Apple’s TV + streaming service reportedly has less than 20 million subscribers

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Apple hasn’t released official subscriber numbers for its TV + streaming service since its launch in 2019, but it could be lower than analysts previously estimated. According to CNBC, the tech giant told the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees that TV + has less than 20 million subscribers in the United States and Canada. A few months ago, Statista published an estimate that puts the number of subscribers to the service at 40 million by the end of 2020 in the United States alone.

The firm, however, admitted that the estimate does not “necessarily reveal how many paying subscribers are using the service.” CNBC also did not say whether the 20 million subscribers reported by the company were paying customers. He also didn’t mention how many of them got their subscription for free: Apple used to give one-year subscriptions to customers who buy new iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but it shortcut the three-month offer in June.

According to the report, having less than 20 million subscribers allowed Apple to pay the production team lower rates than the biggest streamers. Under the current contract seen by CNBC, streaming services can pay their employees at lower rates if they report less than 20 million subscribers to IATSE each July 1, as the profitability of streaming is “currently uncertain.” The union is negotiating a better deal, however, as the current rules are no exception for tech giants like Apple. He also argues that streaming can no longer be considered a “new medium”.

An Apple representative said CNBC that the company pays according to major streaming services, but declined to comment on the claimed subscriber number. 20 million is just a fraction of the number of subscribers to the biggest streaming services: according to Netflix 208 million subscribers in April, while Disney + claimed over 100 million back in March.


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