Wednesday, December 7

Apple TV Plus has a great feature that I wish other streaming services would copy

You can say a lot of good and bad things about Apple TV Plus, Apple’s subscription streaming service. But I think what I appreciate the most about Apple TV Plus is how easy Apple makes it to leave the service behind.

That is not an awkward compliment. Apple is surprisingly frank about when your Apple TV Plus subscription is about to auto-renew and gives you enough notice to do something about it. It is a practice that I wish other subscription services, including the best streaming services, would take note.

Here’s what I mean: About a year ago, I bought a new Apple product, which entitled me to a free year of Apple TV Plus. Since 12 months is a long time to forget that you’re going to have to start paying for something, I set up a reminder using the Reminders app on my iPhone to check if I wanted to keep the subscription.

Turns out I shouldn’t have bothered. Over the weekend, an email from Apple appeared in my inbox. It alerted me that my Apple TV Plus free trial was coming to an end, gave me the exact date I would have to pay the $ 4.99 per month, and told me when to cancel if I wanted to avoid being charged. There was even a helpful link to manage my subscription in the email.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

As an avowed stingy who has benefited from many free trials over the years, I can assure you that notices like the one Apple sent me are few and far between. And certainly, of the various subscriptions that I am currently paying for, approximately none have sent me the reminder “This is how you can stop paying us if you wish”.

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It’s a remarkably cunning move on Apple’s part. Rather than luring someone in with a free trial and hoping they won’t bother checking a calendar, Apple makes it very clear that their trial is about to end, even if it means losing recurring revenue. That helps build trust and goodwill, not just for Apple TV Plus but for the many other services Apple offers. And that more than makes up for the canceled subscriptions Apple will have to remove from the books because of those email reminders.

Turns out, I’ll stop using Apple TV Plus when my free trial ends. I’ve enjoyed Ted Lasso and a handful of other shows like Schmigadoon, but there’s not that constant stream of entertaining content that keeps me hooked. (Live sports and a larger library of older movies and shows can help with that, Apple, but again, I already told you.) Once Ted Lasso Season 3 hits later this year, I’ll probably be back with Apple TV Plus.

And when I do, I’ll feel much better doing business with Apple than with many other streaming service providers.

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