The Virtuous Circle of Product Placement in Apple's TV+ Shows
Apple products are visible in an average of 32 camera shots in each episode of "The Morning Show," and an Apple logo is visible in roughly one-third of those shots, based on a tally count by The Wall Street Journal.
In one four-second scene in episode one of the flagship Apple TV+ series, nine Apple products are shown as two characters walk and talk through a newsroom, according to WSJ's report.
As far as product placement goes, it's an impressive count for the newsroom drama, which debuted last week to a mixed critical reception but a generally favorable audience reaction, according to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
"The Morning Show" stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, and reportedly costs more than $15 million per episode, but as a vehicle to push Apple's own products, it could be worth tens of millions of dollars. WSJ:
"The Morning Show" wastes little time giving Apple screen time. The first scene of the first episode opens with the character of executive producer Chip Black, played by Mark Duplass, sprawled on the floor of his office in the dark, feet away from a Mac computer, when the iPhone next to him lights up with an incoming call. About 20 seconds later, Steve Carell's soon-to-be-disgraced anchor, Mitch Kessler, is awakened by his iPhone. In total, there are 31 shots of Apple devices in Episode 1, including eight with the company's logo.
Other Apple products that get decent screen time in the series include MacBooks and iMacs, iPads, and AirPods and Apple Watches. Even the HomePod speaker makes a cameo on a producer's office desk.
Spending on product placement has doubled since 2012 to about $10 billion, according to PQ Media, a media research firm that tracks the industry. However, Apple has said it doesn't pay for product placement, and people close to "The Morning Show" told WSJ that producers weren't under pressure to include Apple products in the shows.
Of course it helps that Apple products are very popular – the iPhone has a 35 percent share of the U.S. smartphone market – so it stands to reason that Apple products will appear in shows depicting modern life. Apple products often show up in other TV series not affiliated with Apple, too. But as WSJ notes, the iPhone appears in "The Morning Show" so much that it can seem like an appendage.
Some viewers may consider the flagship series to be overzealous in its product placement, but the very fact that Apple is able to promote its hardware in a subscription service that was designed to help lessen the company's dependency on its iPhone business at a time of slowing sales, is a sweet sort of irony. If the service is a success, it could well be a virtuous circle for Apple's long-term product revenues.
"In a changing world where people watch less traditional television, especially younger audiences, how do you reach them?" said Patrick Quinn, president of PQ Media. "One way to do that is to launch your own streaming service and show off your product. Not everyone can do that, but Apple can."
Apple is providing customers with a free 7-day trial for Apple TV+, which is priced at $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Apple is also offering all customers who purchased an Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, or iPod touch after September 10 one free year of access to Apple TV+.