As Apple TV+ Continues to Prize Quality Over Quantity, Could ‘Shrinking’ be Its Next ‘Ted Lasso’?
If content announcements from enormous streamers like Netflix come pouring out like a massive TV/movie waterfall, Apple TV+ is much more of a semi-steady drip. Of the 778,000+ titles available to stream across every streaming service in the United States, Apple TV+ lays claim to fewer than 100, according to JustWatch.
It doesn’t seem that anyone at Apple is terribly concerned about the relatively small library on the service, however. Since launching in 2019, Apple TV+ has prioritized quality offerings featuring well-known stars, as opposed to simply rubber-stamping dozens upon dozens of new series for production in the hopes of attracting huge hordes of new users.
That trend looks likely to continue with the service’s new series “Shrinking.” The comedy stars Harrison Ford and Jason Segal as therapists who try to give their clients the best advice possible. When Segal’s character Jimmy loses his wife, he throws ethics out the window and starts telling his patients what he really thinks.
Along with Segal, the show was created by Bill Lawrence — who also produced Apple TV+’s biggest hit so far in “Ted Lasso” — and the Emmy-winning soccer comedy co-star Brett Goldstein. “Lasso” has been a juggernaut for the service, driving more views with its Season 2 premiere than any show in Apple TV+ history. Apple does not release specific numbers regarding subscribers or their viewing habits, but there’s no question that “Ted Lasso” has been the company’s breakout hit thus far.
The trouble for Apple is, that train ride won’t last forever. Lawrence has stated multiple times that he’s always thought of “Ted Lasso” as a three-season show, and Apple recently announced the third season will debut sometime this spring. Nothing is set in stone in Hollywood, so fans could well see more seasons of “Lasso” after this year, but if they don’t, the service will be searching for its next breakthrough hit, and “Shrinking” could be just that.
Apple TV+ already has critically acclaimed series like “For All Man Kind,” “Severance,” and “Slow Horses,” which are succeeding thanks largely to word-of-mouth, and its 10-year streaming deal with Major League Soccer to draw more users in. But as of June 2022, Apple TV+ accounted for just 6% of the U.S. streaming market, whereas the biggest streamers like Prime Video and Netflix accounted for 20+%, according to 9to5 Mac.
That’s why finding the next “Ted Lasso” is crucial for the service. If Apple is content to stick with the “quality over quantity” model, it will have to ensure that quality is as high as possible and that it is reaching as wide of an audience as possible, because if the service’s strategy is to continue to turn out high-quality shows and then bank on them finding an audience to bring to the platform, they have to actually find an audience. “Shrinking” may or may not be the service’s next juggernaut series, but the show highlights the risk Apple takes with its current philosophy. Trying to produce only quality shows is a good thing, but it may not attract enough overall subscribers to help Apple TV+ turn a profit; if that is even the goal of the service, given the company’s larger retail and subscription service portfolio.
That doesn’t mean that Apple TV+ is in danger of shutting down any time soon. Apple is one of the largest tech companies in the world and has multiple revenue streams funneling in billions of dollars every year. It has also clearly thought through its relatively scaled-back approach to content and priced Apple TV+ to reflect the comparatively smaller number of series and movies available on the service. At $6.99 per month, Apple TV+ is the cheapest ad-free streaming available, which helps balance out its modest content library.
Still, there can be no doubt that without “Ted Lasso,” Apple TV+ will need another headlining show. Will “Shrinking” fill that role, or will the service have to find another mega-hit to serve as its programming tentpole?
Apple TV+ is a subscription video streaming service for ¥600 a month that includes high-quality originals shows and movies. While the quantity of content is limited for now, the service plans to add additional content every single month.
They have titles coming from Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Garner, and Octavia Spencer.
If you purchase an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, you can get a free year of Apple TV+.