Apple TV+ might add reruns to bolster its 10 million subscribers


Apple TV+ is big. Just nowhere near as big as some of its rivals.
Photo: Apple

After hitting 10 million monthly subscribers, Apple TV+ might add older TV shows and movies to boost its numbers, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Apple actually passed the milestone in February, between three and four months after the service’s early November launch, the publication said. However, while those numbers might seem impressive, they are still paltry compared to Disney+’s reported 50 million subscribers. Disney’s streaming service added 10 million within its first day.

The Apple TV+ subscription number also includes people getting a free year after buying a new Apple device. Bloomberg notes that “only about half of that number have actively used the service.” Since it’s highly unlikely (though not unheard of) that someone pays a monthly subscription for a service they don’t use, that suggests that at least 50% of that 10 million are subscribing via the free trial.

Netflix added around 16 million customers in the first quarter of this year.

Apple TV+ is pivoting its strategy

Bloomberg suggests that Apple could be pivoting slightly with its Apple TV+ strategy. Although the focus remains on Apple Originals, the report claims that Apple is also looking to buy up the rights to older Hollywood movies and TV shows. Provided that’s accurate, it makes a lot of sense. Shows like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black get most of the press when it comes to streaming services like Netflix. But it’s perennial hits like Friends and The Office that frequently rack up the biggest numbers.

As recently as February, Tim Cook suggested that Apple would not go down the existing content route. “Apple TV+ is about original programming; it doesn’t feel right to just go out and take a rerun,” he told investors. From the sound of things, that approach may have changed somewhat. This could potentially be due to the effects of coronavirus, which has brought production on many Apple Originals to a screeching halt.

This would not be the first Apple service to pivot. Another recent report said that Apple News+ will start offering audio versions of newspaper articles in an attempt to boost subscriber numbers.

In a competitive environment, it only makes sense to go with whatever will get you the most subscribers.


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