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Even with many stuck at home, Apple TV+ fails to show growth in the number of new subscribers

Even with many stuck at home, Apple TV+ fails to show growth in the number of new subscribers
Apple is on track to reach its goal of generating $50 billion in Services revenue in fiscal year 2020. Back in 2016, one year removed from what would be peak iPhone shipments, the company decided that it would be a good time to generate revenue from all of those active iPhone units (now over 900 million) by selling services with recurring subscription fees like Apple Music. So Apple set a goal to double its Services revenue from $25 billion in fiscal 2016 to $50 billion by fiscal 2020. Thanks to the addition of Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple TV+, Apple Pay and older sources of revenue like iCloud, the App Store, and AppleCare+, Apple brought in $26 billion in Services revenue for the first half of this fiscal year.

Apple TV+ has found its first hit in "Defending Jacob"

But there is some disappointment in Cupertino over the performance of Apple TV+. Business Insider reports that data from Antenna, which is based on anonymous transactional data (like credit card purchases), indicates that Apple TV+ is the only major streamer that hasn't seen a pickup in subscriptions during the pandemic when most people were forced to stay at home. The number of consumers signing up for Apple TV+ subscriptions in March and April was the same as the number that signed up in February.

Priced at $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ is the most affordable of the streamers but it has a dearth of original series and the competition has been strong in that department. Disney+ has "The Mandalorian" while Netflix has a number of popular originals including "Dead to Me." Disney+ starts at $6.99 a month while Netflix starts at $8.99 per month.

It does appear that demand has been picking up for Apple TV+ according to Parrot Analytics. The firm doesn't look at the number of subscribers that a service has but uses a number of metrics to determine audience demand. And Parrot says that in the seven weeks after March 11th, demand for Apple TV+ in the states rose 10%. The analytics company noted that Apple TV+ doesn't have a large selection of titles to choose from but that there is "high demand" for the content that is offered. While the number of subscribers hasn't grown since the pandemic kicked into high gear, Parrot Analytics partnerships director Steve Langdon says, "The impact the pandemic is having on audience demand has certainly helped Apple TV Plus so far."

It turns out that Apple's original series "Defending Jacobs" is a hit and its premiere set records on Apple TV+. Since premiering last month, Parrot Analytics says that in the U.S., the show has been 32 times more in demand than the average show in the states. But the rest of the original programming on Apple TV+ is not doing so well. Even the star-studded "The Morning Show" with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston got off to a slow start. "Defending Jacob" is about a deputy district attorney whose 14-year old son Jacob is accused of murder and is based on a novel by William Landay. Chris Evans stars as Andy Barber, Jacob's father.

Just the other day, we told you that Apple is seeking to bolster Apple TV+ content by buying old movies and television shows. That strategy makes a lot of sense right now considering that Hollywood is shut down because of the coronavirus. And in what could prove to be a big deal for Apple+, the upcoming World War II film "Greyhound" starring Tom Hanks is coming straight to the streamer. The film originally was scheduled to premiere in movie theaters.

A free year of Apple TV+ comes with the purchase of a new Apple device. And others get a free one-week trial. But even at $4.99 per month, the question is whether these users will keep Apple TV+ after their free year or one-week trial ends or drop the service. With the economy what it is at the moment, consumers might have a limited amount to spend on streaming services. One big hit is not going to be enough for Apple TV+ to take on Disney+ or Netflix. Both have deep lineups that include originals and older programming and films.

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