HBO Shuts Down Apple TV Channel, Paramount+/Showtime Bundle Subscriptions Canceled
In theory, Apple TV Channels makes TV subscriptions simpler because you can sign up for third-party services in the Apple TV app using your existing Apple payment method. Unfortunately, Apple TV Channels subscribers have experienced some headaches over the past week.
First, WarnerMedia shut down its HBO Apple TV Channel as of 22 July 2021, expecting users to switch to the HBO Max app. Apple sent users an email letting them know what happened and that they will receive a refund or credit for any unused portion of their subscriptions. Apple also gave them a code to get three months of HBO Max ad-free at a discounted rate of $9.99 per month. That code works through 5 September 2021.
Second, while Paramount+ and Showtime are both still available on Apple TV Channels, those who took advantage of last year’s two-for-one subscription have had those subscriptions canceled without warning. It’s not yet certain if the cancellation was a bug or was intentional. To see if your subscription was canceled, go to Settings > Your Name > Subscriptions on an iPhone.
In my case, the Paramount+/Showtime monthly subscription simply lapsed without auto-renewing. However, it was still available in Settings>(my name)>Subscriptions and it accepted my manual renewal just now.
Interestingly, yesterday (the day my subscription would have normally auto-renewed) I got several Apple Card notifications on my lock screen for the same amount as the monthly Paramount+/Showtime subscription fee, none of which actually showed up in my Apple Card transactions list. The manual renewal I just made, however, did show up in that list. I suspect that the bundle wasn’t canceled by Paramount but that there was some glitch with the auto-payment processing system that kept this month’s automatic renewal from going through.
Here’s what I think happened. A subscription to Apple TV+ is required to qualify for the Paramount+/Showtime bundle. People who had Apple One subscriptions and also had a qualifying device-purchase subscription to Apple TV+ were getting a $4.99 a month credit to their Apple ID (through June). Once the credit stopped, Apple’s authentication system glitched, and failed to acknowledge the existing Apple TV+ subscription bundled with Apple One. Once that got sorted out, the subscriptions were reinstated (or made eligible for re-subscribing, as I and Michael discovered).
My thinking is that the big issue all the streaming services have to reckon with is that none of them has been able to make even a tiny little dent in Netflix. And Amazon, who has been very aggressive in streaming, just paid $8.45 billion for MGM:
Distribution is just as important as content development in the streaming video business, an it doesn’t look like Apple TV and Plus are delivering hits or accumulating significant audience share. IMHO, Apple should have bought a studio with a substantial library, produced more content and broadened their targets. Instead, they passed on Fox, MGM, etc. I think that Tim Cook is a brilliant CEO that has accomplished amazing things and continues to raise Apple to new heights, except for TV and Plus. It’s not like Apple doesn’t have trillions of $ sitting in the bank. Steve Jobs, who changed the entertainment world when he wrangled the music business into distributing via Apple Music, must be turning in his grave over this.
I think this was indeed a glitch. Rich Mogull told us that his Paramount+/Showtime subscription renewed itself.
For what it’s worth, I renewed mine manually yesterday, and it seems to have gone through. I even got the receipt from Apple stating that I had been charged for the “Paramount+/Showtime bundle.”
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