Insights

Ted Lasso and Apple TV+: On a path to necessity 

28 July, 2021

Ted Lasso is back for a second season, and with it conversations about Apple TV+’s place in the new streaming hierarchy. 

The second season of Jason Sudeikis’ heartwarming show about an American coach trying to navigate the intricacies of English football is off to a great start, debuting to 38.7x the demand of the average US television series.

It’s also 20x more demand than Ted Lasso’s first season debut (1.9x the demand of the average TV series in the US) back in 2020. By July 24, Ted Lasso was the eighth most in-demand overall show in the United States, boasting 41.2x more audience demand than the average show.

To showcase that demand strength, Ted Lasso was also the most in-demand digital original in America, just behind Disney+’s Loki (42.8x).

Apple announced that Ted Lasso had the most streamed premiere weekend compared to every other original on the streaming service. Although Apple did not give out numbers, the company added that Ted Lasso “increased its viewership by 6x over season one,” according to Variety. The show’s second season also led to “increased engagement” for other Apple TV+ originals, including Mythic Quest, Schmigadoon, and Physical

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Parrot Analytics data shows that Mythic Quest and Physical certainly saw small bumps in demand over Ted Lasso’s premiere weekend, but more interestingly, demand for Apple TV+ originals as a whole have continued to grow. Apple TV+ is the fifth largest distributor of in-demand digital original series in the world (5.4%), coming up just behind Netflix (48.3%), Amazon Prime Video (12.7%), Disney+ (7.3%), and Hulu (5.6%). 

Season over season demand for some of its most popular series continues to grow, including big jumps in demand for shows like For All Mankind and Mythic Quest between their first and second seasons. Servant saw an overall demand in week-to-week episodes in its second season compared to its first season, too. 

Apple TV+ is still tiny compared to competitors in the SVOD space, but the shows on the less-than-two-year-old platform are beginning to find an audience. Unlike Netflix or HBO Max, Apple TV+ doesn’t exist solely as a streaming service play for the tech giant; it’s a core part of a subscription bundle service (Apple One) that helps drive a continuous revenue cycle and betters the likelihood of a customer remaining in the Apple hardware ecosystem come upgrade time. 

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Justifying that bundle, however, and convincing customers they need Apple One means ensuring that nearly each part of the bundle is a necessity. If Apple TV+ has a regular slate of in-demand TV shows and films, then it’s easier to convince subscribers to stick around month after month. 

Constant appetite for new and returning series leads to continued demand, which in turn transforms a streaming service option into a necessity for customers. The more SVOD and AVOD offerings there are for consumers to seek out, the harder it is to maintain that demand across an entire portfolio of shows. Every quarter needs a new or returning hit. The higher the cost, the higher volume of in-demand series and films are required to justify the value proposition.

Apple TV+ has undoubtedly continued to grow, seeing a 54.3% improvement over Q3 2020 when Apple TV+ was at 3.5% global demand share. That doesn’t mean Apple TV+ is a necessity just yet, though. Apple is still primarily giving away its entertainment offering for free through extended free trials and new promotional opportunities like the most recent partnership with Sony to give PlayStation 5 owners six free months of Apple TV+. 

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Without a library of classic shows and movies that encourage returning viewership day after day, Apple is entirely reliant on new series building up and sustaining an active subscriber base — and it’s unclear how many of Apple’s TV+ subscribers are paying members because the company doesn’t release those figures. 

From a content quantity and demand standpoint, Apple could benefit from an acquisition of a company like ViacomCBS or Sony’s library, but Apple also isn’t trying to get into the news or live television business. Increased scrutiny from the current administration would put any major acquisition Apple wants to make under a microscope.

While those libraries would give Apple access to plenty of content and franchise reboot potential, much like Amazon’s recent acquisition of MGM, but Apple is seemingly still trying to figure out what Apple TV+ should be on its own and within its bigger services ecosystem. 

As it stands, Apple TV+ doesn’t need to deliver as many quarterly hits as Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu because the economics are different. It’s much more aligned with Amazon Prime Video, another reason to stay subscribed to the overarching ecosystem of products instead of being the primary business. 

What’s evident from Parrot Analytics data, however, is that Apple TV+’s current slate of programming is growing in demand, and setting itself up to be a necessity one day instead of an option. 








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