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Apple TV+ could suffer from apathy

James Leggate

Apple has reportedly spent billions on original programming for its Apple TV+ service, but will viewers tune in?

A recent survey of U.S. consumers by Ampere Analysis found a lack of interest could hamper the service, FierceVideo reported. A feeling among consumers that they already have enough streaming services could also stop customers from signing up, as the marketplace has recently become more crowded with entrants like Disney and NBCUniversal planning to enter the field already occupied by players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Apple TV+ launches Friday with a subscription costing $4.99. But only 38 percent of consumers were aware of the service, according to the report. That’s still ahead of some competitors like HBO Max, which had 30 percent consumer awareness and is due to launch next May.

Younger people were more likely to be aware of Apple TV+, according to the report. Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis, said in a statement that the 18-34 demographic of device owners will likely be the “core target group” for the service, at least for now.

Apple’s TV app is available on non-Apple devices like Roku and Amazon Fire. But people who don’t own Apple devices were half as likely as those who do to be aware of Apple TV+, and just 25 percent of non-Apple owners knew about the service, according to the report.

Modha said that Apple still has a large potential customer pool thanks to the popularity of its devices.

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“To sustain subscriber growth in the longer term, Apple will want to move beyond its own device universe and ensure it appeals to those outside its brand ecosystem,” Modha said in the statement.

Apple’s price point is lower than competitors like Netflix and the soon-to-launch Disney+. The company is also offering a free year-long subscription with new device purchases.

Some 21 percent of Apple device owners said it was likely, or highly likely, that they’ll subscribe, according to the report. Just 13 percent of people who don’t own Apple devices said they were likely to subscribe.

Apple has budgeted $6 billion for original content on the service, Bloomberg reported in August. Those titles include workplace drama “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell; dystopian sci-fi drama “See” starring Jason Momoa and “Dickinson,” a comedy based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson. Early reviews have been mixed.

Still, Apple appeared to feel positive about the impending launch. The company announced on Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings had beat Wall Street expectations, with CEO Tim Cook crediting growth from services, wearables and iPad sales.

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