Free Apple TV+ Promo Extended to July

Posted on January 19, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Apple TV+, Disney+ with 23 Comments

Apple has quietly extended its free Apple TV+ subscription offer for a second time, to July 2021, a nice gift during the pandemic. Or, an implicit acknowledgment that it doesn’t have enough content to justify paying for the subscription yet.

Either way, the net result is the same: Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month, allegedly, but it was originally free for one year for those who purchased a new iPhone in late 2019. Then, in October 2020, Apple extended the free subscription period through February 2020. Now, it has extended the free period through July 2021.

Apple has never discussed its Apple TV+ subscriber base, but it appears to be off to a very slow start. According to Nielsen, it is the slowest-growing of the major streaming video services, beating out only CBS Access and Peacock. Apple TV+ has about 11 percent usage share in the United States, behind Netflix (61 percent), Amazon Prime Video (47 percent), Hulu (36 percent), Disney+ (31 percent), and HBO Max (15 percent).

That Disney+ number is perhaps the most interesting, since that service was launched the same month as Apple TV+, but Disney+ already has almost three times the share of Apple TV+.

Worse, the gap between the rest of the industry Apple TV+ is even starker when you look at paying vs. non-paying customers: 60 percent of Apple TV+ subscribers aren’t even paying for the service, the highest rate, by far, among its competitors. By comparison, only 3 percent of Netflix and Prime Video subscribers are on a free promotion. HBO Max, with 26 percent, is the only service that even approaches Apple’s promotional subscriber base.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Free Apple TV+ Promo Extended to July”

  1. matsan

    I guess the interesting thing will be to see what happens when users that bought hardware with ATV+ included find out that this is only applicable once per Family. I bought a MBP a year ago and last week my wife bought a new iPad (eligible for one year of ATV+) but our subscription didn't extend.

  2. ebraiter

    Clarification. It is the free year offer that has been extended and not those who are in their free year get the extension?

  3. crunchyfrog

    Sony tried a streaming TV service and shut it down so clearly someone as big as Apple is not impervious to having a struggling streaming service. The big problem is attention span and the monthly costs. There are simply too many services out there which many have launched in the last year and they all want that monthly nut.

    I think users are spread too thin and simply forget about these services. I can't tell you how many times that my wife and I have started an interesting show then simply forgot about it and can't recall which service it was on.

  4. retcable

    I watched "See" and "Servant" and wished I had not bothered with either of them. "Ted Lasso" was great and "Tiny World" amazes me with each and every episode with "How in the world did they capture that?" popping into my head every few minutes. The service has a long way to go to be a must-have but since it's free or nearly free to most viewers, it's worth looking at once in a while.

  5. glenn8878

    My subscription expires on June 2021. This means an one month extension. I'm willing to cancel early. Nothing to watch. Apple TV is a waste of time. With all of Apple's money, why couldn't they get more content? At least license content from another streaming channel. A big annoyance is offering movies or shows or channels that cost extra to watch. Why are they listing them without clear advertisement? You don't find out they cost more until after you click. Then you have to click out of it.

    • Paul Thurrott

      To be fair, I'm pretty sure the pandemic punched a big hole in their schedule for creating new content for much of last year.
      • jgraebner

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        It did give them a few opportunities to acquire content, though. "Greyhound" and the upcoming movie "Cherry" (from the directors of the last two "Avengers" movies) were both intended to be theatrical releases from major studios.

    • jhambi

      In reply to glenn8878:

      For All Mankind is a great show

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Their strategy for the Apple TV + service is predicated entirely on original content. The Apple TV app is meant to be an aggregation portal, a single starting point for all of your services.

      • glenn8878

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        I wouldn’t be using the app if I don’t have the Apple TV+ service. I would be downloading the streaming apps and using their services directly instead of ordering it through Apple. Amazon Prime does this too, but it’s more obvious that I must pay so I avoid clicking on them.

  6. Aras

    Don't see an extension on mine as of yet. Still expires February 1st.

  7. ebraiter

    Disney+ is up their primarily because of the Star Wars "universe" [movies + primarily The Mandalorian] plus the Marvel "universe". Won't be long they take over as #3. Plus there is new Marvel content and more planned.

  8. jcbeckman

    I keep reading that this has been extended, but mine hasn't (a second time that is). Still set to "renew" Feb 1 (which means I'm still set to cancel Jan 31). Only thing of interest to me is Greyhound. Tried "Amazing Stories" and they weren't. None of the rest of it holds any interest to me.

  9. Saarek

    They're still building out their content. I'm not surprised it was free initially as there was very little to actually watch. Slowly but surely their catalogue is building up, although I suspect I will subscribe no more than twice a year for a month once my free period ends to watch what I want and then wait for more to come available.

  10. derekaw

    Ted Lasso is very good.

  11. Chris_Kez

    I encourage anyone with access to this service to go watch Ted Lasso-- a refreshingly upbeat show in an otherwise dark and depressing year.

  12. jbinaz

    I've watched three things on Apple TV+. Ted Lasso, which was fantastic - a bright spot of optimism with themes of forgiveness and togetherness in a bleak year marked by a pandemic and where partisanship and "tribal" affiliations ruled.

    Tehran was good, and I hope they have a season two.

    And Greyhound, which was a good, but not a great movie. (The story is a great story, but it seemed like half the dialogue was Tom Hanks giving orders and crewmembers repeating them back.)

    I still want to watch The Morning Show, which I've heard mostly good things about.

    That isn't enough for me to pay for it. Once it's no longer free, I'll probably save up things to watch, subscribe for a month, binge, and unsubscribe.

  13. rmlounsbury

    I wonder what the dividing line is for the extension. I bought an iPhone SE in 2019 and my 1 year free trial still shows that it expires in May of 2020. It seems I was a too early to the party for the extensions.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to rmlounsbury:

      We got the free subscription based on the purchase of my wife's iPhone about a month before the TV+ debuted. I just looked and it is currently still showing a "next billing date" of 2/28/21. Maybe they just haven't updated it yet?

      There has been some pretty good content on TV+, but there isn't a lot of it. I really think Apple should consider just giving in and make it free forever as long as your Apple ID is activated on an Apple device.

  14. crunchyfrog

    Now you know why Apple TV+ is part of the subscription services at all levels.