Apple could bundle News, Music, TV into one subscription in 2020

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Apple hopes the package will boost subscriber numbers.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple could roll almost all its entertainment services into one subscription bundle next year. News+, Music, and TV+ will be available for a single monthly fee, according to sources “familiar with the matter.”

Cupertino hopes the package will help it attract more subscribers as the smartphone market stagnates.

Services have become a huge focus for Apple in recent years. It is relying on the likes of News+, Music, TV+, and Arcade to make up revenue it will lose as iPhone sales slow.

But some of Apple’s services aren’t doing quite as well as others. News+ is making some publishers less than they had hoped for, and it seems unlikely TV+ will be able to fight off rivals anytime soon.

Apple Music has gotten off to a good start, but its subscriber numbers pale in comparison to Spotify’s. Could Apple have a plan up its sleeve to boost subscription rates?

Apple services bundle could come in 2020

Bloomberg reports Apple will roll three of its biggest services — News+, Music, and TV+ — into one subscription as soon as 2020. It will give fans access to all three at a discounted rate.

The bundle is similar to Amazon’s approach with Prime, which offers movies, music, and free shipping for a single fee. And Apple has already started toying with the idea.

Students who subscribe to Apple Music can now enjoy Apple TV+ at no extra cost. But it seems it is News+, which offers magazines for $9.99 a month, that really needs a boost in subscriber numbers.

Some publishers told Bloomberg that the revenue they’ve received from News+ so far is less than anticipated.

News+ a disappointment to publishers

One publisher typically gets under $20,000 a month — less than it received from Texture, the service Apple acquired last year to kickstart its News+ service.

But it’s not clear whether revenue has fallen because subscriber numbers are low, or because their content just isn’t as popular under Apple as it once was.

Apple currently takes a 50% cut of News+ subscriptions before handing over the other half to publishing partners. Those partners have a right to pull out after one year if they’re not happy.

How much might we pay for Apple Prime?

Those partners would receive even less if Apple were to offer News+ at a discounted rate as part of a bundle.

The sources don’t indicate how much an Apple services package might cost. News+ and Music are currently priced at $9.99 each for individuals, while TV+ is just $4.99 for now.

Apple could offer the three for $19.99 a month, saving customers $4.98. But that’s likely to be the most generous discount we can hope for.