Apple TV+ Ups TV Marketing, Content Spend Should Follow

Can $500 million in marketing dollars get a relatively low premium streaming service back in the game?

If your name is Apple, you might have a shot.

That’s the dollar level the company is looking to spend on its Apple TV+ streaming service next year, according to The Information. Apple’s platform started up at the same time as Disney+ in November 2019. But unfortunately, Apple TV+'s big leap into the streaming world has come with a small footprint in the sand so far.

Now, almost two years in, Apple wants to hit the gas -- building on a couple of mainstay TV series -- “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show” and “See.” The latter is its futuristic look at life after a deadly virus has killed much of humankind. Later this month, it starts another sci-fi effort, “Foundation,” based on the books of Isaac Asimov.

But along with that marketing budget, one should expect another news story: Apple TV+ to significantly ramp up the content side of the business.

We know the biggest players -- Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max -- will continue to spend around $10 billion or more in content production. That’s an area Apple TV+ needs to play in -- the same premium streaming sandbox where consumers expect new content -- scripted/unscripted TV series, movies, and, in the case of Netflix, video games.

To an extent, content spend will do the marketing work for many of these services.

Take Netflix. It touts a wide range of content on its own platform -- running brief trailers -- and remains one of its most efficient marketing platforms to the 60 million regular Netflix U.S. subscribers.

From all of this, Apple does claim some streaming turf as well -- 40 million U.S. registered users and 20 million paying subscribers.

That's all good and well, but what’s the frequency of subscribers getting on the Apple TV+ platform to search around for the next TV show? And digging deeper, what is the weekly usage level of those 40 million?

According to, Apple TV+ spent an estimated $119.3 million in national TV advertising over the last 12 months (September to September). Netflix spent $66.7 million over that period.

By way of comparison, Disney+ spent an estimated $145.9 million over that period -- and got another $129.3 million from on-air TV network promotion value. That's a total of $275.2 million in estimated spend and media value.

From a TV marketing point of view, you can now see why Apple TV+ needs to up its game -- and then some.

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