Apple TV+ MIA in Q1 Earnings Report, Tim Cook Mum on Subscriber Numbers

CFO Luca Maestri said streaming service “didn’t have a material impact” on services growth

Apple TV+'s "The Morning Show" World Premiere
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Apple TV+ was one of the biggest product launches in years for Apple. But you wouldn’t know that from Apple’s just-released earnings on Tuesday. The streaming service, which launched last November after years of stops and starts, was not mentioned once in the tech giant’s first-quarter earnings report. During the subsequent earnings call with analysts, CEO Tim Cook dedicated only a brief mention of the new service when he said it was off to a “rousing start” but declined to disclose any actual subscriber numbers. D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte asked how the company is “gauging success” for Apple TV+: Is it by critical acclaim, the “number of consumers who are using the service” or the service’s contribution to its revenue? “We are primarily measuring ourselves on the number of subscribers,” Cook replied. “As you can tell, from the way that we launched the product, it started with a very aggressive price at $4.99 in addition to our bundle, where if you buy pretty much any Apple device, you get a year for free. We’re very focused on subscribers.” Apple may be focused on the service, but it shied away from sharing how many viewers or subscribers Apple TV+ pulled in during its first two months — including how many are actually paying the $4.99 monthly fee vs. using the free year-long trial that the company offered to those who bought new Apple products. Apple CFO Luca Maestri did note that Apple TV+ “didn’t have a material impact” on services growth during the quarter, signaling that many of its users are watching via the free trial.  An hour earlier, Apple failed to mention its new streaming service in its letter to shareholders. Instead, the company focused on its iPhone and Wearables sales, which helped spur the company to a record-setting $92 billion in quarterly revenue. Apple TV+ launched with a handful of big-budget shows less than two weeks before Disney debuted its own streaming service in mid-November. “The Morning Show,” Apple’s linchpin show starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston, earned Apple its first Golden Globe nods earlier this month — although the company didn’t come away with any victories. The tech giant has looked to bolster its new service during the first few weeks of the year, signing Julia Louis-Dreyfus to a multiyear overall deal last Friday. That came after former HBO CEO Richard Plepler signed a five-year production deal in early January.