This Apple TV Plus price hike might mean it's time for an ad-supported tier

Severance Apple TV Plus
(Image credit: Apple)

Hot on the heels of a similar Netflix price increase, the cost of an Apple TV Plus subscription has just gone up for people in various countries around the world. And this is becoming a regular enough occurrence for it to be a problem.

It was just a week ago that I waxed poetic about the great value that Apple TV Plus represented to streaming fans, especially those who had one eye on the price increase at Netflix and were pondering where they could cut their costs. Now, Apple has followed up with a price bump of its own. And not only did it just make my week-old piece redundant, but it also managed to double the cost of its streaming subscription within a year.

This latest price increase comes a year to the day since Apple increased the price from just $4.99 per month to $6.99 per month. Now, you'll pay $9.99 per month for the same subscription. And Apple TV Plus isn't alone — Apple also increased the price of its Apple News Plus ($9.99 to $12.99) and Apple Arcade ($4.99 to $6.99) services as well. As a result, Apple One is going up, too. Apple's individual, family, and premier plans, which were $16.95, $22.95, and $32.95, will now cost $19.95, $25.95, and $37.95 respectively. That's almost $40 a month for Apple stuff. Which begs the question — is it time that Apple offered something for people who can't stretch to $9.99 a month to some watch TV?

It's time for ads

With Apple TV Plus subscribers now paying twice as much as they were a year ago, it's probably fair to say that there will be some early adopters who find themselves with more than a touch of sticker shock right now. But there's an answer, and Apple only needs to look at an old friend to know what it is.

Disney Plus launched an ad-supported tier back in December of 2022, giving fans of the mouse (or more likely, Star Wars and Marvel) the chance to watch the same content while paying less. The ad-free tier costs $10.99 per month while those willing to watch some ads pay $7.99 per month.

With that in mind, it isn't beyond the realms of reason that Apple could launch an ad-supported version of Apple TV Plus and charge, say, $4.99 per month for it. That would be great value and one that would be hard to beat.

I'm not the first person to ponder this, either. Just a couple of months ago our own Becca Caddy suggested that Apple might be missing a trick by ignoring ad-supported options. And there's already evidence that Apple at least explored the idea of ad-supported streaming.

Content isn't free

Messi Meets America

(Image credit: Apple)

It's important to remember that all of the content Apple TV Plus streams definitely costs money to make. There's the $2.5 billion MLS deal, not to mention the millions spent on making the pre-recorded content. And then there's the deal that brought Lionel Messi to the MLS with Apple reportedly handing over a cut of its revenue to make it happen.

This is all to say that I get it, making great content isn't cheap. But Apple also must understand that its customers aren't cash cows, just waiting to be milked. And for some, $9.99 per month is enough to make them think that maybe they don't need to see that new run of Slow Horses or Severance season 2 quite so much. And that'd be a real shame for all concerned.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Ledsteplin
    I was seriously thinking of subscribing. But the $3 jump to $9.99 has given me pause. The problem I have is I'm not thrilled with the content. I've seen the movies I wanted to see. And there's not many shows I'm interested in.
  • Lee_Bo
    While I’m not thrilled with the $3 increase in the family plan, I am sharing it with 2 other adults so we’re all 3 getting Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage.

    At least Apple is still letting us share their services with users no matter how far away they are.

    Take the hint, Netflix.