Apple TV+ will have almost 26 million paying subscribers by 2025, a new report claims. That’s just a fraction of the 126 million subs that rival streaming service Disney+ is likely to have at that point in time.
Both services launched within two weeks of each other in November 2019. While Apple hasn’t revealed any TV+ subscription numbers, Disney CEO Bob Iger says Disney+ already has 28.6 million subs. That’s more than Digital TV Research thinks Apple TV+ will have five years from now.
Right now, the report projects that Apple TV+ has around 2.6 million paying subs. While that might seem a tiny number, it’s worth highlighting that this report only covers paying subscribers. It does not count the number of people who get Apple TV+ included as part of their purchase of a new Apple device.
Digital TV Research principal analyst Simon Murray told Cult of Mac that adding those subscribers to the count likely would put the total at “more than triple” the current 2.6 million. He projects that Apple TV+ will have 2.9 million people paying monthly for the service by the end of 2020.
In total, the U.K.-based research firm thinks there will be 553 million paying customers for the top five streaming video-on-demand services by 2025. Those services include Apple TV+, the upcoming HBO Max, Amazon, Disney+ and top dog Netflix. The report projects that Netflix will remain in the lead with more than 227 million subscribers. Amazon would follow in second place with just over 133 million paying subscribers.
Apple TV+ paying subs: Into the future
During Apple’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said Apple TV+ is “off to a rousing start.”
But Murray told Cult of Mac he thinks Apple doesn’t regard Apple TV+ as “a big profit center.”
“It sees it as an incentive for people to buy Apple products in a similar way to how Amazon Prime Video [helps sell Amazon products and services],” Murray said. He also said he thinks Apple’s reduced focus on Apple TV+, compared to some other streaming companies, will limit the amount Cupertino will spend on original content.
As with any projection, it’s important to pay attention to how these figures are calculated. Murray said that they are based on interviews with TV industry analysts and other professionals in 138 countries. He also factors in additional information about population, broadband penetration, device ownership and more.
Finally, the report assumes that Apple will continue with its current Apple TV+ strategy. That is to say that it will continue to offer the service at a similar price point, with both monthly subscription options and free access to Apple customers. Apple has yet to confirm whether it will do this.