Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Solidarity eclipses objectivity as journalism’s dominant ideal
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 15, 2020, 2:28 p.m.
LINK: www.theverge.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   September 15, 2020

Yesterday, I wrote that Apple was expected to announce a new set of services bundles — letting customers mix and match subscriptions among Apple’s various products, including Apple News+.

And…yeah, that happened. But I don’t think there’s any reason to change my expectation that these bundles won’t do much to increase the number of Apple News+ subscribers.

The key unanswered question going into today’s Apple event was how the bundles — which are all branded as Apple One — would be structured and priced. And here’s how it breaks down, along with the price you’d pay for each service individually:

Apple One Individual: $14.95/month
Apple Music (normally $9.99)
Apple TV+ ($4.99)
Apple Arcade ($4.99)
50GB of iCloud storage ($0.99)
Total without bundling: $20.96
Bundle savings: $6.01

Apple One Family: $19.95/month
Apple Music ($14.99)
Apple TV+ ($4.99)
Apple Arcade ($4.99)
200GB of iCloud storage ($2.99)
…all for up to five people
Total without bundling: $27.96
Bundle savings: $8.01

Apple One Premier: $29.95/month
Apple Music ($14.99)
Apple TV+ ($4.99)
Apple Arcade ($4.99)
Apple Fitness+ ($9.99)
Apple News+ ($9.99)
2TB of iCloud storage ($9.99)
…all for up to five people
Total without bundling: $54.94
Bundle savings: $24.99

Twenty-five bucks a month is a real savings! But even within Apple’s generally upmarket customer base, the number of people who’ll be attracted to a $30/month price point is much smaller than at $15/month. And that smaller, richer group is the only one who might be drawn into News+ by Apple One. (Think about it: A year of Apple One Premier would run you $360. A year of Amazon Prime — which offers a distinct but philosophically similar bundle of services — is just $119.)

The best news for News+ today was the launch of Apple Fitness+, a Peleton-like service for workouts at home, but without the pricey bike — $1,895 and up — and at a lower price point. I suspect it’ll be an appealing pandemic-era product — and if it draws people up to Premier, News+ can come along for the ride.

Something left unsaid, understandably, at today’s event is how these bundles will affect how much money that gets passed along to non-Apple content producers — record labels for Apple Music and, of most interest to us here, publishers for News+. Right now, publishers collectively get about $5/month for each Apple News+ subscriber; Apple keeps the other $5. How much will publishers get from each Apple One Premier subscriber? Presumably something less.

On the other hand, for most of these services, Apple’s cost structure is relatively fixed. Each additional TV+ or Arcade or Fitness+ subscription is basically pure profit, because Apple’s already paid for the cost of making Ted Lasso or licensing Grindstone. Apple Music and Apple News+ are the services where (more subscribers) = (higher payouts to outside media companies). Apple could decide to eat more of the bundling cost on its owned-and-operated services.

Then again, multitrillion-dollar companies rarely get there through their generosity to suppliers.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Solidarity eclipses objectivity as journalism’s dominant ideal
“Objectivity as an aspirational ideal ends up encouraging journalists to avoid addressing what matters.”
Nonprofit journalism finally builds scale
“Nonprofit news has created meaningful new reporting capacity for American journalism, but its long-term success and impact depend upon it becoming a much larger and smarter business.”
Global cynicism about democracy will expose media to attack
“China’s and Russia’s global influence operations won’t need to resort to fake news to exploit the genuine dysfunctions in the American system.”