All hail the era of the media bundle. Days after Verizon announced that millions of its wireless subscribers will receive a year of the forthcoming Disney+ streaming service at no cost and Spotify teamed up with Google to offer free Google Homes, Apple is unveiling a bundle of its own: free access to its upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service for anyone on the student tier of Apple Music.
Apple will launch TV+ on November 1st at a monthly rate of $4.99, but that fee will be waived to users on its $4.99-a-month Apple Music student plan. (Apple Music costs $9.99 a month for non-students, who are not currently eligible for the free TV+ bump.) The news was first announced via an Instagram story from actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld, who stars in the Apple TV+ show Dickinson; Apple’s Instagram page later shared Steinfeld’s story. According to company spokespeople, the promotion will apply “for a limited time.”
That the bundled services deal is being announced mere days before the launch of TV+, after Apple has already promised a free year of the video-subscription service to anyone who purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV device, suggests that the company might not be as confident about its sign-up numbers as in the past. The TV+ service’s flagship series The Morning Show, which paid top dollar for celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, has seen a sputtering response in its debut week, despite the no-expenses-spared attitude that seemed to guide the show’s production. Meanwhile, soon-to-be-competitor Disney+ has been carpet-bombing audiences ahead of its November 12th launch, and most consumers are unlikely to splurge for both services at once.
Analysts have been largely bullish on Apple’s upcoming subscription service, but the simultaneous entry of Disney+, HBO Max, and Apple TV+ into an already crowded market — Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu being the existing players — makes many investors, not to mention entertainment fans, wary of betting too much money on any one of the options. A Morgan Stanley note predicted last week that Apple TV+ would grow to as much as 136 million paying subscribers and $9 billion in revenue in 2025, but the proliferation of price-slashed bundled offerings makes such figures difficult to see at the moment.