’s Services revenue in 2022.
This might also just be the new world order for online services: expect the price raises to increase until morale improves. Or until the churning Thunderdome of competition starts eliminating streamers.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]
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