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Apple TV Plus Grows Popularity, Engagement With Second Wave of Original Shows

Fern Siegel

Apple TV+ has had growing pains in its first year, but is now on an upward trajectory.

While its initial debut, with shows such as “Dickinson” and “See” received poor reviews, real growth in audience share is thanks to its second wave of originals, notes Business Insider.

“Defending Jacob” has been the streamer’s most in-demand show, per Parrot Analytics, while “Ted Lasso” continues to gain attention. The quirky “Lasso” benefits by strong word-of-mouth popularity.

And while Apple TV+ doesn’t release subscriber figures, Antenna, an analytics company, credits “Greyhound,” Tom Hanks’ WWII movie, with the platform’s biggest rise in sign-up in 2020.

Martin Scorsese also has a deal with the streamer to produce his next movie, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Leonard DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, which should command attention.

In fairness, Apple TV’s first foray into streaming was rocky.

“The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell, earned mixed reviews, but was renewed for a second season. Regulars Aniston, Carrell and Mark Duplass were nominated for Emmys, while Billy Crudup won as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. (The show also got noms for direction and production design.)

And then there’s “Defending Jacob,” which did engage critics and viewers, according to Parrot. Starring Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell, it concerns a crime in a small town and a DA who is torn between his job and his possibly criminal son.

Parrot found “Jacob” was 29.5 times more in demand than the average series in the U.S. in its first 60 days after debut, which made it Apple TV’s first hit series.

Two other shows also scored well on the “in demand” metric: “Truth Be Told,” starring Octavia Spencer as a real-crime podcaster, was No. 2 and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Servant,” starring Lauren Ambrose and Rupert Grint, was No. 3. In fairness, “See” was No. 4, well ahead of “Ted Lasso” at No. 9.

In future, Apple TV+ is expected to benefit from its deal with Richard Plepler, a former HBO CEO whose programming track record could help gin up quality originals.

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