Apple Sets Price, Launch Date for TV+ Streaming Service

Apple - Sept 10 - Screen Shot TV and Cook -H 2019

Apple is revealing more details about its long-gestating streaming service. 

The tech giant on Tuesday announced that its subscription service TV+ will launch Nov. 1, offering originals like the Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon starrer The Morning Show for $5 per month for a family subscription. That's significantly cheaper than offerings from Netflix ($13 per month for the most popular plan) and Disney+ ($7 per month when it launches Nov. 12). In a move sure to boost signups for the service, Apple is offering anyone who buys an Apple device a year of TV+ for free.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement at the company's annual fall product event, acknowledging that people have been wondering about the details of the forthcoming service. "Our mission for TV+ is to bring the best original stories from most creative minds in TV and film," he said, describing the projects as "stories that help you find inspiration, grounded in emotion, stories to believe in, with purpose."

TV+ is launching in over 100 countries with a slate of originals which includes The Morning Show, the Hailee Steinfeld starrer Dickinson, the Jason Momoa drama See, the space drama For All Mankind and the documentary The Elephant Queen. There will also be kid-friendly offerings like Helpsters from the makers of Sesame Street and Snoopy in Space. Additional originals, including Kumail Nanjiani's Little America and the coming-of-age drama feature Hala, are expected to be released on the service each month.

For most originals, Apple plans to release three episodes at launch, with additional episodes dropping weekly, but the company says that it will drop full seasons of some originals. 

The launch of TV+ will round out the offering in Apple's TV app, where it offers a storefront for buying and renting titles and subscriptions to third-party streaming services like Showtime and HBO Now. The revamped TV app experience, part of Apple's plan to phase out iTunes, comes amid a push by the iPhone maker to double down on its services business, which houses revenue from subscriptions like Apple Music and iCloud. Apple has been public about its goal to grow its services revenue to over $50 billion by 2020. In addition to TV+, Apple has also launched News+ for magazine subscriptions, and on Sept. 19 it will release Arcade for mobile games. 

TV+ will be available on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV set-top boxes, iPod touches and Macs. There will also be a web browser version of the service. The family plan includes access for up to six family members. In its push to become a purveyor of entertainment programming, Apple has also made a rare move and struck deals with other manufacturers to offer the app on other platforms, including Samsung smart TVs, Roku, Sony, Vizio and Amazon Fire TV. 

After years of denying plans to enter Hollywood, Apple executives took the first steps into entertainment with the June 2017 hiring of Sony television veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg. The pair have spent the better part of the last two years assembling a team and buying up a slate of originals.

Initially, Hollywood rushed to work with Apple because of its deep pockets and brand cache — Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Oprah Winfrey all have deals with the company — but the creative community has grown increasingly frustrated as the months have worn on with few details available about the pending service. Apple invited dozens of stars and creative partners to its March services event but offered little concrete information about the service (beyond the TV+ name and vague fall launch timeframe) and showed scant footage of its forthcoming projects. Meanwhile, there have been stumbles, including several showrunner departures and concerns that executives were getting hands-on with programming over a desire to make it suitable for a range of audiences. 

The company has been building to the launch of TV+ with the rollout of trailers for The Morning Show, For All Mankind and Dickinson