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Apple TV+ subscriptions could decline after free year, says analyst

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In a note issued yesterday, Barclays analyst Tim Long predicts that Apple TV+ could have more than 100 million subscribers in a year’s time, but subscriber numbers could start dropping after that.

The streaming service will be launched on 1st November at a monthly subscription rate of $4.99 and will offer original Apple-financed shows.

The initial surge in subscriptions, says Long, will be caused by the fact that anyone who buys an Apple device will get a one-year Apple TV+ subscription for free.

Apple is launching this service at a time when the market has become very competitive.



Disney will launch a similar service on 12th November, and NBC plans to launch its own version in 2020.

AT&T’s Warner Media (via the HBO brand) also intends to launch something similar.

With more than 158 million subscribers, however, Netflix still remains the market leader for now.

In the note, Long estimates that Apple will sell around 222 million hardware devices over the next year, and that about half of them will accept the free Apple TV+ subscription offer.

This alone will give Apple TV+ more than 100 million subscribers, and this excludes sales in China and families buying more than one device.

After the free year though, Long expects cancellations to outnumber new subscribers, the extent of which depends on how well Apple does with its content library.

Long also expects that Apple TV+ will become the main driver behind the company’s stock price in 2020.

The note adds that Apple is likely to transfer $60 from hardware revenue to service revenue for each subscription.

Last month, Goldman Sachs analysts also predicted that Apple will follow this accounting route.

Apple, however, did not agree: “We do not expect the introduction of Apple TV+, including the accounting treatment for the service, to have a material impact on our financial results.”

Barclays, meanwhile, increased its target for Apple’s share price from $207 to $224.

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