Apple TV+ tries to program an audience for its great titles

Apple TV+ quietly dominates in quality

Together with

The Future. Apple is making some of the best TV out there (Severance! Servant! Shrinking!), racking up awards (54 Emmy nominations since 2019), and even making an impact in movies (a Best Picture Oscar for CODA), but are people watching? That’s the question rippling around Hollywood. While many analysts believe Apple will eventually buy a studio to shed its quality-over-quantity approach, it may be more likely that the company’s penchant for control will make AppleTV+ content the highest form of brand marketing… whether or not it makes a profit.

Biggest company, smallest streamer
Is Apple TV+ successful?

  • Apple doesn’t share audience data, but third-party platforms peg the service’s subscriber count at just over 29 million (14.8 million in the US) — far smaller than its competitors.
  • Viewership is so small that AppleTV+ is the only major streamer not to chart on Nielsen’s overall TV viewership monthly breakdown; other than Ted Lasso, none of its shows have appeared on Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 chart.
  • But the company’s focus on premium scripted content (it has the highest batting average of good reviews) has also made it one of the most in-demand services, putting it on the path to growth.
  • And grow it has — per Parrot Analytics, it was the third most in-demand streamer last quarter. That’s good news for attracting new subscribers (and hopefully reducing churn).

Because Apple doesn’t license older shows and movies, the company lives or dies on its originals, which is why they need to be great. And because Apple has positioned itself as the AAA player of Hollywood (the biggest stars, the biggest payouts), Apple likely wants to see a return on that investment (hence why it just started canceling under-performing shows).

Or does it? Apple just so happens to be the most prominent company in the world, and the cultural caché it gets from its streamer may be paying in ways that aren’t strictly financial. So far, Tim Cook seems pleased enough.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


No design skills needed! 🪄✨

Canva Pro is the design software that makes design simple, convenient, and reliable. Create what you need in no time! Jam-packed with time-saving tools that make anyone look like a professional designer.

Create amazing content quickly with Canva