- Apple TV Plus sign-ups in March and April were no greater than
February sign-ups, according to the research company Antenna,
suggesting that the streaming service’s subscriber growth is slow
compared to others during the coronavirus pandemic.
- But audience demand for Apple’s original TV shows has grown
since March, according to Parrot Analytics, particularly its
breakout hit, “Defending Jacob.”
- Viewers of the series aren’t watching other Apple originals on
the platform, though, Parrot data suggests.
- Apple has recently bought old TV shows and movies to grow a
library of licensed content, according to Bloomberg, but it may not
be enough to break out in a crowded sea of streaming services with
more bang for the buck.
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With people stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic,
streaming is on the rise.
Disney Plus and Hulu are likely the services
seeing the biggest gains in US subscribers since the outbreak
began, according to a recent survey from TV analytics firm EDO (the
former has gained over 54.5 million subscribers since launching in
November, and the latter had more than 30 million as of February).
And Netflix exceeded expectations in its Q1 earnings report last
month, adding 15.8 million subscribers globally. It now has 183
million subscribers worldwide.
But the data isn’t as clear cut for Apple TV Plus.
Data from the research company Antenna, which is based on a
variety of anonymized transactional data sources (like credit card
transactions), suggests that Apple TV Plus is the only major
streaming service that hasn’t surged in subscribers while people
practice social distancing. Antenna said that Apple TV Plus
sign-ups in March and April, when coronavirus guidelines were
implemented, were no greater than February sign-ups.
But audiences might, however, be warming to Apple TV Plus’
Data from Parrot Analytics provided to Business Insider suggests
there’s been increased “demand” for Apple TV Plus’ original
programming recently. The data company doesn’t look at subscribers,
but measures audience demand, which reflects viewership,
engagement, and desire weighted by importance. The demand share in
the US for Apple TV Plus’ programming among other streamers had
increased by more than 10% in the seven weeks after March 11.
“The impact the pandemic is having on audience demand has
certainly helped Apple TV Plus so far,” said Parrot Analytics
partnerships director Steve Langdon, adding that “Defending Jacob,”
starring Chris Evans, had been a breakout hit for the platform.
In the six months since its debut, the service’s content
selection is slim, but there is high demand for what is available,
according to Parrot.
Is that enough to grow a significant subscriber base?
It’s unclear how many people are actually using Apple TV Plus
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, based on anonymous sources
familiar with the matter, that about 10 million people had signed
up for Apple TV Plus by February, but only half were actually using
Apple hasn’t publicly revealed subscriber numbers. CEO Tim Cook
has only said that Apple TV Plus was “off to a rousing start,” as
And while the Antenna data didn’t specify exact subscriber
numbers, the fact that they weren’t increasing in recent months, as
other streaming services have surged, does not bode well.
‘Defending Jacob’ is a hit, but it may not be enough to inspire
Despite a lack of surging subscribers, Apple TV Plus might have
its first real hit.
Deadline recently reported that the latest Apple original
series, “Defending Jacob,” was Apple TV Plus’ biggest premiere
since the launch. According to Parrot Analytics, “Defending Jacob”
has been more than 32 times more in demand than the average show in
the US since premiering last month. But while “Defending Jacob” is
popular with audiences, its viewers aren’t watching other shows on
the platform, Parrot Analytics said.
Some of Apple’s original series have received lukewarm to
downright bad reviews from critics, with some exceptions
like “Little America.”
“Defending Jacob” has a 70% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes,
while others are labeled “rotten,” like “See” starring Jason Momoa
(44%) and “Truth Be Told” starring Octavia Spencer (32%). Its
initial flagship series, “The Morning Show,” starring Reese
Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston,
debuted with poor reviews that slightly improved as the season
progressed (it sits at a 60% critic score now).
Apple was probably hoping for a better reception after heavily
investing in such star-powered shows.
With few original programs available, even its biggest shows
might not be enough to sustain a strong subscriber base. And with
film and TV productions shut down across the entertainment industry
due to the coronavirus, it’s safe to assume second seasons of some
of its high-profile series like “The Morning Show” will be delayed,
leaving the service starving for more content.
Apple TV Plus is still a disappointing deal
At $4.99 per month, Apple TV Plus is the cheapest major
streaming service available right now, but
it’s still a disappointing deal. The service’s original
releases have been few and far between and despite how popular
“Defending Jacob” is with its users, it still doesn’t have a
“blockbuster” series like a “Witcher” (Netflix) or a “Mandalorian”
(Disney Plus) to drive interest.
Apple is taking some measures to potentially remedy these growth
and content concerns.
The company has purchased some older movies and TV shows and
have taken pitches from studios about licensing content, according
Bloomberg. It’s the first of what would be licensed content for
Apple TV Plus in a space where rivals like Netflix and Disney Plus
have large libraries of it. And
Deadline reported on Tuesday that the upcoming World War II
movie “Greyhound,” starring Tom Hanks, will skip its theatrical
release and head straight to Apple TV Plus.
But with so many other options on the table â€” from existing
streaming giants like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu to upcoming
competitors like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock
â€” Apple TV Plus may struggle to break through the crowd even if
Apple expands its content library.
Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Apple TV Plus' 'Defending Jacob' is a hit, but data suggests
the service's subscriber growth has been sluggish recently