Apple TV+ numbers: Bigger than Disney+ and Hulu, behind Amazon and Netflix

John Gruber, digging into this Wall Street Journal article:

But what caught my eye was this graphic halfway down the page, showing “Q4 2019 U.S. customer base by service”, sourced to Ampere Analysis. Their numbers, in millions:

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

At first blush, Disney+ being behind Hulu is shocking. But then:

It’s worth noting that Disney+ didn’t launch until November 12, halfway through the quarter; I expect Disney+ to eventually take the number one spot on this list.

Absolutely agree. I do expect Disney+ to roar into the top spot in the next quarterly report.

That said, I think this is about customer onboarding strategy for the new players. Apple’s approach is a logical masterstroke. Buy a new device, even an Apple TV will qualify, and you get added to the list. Even if you forget to sign up, we’ll remind you. And it’s free.

Amazon used the same approach to build up their customer base, albeit with a slight twist. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’re on the list, even if you never watch a single movie. To me, that makes Amazon’s numbers a bit softer.

Hulu will likely benefit, at least somewhat, from the amazing success of Disney+. So we might see their numbers bump past Apple next quarter. But long run, I think Apple TV+ will grow past Amazon, so we’ll see Disney+, Apple TV+, then Amazon Prime in the third spot in the next report.