Apple TV+ comes in last

“As of August, Apple TV+ has earned the smallest share of subscriptions among the premium streaming video on demand platforms.”

From Brandon Katz’s “State of the Streamer: Apple TV+ is Charting a Unique Path Through the Streaming Wars” posted last week by The Observer:

Nearly two years after launching Apple TV+ in November of 2019, Apple has remained notoriously secretive about its fledgling streaming service. While Netflix boasts about its market leading 209 million global subscribers and Disney+ reminds the industry that it’s the fastest growing streamer with 116 million subscribers, Apple has never released an official accounting of how many viewers its streaming service has signed actually up.

According to Variety, Apple has said it has less than 20 million TV+ subscribers in the U.S. and Canada (which conveniently allows it to pay discounted rates to members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union). The Informationreports that Apple TV+ has 40 million global accounts and 20 million paying customers. Estimates from industry analyst Entertainment Strategy Guy suggest Apple TV+ has accrued just 8.1 million paying customers in the U.S. (which is certainly less than 20 million). Regardless of which datapoint you choose, the immediate reaction is the same: Apple TV+ is severely lacking after nearly two years…

As of August, Apple TV+ has earned the smallest share of subscriptions among the premium streaming video on demand (SVOD) platforms in the U.S., per transactional data firm Antenna…

Yet different streaming services have different ambitions and raw subscriber counts are not the only metric of success and failure in the streaming wars.

“They have data, cash, and prestige,” [David Offenberg, Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance in LMU’s College of Business Administration] said. “If they use those wisely and they’re patient, they can continue building the service to the point where subscribers are using it for more than one month at a time.”

“For Apple TV+ to be a seriously viable product that consumers are willing to spend $5 a month on — or an app in a bundle that they actually want to open — the value proposition has to be much better than what it currently is,” [Julia Alexander, Senior Strategy Analyst at Parrot Analytics] said. “Apple TV+ has to create people’s favorite show, which the team has done with Ted Lasso, but also give them a reason to stick around every night day after day.”

My take: Apple doesn’t need to win this race in order to win.

25 Comments

  1. Peter Kropf said:
    “My take: Apple doesn’t need to win this race in order to win.”

    Agreed. And, over the next 5 years or so, they can build Apple TV+ into a powerful selection of family-friendly offerings. (Apple Maps continues to improve every year, although its debut was less than awesome.)

    7
    October 3, 2021
  2. Dan Scropos said:
    How are they counting paid subscriptions? Just standalone, or do the subscriptions under Apple One count? This could create a huge disparity.

    Apple TV+ is something I’ve asked friends about and most have no idea of its existence, let alone its content. My belief is that Apple will market it far more when they feel the newer content catalog is closer to that of its competition and that’s probably still 2-4 years away. The competition has a content head start of decades, so patience will be needed. For now, it’s still finding its footing and doing an adequate job.

    3
    October 3, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      The competition has a content head start of decades,

      That says it all.

      The argument against Apple’s success so far, is the as has been made about every new product since the original iMac. The “experts” have been so wrong, so many times, I no longer pay any attention to their musings.

      With zero special knowledge I predict that Apple will be considered a major player amongst Streamers in about five years, and the elephant in the room in ten.

      There are many reasons for this belief. Chief among them is Apple silicon (CPU, GPU and 5G radio), quality content and a history of not trying to make a big splash right out of the gate. One day you wake up and Apple’s new whiz bang is the leader of the pack, and you say to yourself, “How did that happen so quickly”, when the reality is that it took 5 -10 years to achieve.

      3
      October 3, 2021
      • David Drinkwater said:
        I dunno.

        I’d say the Mac made a big splash in a small pond right out of the gates.

        The iPod did pretty well (and led to many Windows coverts).

        The iPhone: well, that goes without saying.

        I think the iPad did pretty well.

        I think the Watch does pretty well.

        I don’t know how the AirPods are doing.

        I don’t think Apple always comes out slowly. They’ve certainly had some fizzle flops, but generally not.

        And the iPhone. Good lord. Not to repeat myself. It may have created Internet 3.0: the Internet in your pocket — with a camera to prove it!

        0
        October 4, 2021
  3. Horace Dediu said:
    All are losers. The winners are YouTube and TikTok. It’s not even close.

    5
    October 3, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Horace Dediu: Does TicTok have a streaming service? YouTube does plus advertising in absence of streaming. TicTok, I don’t know.

      0
      October 3, 2021
  4. Gary Morton said:
    I subscribe to most of the services noted. In terms of content viewing over the past month, my household watched more ATV+ than any other streamer. It feels like they are catching up fast.

