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Everyone knows by now that streaming has become big business, and as the streaming wars between old favorites Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and new players Disney+, Apple TV+ and even more upcoming services really get going, we're going to start to see which streamers have the right stuff to go the distance. Right now, though, we're all wondering which of the new services has come out on top, and it sounds like Apple TV+ is the one to beat.
Apple TV+ debuted on November 1, and, instead of offering folks tons of licensed content that can't be found commercial-free anywhere else along with new programming (like many streamers do), the service decided to commit all of its billions upon billions of dollars on originals only. Seeing as how this is a very different tactic, one might think it wasn't a smart play, but it seems to be working out for Apple, which saw 33.6 million people subscribe in the fourth quarter of 2019.
And, guess what? According to the Wall Street Journal (via 9To5Mac), this is more subscribers seen in the last quarter of 2019 than by Apple TV+ competitors Hulu, and even Disney+. New Hulu subscribers for the quarter apparently came in at 31.8 million, while Disney+ saw 23.2 million subscribers. That's not a bad subscriber number at all to watch Apple TV+'s $6 billion in content over the next couple of years, right?
Although, now that we're talking the dollars and cents of things, it's not going to be so easy to turn these 33.6 million subscribers into cash made for Apple and its new streaming service. Why, you ask? Well, because many of the people who signed up are likely taking advantage of the free one-year subscription they got for buying any Mac, iPhone, Apple TV, iPod touch, or iPad after September 10 last year.
So, while many of that 33.6 million certainly did pay for Apple TV+, it's not as though everyone who signed up was just soooo intrigued by the idea of watching Jason Momoa play a blind, post-apocalyptic future warrior-man in See that they just had to pay to experience it on day one.
As mentioned previously, Apple TV+ is, currently, not a streaming service that people go to if they want to relax with an old favorite. HBO Max, which will debut sometime in the spring, will have all of Friends and Parks and Recreation ready to go, while Peacock (coming on July 15) will offer up The Office. Apple TV+ is an original only space right now, with only a couple of handfuls of shows available to watch.
Along with the aforementioned See, Jennifer Aniston starrer The Morning Show was up on day one, as was Dickinson with Hailee Steinfeld, alternate history science fiction epic For All Mankind and Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories revival, along with a few other shows that had some big name talent attached. So far, though, The Morning Show has been the only one to really sustain any buzz, with Aniston recently winning a SAG Award for her role there.
It will be very interesting to see if this Apple TV+ win can hold for much longer without the service offering people anything that entices with the potential of repeated binge sessions. The report also notes that Disney+ launched halfway through the last quarter of 2019, so its subscriber numbers are about to go up for that, and for its coming launch in Europe on March 24.
Time will tell if Apple TV+ can stay on top, especially with all the increased competition coming up, but if you stay tuned to CinemaBlend we'll have the latest for you!