Apple TV+ launches to ‘tepid demand’ – no kidding, really?

Apple TV+In the least surprising news I’ve read in weeks, Apple TV+ has launched to “tepid” demand, according to Variety. Data collected by Parrot Analytics obtained in the 24-hour period following the service’s launch less than a week ago measured demand levels, and showed that Apple TV lagged far behind Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Access.

All I can say is, no kidding, really?

Unlike all of those other services, Apple TV+ is a modest launch. It’s available to Apple hardware users, which would seem to give it a pretty broad audience: people in more than 100 countries and regions, with a potential reach of hundreds of millions – but that doesn’t mean everyone with a compatible device is going to be flipping the switch on day one. Or day 100. It’s going to be a slow burn for Apple, which is investing billions to get it off the ground.

What’s more, Apple TV has launched with original content only, rather than being backfilled with tons of legacy content from other services. Apple TV+ is launching with a total of eight original series, one documentary, and absolutely zero licensed content from other content providers.

Furthermore. Parrot’s own system for measuring audience isn’t actually based on actual consumption data – the gold standard employed by services like Nielsen’s benchmark TV ratings, according to the report:

Parrot’s proprietary “Demand Expressions” metric measures the audience demand worldwide via online expressions of interest across multiple sources, providing a proxy for engagement and interest in a title.

I read another article recently suggesting that Apple is doing a “slow burn” in terms of advertising Apple TV+, compared with the advertising it’s spending on the iPhone 11.

Well, again, no duh.

You just have to look at Apple’s latest quarterly earnings report to see where Apple’s revenue is coming from, in order to understand this phenomenon. Apple is ramping up ad buys for the product it actually makes money on.

So before you go reading too much into whether or not Apple TV+ is off to a great start or a miserable start, consider the source and understand the context. We’re going to see a lot more from Apple when it comes to Apple TV+, and declaring it a success or failure is prognostication for the far future, not for today.