September 13, 2019
Halloween may be Oct. 31, but the real thriller in Hollywood will hit in November.
Disney+ and Apple TV+ are in a sub battle to the pricing floor. After Disney+ announced its Nov. 12 launch at $6.99 a month, with special offers dipping below $4 a month, Apple TV+ Sept. 10 announced it would launch its SVOD service Nov. 1 (more than a week before Disney) at $4.99 a month, below regular pricing for Disney+ and approaching the special offer cost.
Not coincidentally, Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from the Apple board the same day.
The two services, vying to take on the likes of streaming giants such as Netflix (with pricing starting at $8.99 a month) and Amazon Prime (a free add-on to its shipping fee), seem to have made the calculation to charge practically nothing for premium streaming content.
The moves could further lower consumers’ perceived value of content in general. Over the years, studios have fought outfits that devalued their content. Now, Disney and several others are joining some of the low-priced markets they previously vilified — and undercutting them.
Certainly, entering the streaming market offers additional value other than subscription revenue. Disney and others will gather a treasure trove of data on their customers, and perhaps will find new ways to better target and monetize content.
Giving away a library of titles for the price of a gallon of milk each month is certain to attract consumers, but it’s a gamble that could undermine the value of the studios’ core product.