Apple TV+ subscriber numbers may be more than Disney+

Apple has been quiet on the number of subscribers that its recently launched Apple TV+ streaming service has been able to get. But, if a recent report from the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, Apple TV+ subscriber numbers could be better than even Hulu and Disney+.

Apple TV+ ahead of Hulu and Disney+

Citing numbers of an analytics company (Ampere Analysis), the WSJ report says that Apple TV+ subscriber numbers stood at around 33.6 million in the last quarter of 2019. This is huge considering Apple launched the service on Nov. 1.

If the analytics company claim is true, Apple TV+ is bigger than Hulu and Disney+. As per the report, Hulu has about 32.8 million users, while Disney’s streaming service has about 23.2 million users. Two streaming services ahead of Apple are Netflix with 61.3 million users and Amazon Prime at 42.2 million.

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These estimates are based on a phone survey taken prior to the launch of Apple TV+ services. The analytics company carried out a 10-minute phone interview about the streaming services, such as Apple TV+ and HBO Max.

“When we first polled awareness of Apple TV+, prelaunch, we found it had pretty strong awareness,” Ampere Analysis research director, Richard Broughton, told Cult of Mac. “There were some strong initial metrics in the run-up to the launch of Apple TV+.”

Furthermore, the analytics company said that about 38% of the respondents had heard about Apple TV+. This is impressive considering the service was only announced the beginning of 2019.

However, it is still too early to talk about who will eventually win this streaming war as Disney+ is also relatively new and is currently available in selected countries. Also, one may argue that since Apple is giving away Apple TV+ to the buyers of new Apple devices, the real Apple TV+ subscriber numbers could be less.

Apple TV+ subscriber numbers: are they real?

On the other hand, there are those who believe giving free access to the service does not take away from the success of the service.

“If that’s even close to accurate I’d say Apple TV+ is a roaring success. Yes, of course, surely most of those customers are using it free of charge for the first year. But that’s the point of this ‘buy any Apple device, get a free year of TV+’ promotion,” says Apple commentator John Gruber.

Even though Apple’s content library is small compared to the other services, the company’s interconnected ecosystem makes up for it. A subscription fee is not the sole criterion to measure the success of the service. Instead, similar to Amazon Prime Video, which assists in selling Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ is an add-on that makes Apple devices more tempting. Apple is currently offering free access to the service to anyone who purchases a new iPhone, Mac, iPad or Apple TV box.

“Even if Apple was to encourage just 10% of their device base in the U.S. to replace devices six months sooner than they would … have done per year, you wind up with a figure of about $400 million in terms of the content spend Apple can afford,” Broughton said.

Ampere’s survey also suggested a similar thought. As per the survey, around one in five people would replace or upgrade to a new device to get access to the Apple TV+.

apple tv
Image source: Apple (screenshot)

Apple TV+: other details

Though it is still too early to tell the future of Apple TV+, the service has gotten off to a good start. If the service continues to add new and interesting content, it would surely dominate the video streaming space.

Apple recently teased a video of its upcoming Beastie Boys Story documentary, which should arrive on Apple TV+ in the spring. The documentary would hit the IMAX theatres on April 3, and arrive on Apple TV‌+ on April 24. This documentary is based on the Beastie Boys Book, which came out in Oct. 2018.

Apple TV+ came out on Nov. 1 and costs just $5 a month. It is even cheaper than Netflix’s cheapest subscription plan of $9 a month. Even Disney Plus costs $6.99 per month. Apple’s streaming service is ad-free and is available in over 100 countries.

Subscribers can access it via the pre-installed TV app on an Apple device, such as iPhone or iPad, or through smart TVs and set-top boxes from companies like Roku, Samsung and Amazon. Moreover, Apple is also streaming shows on its website for those using Safari, Firefox or Chrome.