Avoiding the content catalog 'arms race' is helping Apple TV+, says analyst

Apple TV+ Apple TV interface
Apple TV+ Apple TV interface (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple TV+ has avoided the "arms race" of Netflix and other streamers, says a new report.
  • By focusing on quality content rather than a huge library, Apple TV+ has won critical acclaim.
  • CODA was the first movie to win Best Picture and hail from a streaming service.

A smaller Apple TV+ catalog but a focus on quality content is thought to be one of the reasons that the streaming service is doing so well with critics, according to a new report.

Michael Nathanson, a media analyst with MoffettNathanson, believes that the decision to stick to "quality over quantity" has so far stood Apple TV+ in good stead. That's according to a new WSJ report.

Apple TV+ launched in 2019 and while it has a smaller collection of content for customers to choose from, it's that decision to avoid the "arms race" that Netflix and other streamers are in, that has allowed it to collect some top-notch movies and TV shows. The recent Oscars wins for CODA show how important that decision has been — the movie cost Apple TV+ a cool $25 million, a record for Sundance after the movie premiered there in January last year. The movie went on to become the first from a streaming service to win the coveted Best Picture Oscar this past weekend.

The move into streaming TV content was one that Apple hoped would help diversify its services revenue, something that it has managed to do — despite Apple TV+ being a relatively small portion of the overall Apple services business.

While the streaming service, which costs $4.99 a month, makes up a small portion of those revenues, it has grown steadily since its launch. Revenue for Apple TV+ nearly doubled in its fiscal 2021, which ranges from October to September, compared with its fiscal 2020, to an estimated $2.2 billion, according to Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst for Bernstein.

CODA is far from the only Apple TV+ name to do well in terms of industry praise and awards, of course. Ted Lasso is a massive hit while The Morning Show and For All Mankind have been winners in their own right, too. And priced at $4.99 per month, Apple TV+ is cheaper than the competition. Another factor that could help it gain, and then keep, subscribers. The move into live sports with Friday Night Baseball certainly won't hurt its chances, either.

If you want to enjoy Apple TV+ in style, be sure to check out our list of the best Apple TV deals on the market today.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.