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Severance on Apple TV+ hits No. 1 most-streamed series

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‘Severance’ on Apple TV+ hits #1 most streamed series
In Severance, you have to learn to expect the unexpected.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has a big hit on its hands with Severance. The weird workplace drama tops Reelgood’s list of the most-streamed series of the week.

The show debuted in February and the fifth episode premiered Friday. The first four were enough to push the series to the top of the chart.

Disney+ considers more affordable, ad-supported subscription for US

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Disney+ considers ad-supported plan
Disney's rivals already offer more affordable plan options.
Image: Disney/Cult of Mac

Disney+ is said to be exploring a more affordable subscription plan that will be supported by advertisements for viewers in the United States.

Its current $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year) price tag makes the service more affordable than Netflix but more expensive than Apple TV+, while rivals like Discovery+ and Paramount+ already offer ad-supported plans from $4.99.

Apple TV+ share of streaming market just keeps growing

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Appletvpluslogo
Apple TV+ has a growing chunk of the U.S. streaming market. Netflix does not.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ garners 5% of the U.S. streaming video market, according to a company that follows the industry. While that makes Apple TV+ a small player, the service started 2021 with just a 3% share, so the year saw significant growth.

Its two largest rivals, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, saw drops in their shares of the streaming market in 2021.

Disney+ gets SharePlay support on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

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Disney+ gets SharePlay support
You must be running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1 or tvOS 15.1 to use it.
Image: Disney

Disney+ just got a new update that adds SharePlay support on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The feature allows up to 32 people to get together and watch the same TV shows and movies simultaneously over FaceTime.

SharePlay is available across content from all Disney brands, including Marvel, National Geographic, Star Wars, and more. But you’ll need a device running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, or tvOS 15.1 to take advantage of it.

Long and fraught: The path to success for Apple TV+

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Apple TV+ Autumn 2021: Apple TV+ has some big shows coming this year.
Apple TV+ has some big shows coming this year.
Photo: Apple TV+

A year and a half in, Apple TV+ remains something of a black box. Ever since the streaming video service’s launch in November 2019, Cupertino has refused to reveal hard data about just how well Apple TV+ is doing.

In some respects, the future looks promising. Apple TV+ continues to add high-profile projects to its production queue. Apple TV+ shows and movies continue to rack up awards. And upcoming originals like an epic sci-fi adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and the second season of surprise hit Ted Lasso are generating buzz.

Plus, with the original one-year free trials ending — and new free Apple TV+ trials slashed to just three months — the $4.99-a-month streaming service seems increasingly confident about its value proposition for viewers.

Still, the Apple TV+ library continues to be dwarfed by rivals like Netflix and Disney+.

So what does the future hold? And what does “success” look like for Apple TV+ anyway? Cult of Mac asked the Entertainment Strategy Guy, a pseudonymous entertainment executive who writes about the business, how Apple TV+ is faring and what to expect next. His responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Apple TV+ wins on quality, but severely lags on quantity

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Apple TV app lands on PlayStation
Apple TV+ has some impressive quality control.
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ may be only a bit-player in the streaming wars, but on a pound-for-pound quality basis, it could actually be outperforming its competitors.

That’s according to a new study by Self Financial, which compared TV and movie data from Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and Apple TV+ to find out which offered the best quality viewing experience.

Disney+ raises prices $1 per month after announcing massive 87 million subscribers

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Disney+.standalone.logo
Disney+ is an undisputed success.
Photo: The Walt Disney Company

Disney has announced that its Disney+ streaming service will increase in price by a single, solitary dollar per month. That takes the monthly cost of the streaming service to $7.99 per month — or $79.99 per year if you buy an annual subscription.

Meanwhile, the price of the Disney Bundle, which also ties in Hulu and ESPN Plus, will add the same $1 to its price tag, bringing it to $13.99 per month. These price changes will kick into effect come March 26, 2021.

These are Apple’s picks for the best apps of 2020

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Best of 2020 app award
For the first time, Apple created a physical award to hand out to winners.
Photo: Apple

As 2020 thankfully sputters to its conclusion, Apple has released its list of the year’s best 15 apps and games “notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.”

The App Store Best of 2020 winners cover a multitude of areas — from the Zoom app that more or less defined the year of lockdown to streaming service Disney+ to a nifty sleep app.

Apple hires a top dealmaker who worked for Quibi, Hulu, and Disney

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Tim Connolly LinkedIn
Connolly recently updated his LinkedIn profile.
Photo: LinkedIn

Apple has hired a former executive who worked for shortform video service Quibi, in addition to Hulu and Disney, to work on growing its video-focused endeavors.

Spotted by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Tim Connolly recently updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his job at Apple. It’s not evident exactly when he started working in the new role.