Apple TV+ launched on Friday to much fanfare, however despite Apple’s massive spending on original content, it seems that Apple isn’t yet investing as much money as it could be to actually promote the new streaming service.
According to The New York Times, Apple is taking a “slow-roll” marketing approach to the new streaming service, especially when compared to what it’s been spending on marketing its latest iPhone 11 models.
- Data from marketing analytics company iSpot.TV, which measures advertising spending by major media and tech companies, shows that Apple spent $19.9 million on television commercials for its new Apple TV+ service in October.
- By comparison, in the same time frame, the company spent almost twice as much — $38.6 million — to advertise the new iPhone 11 models.
- The same trend was also seen in September, where $14.9 million was spent on Apple TV+ television spots versus $28.6 million for the iPhone.
While print and billboard advertising data isn’t available, it also looks like Apple followed the same spending strategy on digital marketing, with 139 unique digital ads for Apple TV+, versus 245 separate ads that featured the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max. Only in the month of September did Apple spend slightly more on Apple TV+ digital ad spots — $3.8 million compared with $2.4 million for the iPhone.
While this could make it seem like Apple TV+ isn’t the company’s top priority, there could actually be several other reasons for this.
A slightly more cynical perspective is that Apple isn’t particularly eager to attract attention to the relatively limited content that it’s going to have available at launch, especially in the already-crowded streaming market where it’s already difficult to be heard above the noise of competing services. Further, with Disney+ launching less than two weeks later, Apple may simply feel that there’s no point in trying to promote its handful of original shows against Disney’s massive content library.
Compared with the marketing blitz for Disney Plus, the streaming service that will arrive Nov. 12, the Apple TV Plus campaign seems more muted.The New York Times
Still, Apple isn’t a company that’s normally hesitant to spend money on advertising, and its ad campaigns have been among some of the most famous in history. It’s also pretty hard to say that Apple TV+ isn’t a huge priority for Apple when you consider that it’s already spent enough money to vault Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon to the highest-paid TV stars in Hollywood.
Attracting Paying Customers?
Of course, there’s another reason why Apple doesn’t need to spend as much on marketing for Apple TV+ right now, and that’s simply the fact that it doesn’t need to get a lot of people to actually pay for the service right now.
Keep in mind that Apple is giving away a free year of Apple TV+ to anybody who bought any new Apple device that can be used to watch the service. This includes not only its shiny new iPhone 11 models, but even the original $149 2015 era Apple TV HD, the $199 seventh-gen iPod touch, or even users who decide to buy an older iPhone 8 free on contract.
With 220 million users expected to upgrade to the iPhone 11 alone, analysts already conservatively estimate that Apple TV+ will have 100 million subscribers within the first year, and that’s assuming only half of new iPhone users actually try and check the service out. We think that number will probably be much, much higher, and could actually easily eclipse Netflix’s 158 million subscribers.
Of course, those won’t be paying subscribers, but they will be eyeballs for Apple’s original content, which the company undoubtedly hopes will attract more big-name studios and producers to come on board. Right now, however, Apple’s hardware devices like the iPhone are the hook that it hopes will draw more people into trying out Apple TV+, so it’s not surprising that it’s still putting more of a priority on advertising that side of things.
However, this also means that Apple’s most important marketing and advertising push isn’t right now with the launch of Apple TV+, but will in fact come next year when it starts needing to convince its customers to stay on board and begin actually paying for the service. Still, however, this could end up being more about retention — keeping customers coming back — than drawing new customers in.