Apple TV: Why They’re Making You Pay For Movies

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Couple stuck with Apple TV+ issue on TV

Are you puzzled as to why Apple TV is making you pay for movies?

You’re not alone! Every day thousands of people are left scratching their heads, wondering why they have to spend extra for the content they’re already paying for.

I understand how this can be really annoying, as it’s not a common practice among most streaming services out there… or is it? Maybe you haven’t been looking deep enough.

Below, I’ll explain why Apple does this, how much you should expect to pay for movies outside your plan, and some additional information on other platforms that you might find useful.

In case you’re having technical difficulties with the app, such as low volume, or a super dark screen, our other content might also help, so feel free to check it out. But for now, let’s focus on the task at hand.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

First of All, Why Does Apple Do This?

That question is likely the main reason why you’re here, so without further ado, let me answer it. You might be tempted to think that Apple is simply doing what they do for every other product they sell, and I can’t blame you. They’re the only company out there that doesn’t include a charging cube with a +$1,200 phone!

And while you might be partially right, it’s actually more about what I like to call “hook pricing. You’ve likely noticed that, as opposed to other Apple products, the subscription price for this platform is on the cheaper side.

While platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus start at $9.99 and $7.99 respectively, Apple TV goes for an affordable $4.99 per month, which is unheard of for this premium brand.

As tempting as it might be to think the company is starting to change its ways, the reality is much more disappointing. Remember the hook pricing term I coined earlier? Well, this is where it comes in.

To be able to offer such a low price on its subscription while remaining competitive, Apple TV must include several movies in its catalog that are not part of the base membership. While browsing for streaming platforms to subscribe to, the $4.99 monthly price stands out to most people, hooking them into joining.

Once they’re there and start browsing, many interesting movies pop up, and it’s almost impossible to resist buying or renting them.

In Marketing, we call this penetration pricing. This is a strategy used by newcomers to gain access to an already saturated market (online streaming). Once Apple has enough subscribers to feel comfortable in these shark-infested waters, they’ll gradually increase their subscription prices.

I bet you didn’t think you’d leave this article with additional business knowledge, huh?

How Much Should You Expect to Pay?

Well… there’s no single answer to this question as the price of the content will vary depending on 3 factors:

  1. Whether it’s still in theaters
  2. Popularity
  3. Exclusivity

You see, sometimes, in order to gain a larger following, streaming companies team up with Hollywood producers to offer movies that are still in theaters. Naturally, these are few and far between, as most theater owners don’t appreciate losing that income, but hey, it’s a ruthless market.

Titles like these are much more expensive than others that were released months or years ago.

Then, there’s popularity. Let’s say you have two movies that are being released both in theaters and on Apple TV at the same time. One is The Matrix 4, and the other is a film by an independent studio.

Which one do you think will be more expensive?

Exactly, people will always prefer to pay extra to watch Keanu Reeves evade bullets while wearing shades. Back in early 2021 when I rented the movie, I paid $24, and it was also possible to buy it for $29.

I know, I know, that’s a lot of money, but what can I say? I’m a fan!

This leads us to the third factor, which is exclusivity. As you know, more often than not, it takes years for a movie released in theaters to make it to streaming platforms. But sometimes, producers make deals with certain online services for earlier access.

In situations like that, a single streaming company wins the contract for the film in question and has the right to make it available to its subscribers. These are multimillion-dollar deals, so they have to price the content quite high, as it’s hard to break even, let alone make a profit.

You should expect to pay anywhere between $5-$30 to buy movies on the platform, and a slightly lower price to rent them. As I explained above, the price will greatly depend on these 3 factors.

Do Other Platforms Do This?

Absolutely. There are other platforms out there, like Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus that have similar MO’s.

Both Apple TV and Prime Video have their own “free” content, while also offering the option to buy or rent movies individually or subscribe to partner channels. Sometimes, they have a discounted rate, so it’s a little more convenient to subscribe through there.

Other platforms, like Disney Plus, do not operate under this channel system. Instead, they stick to their guns and offer only what is made by them and the companies they own. On Disney Plus, you won’t have the option to subscribe to, say, Paramount Plus, but you will have the chance to buy a newly released Pixar/Marvel movie while staying at home.

The bottom line is (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), Apple TV is the best bang for your buck all things considered. After all, other platforms that also ask you to pay extra for additional content range from $7.99 to $19.99 per month.


Having Apple TV make you pay for movies can be super annoying. After all, you’re already covering a monthly subscription fee which should include everything on the platform.

Sadly, this is not the case due to all the reasons mentioned above. If you want to get the extra moves the platform offers, there’s no way around paying for them. Chin up, though! You could spend the money you’re saving on subscription fees to buy a couple of movies every month.

Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article helped clear your doubts and provided useful knowledge, you’ll be very happy to know that we upload new content every week. While we type our latest masterpiece, why don’t you check out our other incredible resources below and become a Tech Detective yourself?

Best of luck to you.