Apple TV+ Subscribers Who Join for Major Releases Like 'Greyhound' Don't Stick Around
The release of popular Tom Hanks movie "Greyhound" saw a major jump in Apple TV+ subscribers when it launched, but most of those subscribers did not stick around, according to data compiled by subscriber measurement service Antenna and shared by The Wall Street Journal.
Apple TV+ saw around 60,000 sign-ups when Greyhound was released on July 10, 2020, with that number not counting those who signed up for free long-term trials for purchasing an Apple TV product. Fewer than 50 percent of those new users remained subscribed at the six month mark after the "Greyhound" launch, with 30 percent of subscribers who signed up for the movie debut dropping within the first two months.
Apple is not alone in finding it difficult to retain subscribers who sign up specifically for a major new TV show or movie launch. Similar trends were seen with the Disney+ launch of "Hamilton," and the HBO Max premiere of "Wonder Woman 1984."
All streaming services see a portion of U.S. customers unsubscribe every month and have been signing up more users than they lose over time. But viewers who join a service right after a big release tend to leave significantly faster than the average streaming customer, according to an analysis of Antenna data.
TV shows like "Ted Lasso" have the potential to keep subscribers for a longer period of time because they are released on a week to week basis, unlike movies that can be watched in one sitting.
Streaming services that want to retain customers need to continually produce popular content to keep subscribers engaged and paying out monthly subscription fees. It's important for streaming services to have a "couple big, nice theatrical movies every quarter to make it feel like it's really valuable," Moffett Nathanson analyst Michael Nathanson told The Wall Street Journal.
Apple has never provided details on how many Apple TV+ subscribers that it has, but the numbers are likely to be far behind popular services that include Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix. Disney+ in particular has seen incredible success since its November 2019 launch, and in November, the streaming service had over 118 million subscribers.
Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu all have much more expansive content offerings, as these services include TV shows and movies sourced from third-party production companies and television networks. Apple TV+ includes almost all original content, and it has not been around long enough for Apple to build up a significant back catalog.
Antenna's data is aggregated from third-party apps that help users manage their email inboxes or stick to a monthly budget, and it includes information from a sample of five million U.S. users.