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WSJ report estimates Apple TV+ has 33.6 million US subscribers, which is good because it's free

Apple TV+ Keynote
Apple TV+ Keynote (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • A Wall Street Journal article has hinted at estimates about Apple TV+ subscriber figures.
  • According to data from Ampere Analysis, Apple TV+ has an estimated 33.6 million subscribers.
  • Those figures would put it ahead of both Hulu (31.8 million) and Disney+ (23.2 million).

A Wall Street Journal story regarding Amazon Prime content includes data that estimates Apple TV+'s subscriber count to be around 33.6 million users, putting it ahead of both Hulu and Disney+.

The report as picked up by John Gruber over at Daring Fireball, was actually about how roughly two-thirds of the content on Amazon Prime is user-uploaded, and as a result quite sketchy.

Buried in the report, however, was a graphic alluding to the number of distinct titles on each platform. The second half of that graphic contained Q4 2019 US customer base estimates by service. The figures are as follows:

Netflix: 61.3 Amazon Prime: 42.2 Apple TV+: 33.6 Hulu: 31.8 Disney+: 23.2

Now, these numbers are US only, so don't include any figures for users of Apple TV+ around the world, which might mean they're on the more conservative side.

As Gruber notes, what is certain at this stage is that nearly all of the customers subscribed to Apple TV+ aren't paying for it. Apple offered a year's free subscription to anyone who bought an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac or Apple TV after September 10, 2019. There's a niche argument hear that says Apple might even be a little disappointed with that uptake.

However, Gruber points out that he believes this is still a "roaring success" for Apple. Naturally, Apple is banking on a lot of their customers staying with the service when the free year runs out, or just forgetting to turn off the subscription. Remember also, everyone who has Apple TV+ free does so because they bought something else from Apple, so really Apple hasn't lost out much at all...

Interestingly, he also notes Disney+'s ascendency despite the fact it is most definitely not free and was only released halfway through the quarter. Gruber reckons that Disney+ will eventually take the number one spot on the list.

As mentioned, these Apple TV+ figures don't include global users, just the US, so there's a good chance they're conservative. But whilst the majority of them are not paying subscribers, you can bet that Apple will be encouraged by this early showing, and is counting on plenty of those customers still being here this time next year.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.