Analyst who couldn’t find ‘missing’ iPhones claims Apple TV+ is ‘failing to resonate’

Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi — you know, the “analyst” who couldn’t find Apple’s “missing” iPhones on his first try — is back for more, claiming that Apple TV+ is “failing to resonate.”

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Ryan Vlastelica for Bloomberg:

Analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated that fewer than 10 million consumers had opted for their free 12-month trial of Apple TV+, citing an analysis of the company’s first-quarter results. This equates to 10% or fewer of eligible customers, he wrote, a take rate he called “surprisingly low.” Apple hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers for the TV+ service.

Sacconaghi speculated that Apple TV+ may be “failing to resonate with customers, perhaps due to its limited content offerings.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Estimated.” “Speculates.” “Perhaps.”

Bernstein suggested other reasons why Apple TV+ may not have caught on in terms of subscribers. It could be that Apple “hasn’t been able to effectively promote TV+,” Sacconaghi wrote, encouraging the company “to more directly leverage its 1.5B device installed base.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because Apple needs marketing advice from a guy who “lost” well over million+ iPhones in his “math.”

In any case, he added, investors should “closely monitor the adoption of TV+ going forward,” as the take rate will “provide some indication of potential acceptance of the service, as well as Apple’s ability to successfully launch meaningful new revenue-generating services.”

MacDailyNews Take: We don’t think Toni is so good at basic math, much less extrapolation. In other words, he’s the perfect Churn Merchant™. Toni is “surprised” at his results because he’s likely quite wrong, as usual.

Late last month, The Wall Street Journal reported via sidebar graphic on “Q4 2019 U.S. customer base by service,” (source: Ampere Analysis) that showed:

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

Launch dates:

• Amazon Prime Video: September 2006 (Amazon Unbox)
• Netflix: February 2007 (streaming)
• Hulu: March 2008
• Apple TV+: November 1, 2019
• Disney+: November 13, 2019


  1. Let’s be honest. Even if the content is all great, it’s quite limited so far. I personally am waiting to activate my trial until there’s more to watch. I don’t know if that will be in a month or a year, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s time yet.

  2. Even without considering the start dates for each service, the subscriber count was much better for Apple than I expected…even though Netflix trounces.

    Add the start date and everything changes. This is where the Apple user base shows the clear advantage. With an increase in offerings and maintenance in quality, neither Netflix and Amazon aren’t that far away.

    Because of a new iPad purchase, I’m just starting my free year of ATV. “Little America” has been worth watching, so far.

  3. Assuming that the Apple TV+ sub numbers are correct, A significant portion of them are people that got a 1 year trial for buying an Apple device, how about some numbers of those subs that are actually watching something? I suspect those are a lot lower than the rest.

    1. I think your point on the number is valid, Macinfo…the promo will/is tilting the numbers for Apple’s benefit.

      With that said, I think there are people like me that have been snoozing with my Netflix subscription for over 10 years and have many times said there’s a lot crap, but enough to watch to keep me from moving.
      AppleTV is the 1st time I’ve really considered another option. Amazon’s been there, but I’m slow to give the company anymore $$ that I have to.

      If the Apple product and price is favorable, a move away from Netflix is likely. In time, if 15% of the NTFX subs are like me, Apple would move into the same territory as Amazon’s count. Netflix needs to modify with price and quality (quality has increased). Apple doesn’t really have to “retool,” but they’ve got plenty on their plate.

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