Apple TV+ Is Not a Huge Failure, Actually

Apple TV+ Is Not a Huge Failure, Actually
Photo: Allen Berezovsky / Stringer, Getty Images

You know OF Apple TV+ — Apple’s ad-free subscription entry into the on-demand video streaming wars — but what do you really know about Apple TV+?If your answer to that question is, “Ted Lasso, and that’s pretty much it,” no one could rightly fault you.

Despite the undeniable success of the warm-and-fuzzy soccer comedy, which stars Jason Sudeikis (and other sentient, human actors) and has racked up a combined total of 20 Emmy nominations, Apple TV+ doesn’t have a lot of notable stand-outs — you may have heard of the Jennifer Aniston vehicle The Morning Show and not much else.

In the early days, the platform’s attempts to market itself were feeble, and industry insiders speculated that Apple just doesn’t have the chops to hack it on the creative programming side of the entertainment business.

But all that, The Information reports, might be about to change: Apple is reportedly gearing up to invest more than $US500 ($678) million on marketing its flagship streaming service next year, with the pace of new TV and movie releases sharply ramping up to at least one per week. Chris Rice — co-president of Endeavour Content, a production studio that has partnered with Apple on several projects — told The Information that what the company is currently endeavouring toward is “big and bold,” and said that it is “in a state of constant acceleration.”

If you’ve been reading the tea leaves, the decision to bet big on the streaming service makes sense: Apple has long signalled that it intends to play the long game with Apple TV+, even going so far as to break from its long-standing tradition of siloing its apps on its own proprietary hardware by shelling out for a dedicated Apple TV+ button on Roku remotes. Notably, Apple TV+ is also available on smart TVs made by non-Apple manufacturers

Despite lacking the deep bench of premium originals that HBO Max and Netflix offer, Apple TV+ has actually posted respectable subscriber numbers since it debuted on Nov. 1, 2019 — a fact which is likely largely attributable to its above-average name recognition alone.

While big-name streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ continue to dominate the market, Apple TV+ had amassed around 40 million subscribers by the end of last year, a person familiar with the numbers told The Information, about half of which were in free trial periods. (For reference, Disney+ reported about 116 million subscribers in August, and Netflix, which currently leads the pack, reportedly has around 209 million.)

The Information also reports that Apple is looking into acquiring a studio lot so that it can ramp up production on its own original productions, with a special focus on movies in particular. So for now, it seems, things are looking rosy over at Apple, and we should expect to see more content coming soon. That news might be more exciting were it not for Apple’s apparent appetite for the ultra-saccharine, with a programming mandate to only develop shows that “connect with humanity.” But hey, you take what you get — and sometimes what you get is more Ted Lasso.