    1
    October 3, 2021
  5. Robert Stack said:
    I watched the new Jon Stewart show last night – it premiered on 9/30. It was an in-depth look at how “burn pits” at military bases have exposed service members to high levels of toxic chemicals, often resulting in serious health issues AFTER they leave the service. Then The Veterans Admin often claims they don’t have the responsibility to provide health care. The show culminated in a 60 Minutes-like interview with Stewart going head-to-head with a high-ranking official at the VA trying to get him to justify a policy that seems heartless…

    While Stewart threw out some funny one-liners here and there, the show is NOT a comedy. It was a serious look at a serious issue. I’m not sure Stewart fans will like this show; I’d be curious to hear what others think…

    0
    October 3, 2021
  6. Timothy Smith said:
    Should have bought Seinfeld.

    0
    October 3, 2021
  7. Daniel Epstein said:
    Most people don’t understand what Apple needs from Apple TV+ . Maybe not even Apple. They don’t need to be the most popular streaming service. They just have to not lose too much money or be disgraced by the content. If this was Apple’s only product then analysis from this quote below might be true. Although at 5 dollars a month that is only about 1 Large cup of Starbucks coffee a month here in NYC so a pretty good deal for a monthly streaming subscription.
    “For Apple TV+ to be a seriously viable product that consumers are willing to spend $5 a month on — or an app in a bundle that they actually want to open — the value proposition has to be much better than what it currently is,” [Julia Alexander, Senior Strategy Analyst at Parrot Analytics] said. “Apple TV+ has to create people’s favorite show, which the team has done with Ted Lasso, but also give them a reason to stick around every night day after day.”
    I have found I am using my Apple TV more and starting to watch other services through the Apps they have so maybe the old goal of Apple TV is still being tried in some fashion with Apple TV+.

    0
    October 3, 2021
  8. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    How can Apple come in last if it has not entered the race?

    4
    October 3, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Pail Leitao: How can Apple come in last if it has not entered the race?

      I assume since Apple attends the Awards that their attendance connotes they are in the running.

      1
      October 3, 2021
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        @Jerry Doyle Having worked in the entertainment industry, it’s fun to attend the awards. It’s a nice night out. It doesn’t mean you are playing the same game or in the same race as everyone else in the same room. Different awards, different genres, different markets and different goals. Apple isn’t Netflix. Netflix will never be Apple.

        1
        October 3, 2021
        • Jerry Doyle said:
          @Robert Paul Leitao: No matter Robert Paul, all in attendance are seeking awards and therefore have placed themselves in the running. The ones who leave with the most awards are looked upon as leaders in the running. It is a race that all in attendance are running, no matter the lens some choose to observe the competitors.

          1
          October 3, 2021
          • Robert Paul Leitao said:
            @Jerry Doyle Awards are good. However, they are not the end game. Please remember these are publicly traded enterprises. For example, I invest in Disney because I like the theme parks and the animation properties. I really don’t know how many awards the company has won through the ages. I don’t invest in Apple because Ted Lasso won a lot of awards. If I were to invest in Netflix it would be based solely on the prospects for its streaming business. Different enterprises, different priorities, different strategies and different desired outcomes. Each of the enterprises have streaming services. Each of them may or may not win some awards. The award shows are fun to attend.

            3
            October 4, 2021
            • Jerry Doyle said:
              @Robert Paul Leitao: Robert, I hear your perspective on awards and accept it even though I disagree respectfully with your viewpoint. I find your angle somewhat disingenuous to the entire awards events in that your angle diminishes their stated importance and recognition by the players in the running, as well as the entire film industry. Yes, awards are not the end game but awards enhance the value of the recipient and their contribution to the franchise with whom the recipient associates. In the absence of winning sufficient recognition for the products Apple TV+ creates, then Apple TV+ days are numbered. It is the awards that drive the value upwards of the franchise. To relegate awards only as a fun event to attend for a night out on-the-town is to demean the dignity, the honor and recognition bestowed on all those involved in the hard work, sweat and tears that went into the creation and making of the films. Whether you or Apple TV+ desire to admit that awards are not the end game, I contend that if awards are not forthcoming then Apple TV+ (or any studio) won’t last long as a competitor in the streaming business. Let just say we agree to disagree about this subject.

              2
              October 4, 2021
              • Robert Paul Leitao said:
                @Jerry Doyle The award shows are industry trade shows. Kind of like truck shows and electronics shows but for movies and music. That’s all they are. Lot of hype, fun to attend and I really don’t watch them from home. For some they have meaning. I’m glad they have meaning for you. For you, that’s what matters. I hope you continue to enjoy them.

                0
                October 4, 2021
  9. Gregg Thurman said:
    More than money, real talent wants to work where they get a legitimate shot at an Emmy or an Oscar.

    Of course they like to get paid, and Apple can do both. Who else can say that without a spin doctor?

    1
    October 3, 2021
  10. Daniel Epstein said:
    One thing I find in my watching TV or movie adaptions of novels is the less I remember about the source novel or novels the more likely I judge the TV or movie on its own merits. While this version does have problems which I have noticed I am less concerned about it being faithful to to the novels as for sure the novels are not TV ready. I usually only complain when they change something that the novel did better than the adaptation.

    1
    October 3, 2021
  11. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Seems “Foundation” was bound to disappoint.

    Too many sky-high expectations from too many sci-fi faithfuls.

    Bad combo.

    2
    October 4, 2021
    • Hugh Lovell said:
      Disappoint fans who expected a direct book-to-screen translation, perhaps. It’s not disappointing me because I’ve not read the books in decades. I see this as its own thing, independent.

      1
      October 4, 2021

Leave a Reply