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Here’s how a streaming-TV bill looks with Disney, Apple, Netflix

Bloomberg New York | Updated on September 11, 2019

Apple Inc., CEO Tim Cook speaks at an Apple event at their headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 10, 2019.   -  REUTERS

AT&T and Comcast to debut their new online services next year.

With all the new streaming-TV services about to make their debut, couch potatoes will be more tempted than ever to cut the cord and buy the services they prefer a la carte. But the menu is getting crowded.

New arrivals to the market, from Walt Disney Co. to Apple Inc., are pricing their streaming platforms ever-lower to squeeze into the monthly budgets of viewers who embraced online TV as an alternative to cable services. On Tuesday, Apple said it would charge $4.99 a month for TV+, a package of movies and shows with stars like Jennifer Aniston and Jason Momoa.

Here’s a look at how the monthly tab would look for a subscriber to some of the biggest names in streaming when Disney and Apple introduce their products in November, with the fees rounded to the nearest dollar for simplicity’s sake:

Keep in mind, that total doesn’t include the NBC Universal service, due next year from Comcast Corp. And it’s still not clear what AT&T Inc. will charge for the upcoming HBO Max offering, which will throw in other Warner Media programming in addition to HBO shows sometime in 2020.

Nor does this total include other services like Starz and Acorn TV, or sports offerings like MLB.tv or WWE. Customers also could opt for only some parts of the Disney and CBS bundles, since not everyone will want, say, children’s movies and Major League Soccer games.

Undoubtedly, many of these companies aim to get viewers hooked on their shows and then methodically raise prices over time, just as Netflix has done -- and indeed, just as cable networks did for decades. That’s why Netflix and Disney shares fell Tuesday on Apple’s announcement. Investors worry that consumers will get choosy if they get enough entertainment from Apple TV+ to justify ending their Netflix subscription, for example.

Bottom line: Not all of these services are going to fit in a budget-conscious cord-cutters plan. After the great rush to streaming, the great shakeout will be next.

Published on September 11, 2019

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