Apple TV+ had more than 33 million users in the US in Q4 2019, more than half of Netflix's 61.3 million and significantly more than Disney's 23.2 million, according to analysis in the Wall Street Journal.
Apple TV+ ahead of Disney+?
There are many good reasons to be skeptical about these estimates. Is Apple TV+, a service with only a handful of titles, more popular than Disney+, which has a library full of beloved titles?
Let us start by listing the facts. Netflix's 61.3 million number is accurate as reported in its earnings report. Disney has confirmed that it signed up 10 million subscribers on launch day. We will most likely get an update soon with the release of Disney's earnings report. Apple has yet to comment on the matter. Apple TV+ and Disney+ were both launched in november 2019.
How would Apple TV+ have managed to gain so many users in such as short time? With the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac (after September 10, 2019), users can take advantage of a promotion giving them 1-year free access to Apple TV+.
We will not know exactly how many devices Apple sold in Q4 2019 (plus September 2019) but we know that it sold 77.3m iPhones, 13.2m iPads and 5.1m Mac devices in Q4 2017, according to its earnings report. Around 40% of revenue was in the Americas.
Based on those numbers, it would seem that Ampere Analyses assumes that most buyers have accepted the promotion to get 1-year free access to Apple TV+.
Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
One could point out that these are not "real subscribers" but Disney+ is also offered free of charge to about 50 million Verizon customers so Apple TV+ and Disney+ are comparable in this regard. The big question of course is how many will stick around after the free trial ends.
Also read: Apple TV+ in 2020: Spielberg's 'Amazing Stories', 'The Banker', 'Central Park'
Besides Netflix, these are all estimates but even if the analysis in the Wall Street Journal is off by 50%, Apple TV+ would still be a huge success. As would Disney+. Hopefully, we will soon get official subscriber data. It is also worth noting that the launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+ have done little to hinder Netflix's wild growth.
- Source: Wall Street Journal