Apple has for the second time in just a few months extended the free trial for its Apple TV+ streaming service, which launched in November 2019. After announcing in October 2020 that participants in the trial would be able to continue accessing the platform through February 2021, Apple has now moved the free period’s conclusion back to July. Apple TV+ is priced at an affordable $4.99 per month but has been free for any users who purchased an iPhone or other iOS device in late 2019.
At the same time that Apple has provided many of its consumers with complimentary looks at Apple TV+, the company has aggressively added original content in deals with superstars such as Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorcese, Bill Murray, Tom Holland, Jon Stewart, Seth Rogen, Joaquin Phoenix, Will Smith, and others. Apple is clearly ramping up its content and marketing strategy, and just recently hired former Warner Bros. co-president of worldwide marketing JP Richards to help drive Apple’s growing film ambitions.
By extending its trial period, Apple is giving its existing base a chance to catch up on some of its original series, including Servant, Morning Show, Ted Lasso, and more, while teasing its upcoming film slate in an effort to retain these viewers once the free period ends. Apple is reportedly aiming to release a dozen or so feature films annually, but what its audience will look like after July is unclear. There are no public figures on the Apple TV+ subscriber base, although Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows a steady quarterly increase since 2019’s launch, among consumers 13-65 years old. Apple is definitely catering to its devout fanbase, as Interpret data also found that 90% of Apple TV+ subscribers own at least one Apple device, with 42% owning 4 or more Apple products.
That said, there is a long road ahead for Apple. Among those who cancelled their Apple TV+ subscription, nearly a third did so because of a “promotional price ending,” suggesting that viewers were anticipating the end of their free trials. Apple is currently in the investment phase of its streaming service plans, locking up a star-studded lineup of content, but at a certain point it will need to see a ROI to justify the huge expenditure.