Entertainment expert claims "nobody's watching Apple TV Plus", suggesting numbers are much lower than rivals

Slow Horses on AppleTV Plus
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's TV Plus subscription is home to some fantastic shows you can't see anywhere else, including Ted Lasso, Slow Horses, Foundation and much more. Still, as the company throws more money at its slate of releases, it appears it's actually slipping behind the competition.

That's according to Matthew Belloni's Puck newsletter (paywalled), where he says "Nobody's watching Apple TV+: February Edition".

"This continues to be the funniest and most underreported story in Hollywood," he continues.

"Nielsen’s monthly Gauge report of streaming viewership shows Apple TV+ at 0.29 percent of viewership, waaay below bottom-tier streamers Paramount+ (1.1 percent of viewership) and Pluto TV (.8 percent), and neck and neck with Discovery+ (.24 percent), a service that was largely subsumed by Max and is not marketed at all.

"Remember, Apple’s number includes a full month of Masters of the Air and Killers of the Flower Moon, the latest incredibly expensive programming."

It's a fair point to make in the wake of spiralling budgets that have brought the likes of Ridley Scott's Napoleon, Kristen Wiig's Palm Royale, and Manhunt to Apple's service.


(Image credit: Apple)

How big are Apple's budgets?

As per the Telegraph (paywalled), Killers of the Flower Moon, which didn't land any Oscars, crossed $137 million against a budget of $200 last month, while Foundation's first season cost $45 million. The Morning Show reportedly costs $15 million per episode.

Apple doesn't release subscriber numbers and hasn't since 2019, but it appears the hit rate of its big-budget blockbusters simply isn't high enough.

The Foundation subreddit is at least feeling buoyant that the show's lower viewer numbers are a platform-wide issue than one specific to the ambitious sci-fi epic, but others have noted Apple TV's marketing pales in comparison to many similar services.

Others suggest that throwing three months of Apple TV Plus in with Apple purchases was the only reason they checked out the service in the first place.

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Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.

  • Annie_M
    The supposed experts neglected to check with me!
  • Iconoclysm
    Ahh Neilsen...the reason all US TV programming was for the dumbest among us for more than half a century. If anything does poorly there, it's probably because it's good.
  • Lee_Bo
    Well, I don’t know who Matthew Belloni is, but we’re using ATV everyday.