AppleTV+ is shifting its attention from streaming exclusivity to the releasing first-run feature films into the theaters.
- Apple is planning to spend $1 billion annually to produce theatrically released films, anonymous sources tell Bloomberg.
- This marks a change for AppleTV+ plus, which has exclusively released its content on its streaming service, a move that could bring greater brand awareness to the smaller platform.
- The company already has several high-profile exclusives set to release this year, including Martin Scorsese’s Killers Of the Flower Moon and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon—which could see these potential Oscar contenders receiving theatrical releases.
- AppleTV+ reportedly has between 20 million and 40 million subscribers, making it one of the smaller contenders in the “streaming wars.”
Why It’s News
The shifting of content production from streaming to theatrical distribution marks another signal that the streaming wars are facing an unceremonious end. As we previously reported, Amazon Prime Video has begun a similar shift, having pledged to release 12 to 15 new theatrical films per year and investing $1 billion annually into production. The shift has worked thus far, with its newest film Creed III grossing $227 million at the box office on a budget of $75 million.
AppleTV+ has made a name for itself with its original programming, notably the popular streaming series Ted Lasso, the Tom Hanks film Greyhound, and 2022 Best Picture winner Coda. However, streaming services are discovering that 41% of the demand for their services is usually tied to a specific TV show or franchise. 79% of streaming service users cannot differentiate each service and what makes it unique. Only 46% of viewers know what AppleTV+ is and what sets it apart.
Theatrical distribution is proving to be safer and more reliable than streaming services, and it stands to become more resilient going into this year. A recent report from The Cinema Foundation notes that theatrical releases are expected to increase by 50% this year, marking an improvement from the pandemic years and signifying that audiences are eager to return to theaters again.