Apple told entertainment unions that it has less than 20 million TV + subscribers

Apple Inc. at an event held at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, USA on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple TV +, smiles as he talks about Apple TV +.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Apple had less than 20 million subscribers to TV + services in the United States and Canada as of July, and according to the International Alliance of Theatrical Film and Theater Trade Unions, behind-the-scenes production crews have more subscribers than streamers with more subscribers. Also claimed to be able to pay at a lower rate. A union that represents TV and film workers who perform tasks such as operating cameras and creating sets.

Apple has never disclosed the number of subscribers to the Apple TV + streaming service., Analysts are hesitant to give a quote, but scaled compared to services such as Netflix, which had 209 million subscribers in the second quarter, and Disney +, which had 116 million subscribers. Many people say that is thin.

The fact that Apple can pay discounts despite being the most valuable listed company in the world is a problem facing Hollywood workers as streaming replaces linear TV and movies. Better wages and working conditions, highlighting some.

Under the current contract, high-budget works for streaming can offer low rates to workers if the number of subscribers to the streaming service is less than 20 million, which is determined on July 1st each year in the United States and Canada. increase. Apple has told the IATSE that it has less than 20 million subscribers, a spokesman for the union said.

The union is currently negotiating a new deal with an alliance of film and television producers. According to an industry group spokesperson, Apple is a member of the alliance, but the alliance negotiates for all its members and does not create a carve-out for any particular company.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the number of subscribers, but said the company was paying for major streaming services.

According to a copy of the contract reviewed by CNBC, under the current contract, the production of streaming services is traditional because the profitability of streaming is “currently uncertain” and the production requires more flexibility. It is managed under stricter working conditions than TV shows and movies.

However, union leaders claim that streaming is no longer a particularly new form of media, and companies that bankroll streaming productions will have to pay close to traditional media productions.

An IATSE press release pointed out this week that negotiations were stalled, saying that “workers on certain’new media’streaming projects are on a budget that matches or exceeds the hits released in the past. , The reward will be less. “

The IATSE is preparing for a strike, and a ballot will be sent out on October 1 to allow 150,000 members of the union to approve the strike, a spokesman said.

New media wage rates are one of the issues currently under negotiation, but the most pressing issue is working conditions in sets, including worsening long working hours during the Covid-19 pandemic. Celebrities and actors have begun posting messages on social media in support of the IATSE union and the potential for strikes.

Apple reportedly spent up to $ 15 million on each episode of a show like “The Morning Show” to enrich its service with premium content. Apple also bundled free trials with new phone and tablet purchases, which began to expire in July, forcing many users to determine if they were worth $ 4.99 per month. rice field. Apple sold an estimated 206 million iPhones worldwide in 2020, which is equivalent to many free trials.

According to a union spokesman, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’s Paramount + have less than 20 million subscribers and can seek discounts on the workforce.

A ViacomCBS spokeswoman said the company did not classify Paramount + streaming numbers. NBCUniversal had no comments by the time it was published.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, which owns and operates Peacock, is also CNBC’s parent company.

Apple told entertainment unions that it has less than 20 million TV + subscribers

Source link Apple told entertainment unions that it has less than 20 million TV + subscribers

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