Even though every new iPhone, Mac or iPad purchased last fall came with a free subscription to Apple TV+, a relatively small percentage of people signed up, according to an analyst, who estimates that the strategy garnered the streaming service only 10 million subscribers.
Counting up Apple TV+ subscriptions
Apple itself refused to reveal how many people joined its new video service when reporting last quarter’s financial results. All CEO Tim Cook said was, “Apple TV+ is off to a rousing start.”
However, Toni Sacconaghi of AllianceBernstein dug through Apple’s results and thinks he came up with some subscriber numbers. According to his estimate, less than 10% of those who bought a new device from Apple last quarter went on to sign up for Apple TV+.
Sacconaghi notes that the cost of offering this service for free has to be included in the iPhone-maker’s financial results. And after talking to Apple execs, he says the company only included $60 million for this. That works out to be fewer than 10 million subscriptions, while estimates indicate Apple sold about 90 million devices.
This isn’t all the evidence that’s available, though. Ampere Analysis surveyed customers and placed the number of Apple TV+ subscribers at 33.6 million. Also, Parrot Analytics says Apple introduced more popular shows in Q4 2019 than Netflix, Disney+ or other streaming rivals.
Does Apple have a problem?
In his note to investors today, AllianceBernstein’s Sacconaghi proposed some reasons why Apple was seeing so little demand for its streaming service … assuming his estimate is correct. He suggested that Apple TV+ hasn’t been promoted enough on Apple’s own devices. That said, Sacconaghi wonders if Apple deliberately sought a slow launch because having to write off the cost of giving free Apple TV+ to about 90 million users at once would have been a drain on the company’s quarterly financial results.
The analyst also raises the possibility that many people didn’t take their Apple TV+ subscription because they weren’t interested, even for free. The service debuted last quarter with just a handful of shows.
However, Apple is moving to add more. It has more than half a dozen more series planned for the first half of this year. And the company is reportedly considering purchasing MGM to add a catalog of classic and modern movies.
Anyone who purchased a new iPhone, Mac or iPad in December has through the end of February to claim their free subscription to Apple TV+. Visit the TV+ app to do so.