As of mid-August, Apple TV+ subscribers in the United States could add a greatly discounted $9.99/month bundle that combines the commercial-free version of CBS All Access and Showtime, both owned by ViacomCBS. Showtime alone normally costs $10.99/month while the ad-free version of CBS All Access costs $9.99 a month.
This new combo is a form of the much-vaunted skinny bundle, bringing together certain services at a discount without including a lot of other (likely unwanted) services at a bloated price. It also provides a motivator for people who are currently getting the Apple TV+ ad-free subscription video on demand (SVOD) service for free for one year as a perk for buying a new Apple device to start paying $4.99/month to retain the service once their free subscriptions run out.
More important, the hookup between Apple TV+ and ViacomCBS might be the start of what some consider ‘Apple Prime,’ an Apple version of the Amazon Prime model that combines streaming video and other services that can be bundled in various permutations.
As part of that approach, an Apple-centric multimedia bundle, reportedly dubbed Apple One, is being planned to combine Apple TV+ with Apple Music, Apple Arcade mobile games and the Apple News+ subscription service, with different combinations available at different tiers. Apple One could launch as soon as next month when the next iterations of the iPhone are unveiled.
Augmented reality could add value to Apple bundle
Apple also reportedly intends to add more value to Apple TV+ by integrating augmented reality content into the platform next year. As envisioned, elements of a show being viewed could be integrated into a viewer’s immediate locale via the display on their phone or tablet, making it look like the show’s characters or other objects are, say, in a person’s living room.
This would be similar in concept to existing apps, such as Google’s Arts & Culture app, which now lets users project 3D models into the real-world via their phone camera, enabling them to virtually hang the Mona Lisa on their bedroom wall or place a priceless sculpture on their coffee table. Apple’s rumored AR initiative for Apple TV+ could later be complemented by an AR-capable handset Apple is said to be targeting for 2022.
Apple’s plans to enhance Apple TV+ with AR and roll out more bundled subscription services should position the company even more strongly to take on rival SVOD services such as Netflix and Disney+ as well as any number of other digital subscription services operating within the multimedia space. Success in those areas would guarantee Apple long-term recurring service revenues.
Ultimately, all OTT service providers should be eyeing possibilities for cross-platform and multimedia bundles. The possibilities for digital services combinations are endless, as are the opportunities for growth.
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