Apple has been humble, maybe too humble, about its premium but poorly marketed streaming service, Apple TV+, which is churning out HBO-quality dramas that few people actually watch. As we discovered when Puck conducted its streaming study, in January, Apple TV+ ranked last in “familiarity”—only 20 percent of its own subscribers knew it carried Ted Lasso—despite over-indexing with affluent people. Incredibly, when we surveyed people again this summer, six months later, familiarity with the service had somehow dropped even lower.
But Apple is approaching a potential inflection point with its video business. Demand for its originals has increased each quarter, per Parrot Analytics, and Apple TV+ now ranks third behind Netflix and Prime Video in the U.S. Its series also score higher average IMDB user ratings overall (7.2) than those on HBO Max (6.9) or Prime Video (5.9), according to a JustWatch study. With an essentially limitless budget—Apple is worth nearly $3 trillion on a good day—content chiefs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg can afford to take big swings.
Of course, nowhere are Apple’s streaming ambitions more evident than in its expansion into live sports, and particularly its 10-year, $2.5 billion rights deal with Major League Soccer. Live sports still command attention at a scale that no other entertainment category can match. (The downside for streamers, of course, is that the leagues own the I.P. But that might just be the price of admission…)