Apple TV+ debut tarnished by dour 'Morning Show' reviews

Apple TV+ (AAPL) had a rough debut.

The platform officially entered the streaming wars on Friday, but lackluster reviews are dogging its flagship series, “The Morning Show.”

Critics listed a litany of complaints about the Jennifer Aniston-led production, calling it “brutally dull” and “boring,” while others took issue its high production price at a reported $15 million an episode. One Rolling Stone reviewer said the show is “a prime example of how throwing money at a problem…isn’t inherently the best way to solve it.”

Apple previously revealed plans to spend $6 billion on original programming ahead of its launch — hoping A-list pros like Stephen Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey could deliver content to surpass the competition as the company looks to expand beyond just the iPhone.

But although streaming appetite is at an all-time high — people don’t want more subscriptions.

The average American stills pays for fewer than 2 services, according to a new study from Limelight Networks. The survey shows a double edged sword: While there’s lots of upside in a booming market, the growing number of providers may make it harder to break through the noise.

Sizing up the competition

An upside to Apple’s service is its competitive price point at $4.99 a month — well below both Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon Prime Video (AMZN), both of which charge $8.99 a month for the most basic plan.

Additionally, Apple is offering consumers a free, one-year subscription with the purchase of a new iPhone or tablet, which should help the tech giant monetize its 900+ million worldwide iPhone users.

But its competitors also have a few tricks up their sleeves.

Graphic by David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Graphic by David Foster/Yahoo Finance

Netflix announced on Friday it’d be rolling out 43 original series this month, which will include “a lot of Christmas titles.”

Meanwhile, NBC (CMCSA) is reportedly leaning toward making its Peacock streaming service free to everyone — a move that could change the game given its popular arsenal of content, including “The Office” and “Cheers.”

And Amazon Prime Video is looking to make a splash with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn who will be hosting a new fashion-focused reality competition show in 2020.

This marks an expansion for the platform when it comes to capitalizing on reality television — a space that’s been profitable for Netflix, given the recent success of Queer Eye and The Great British Baking Show.

Clothes from each episode will also be available to purchase directly on Amazon’s website — another win for the tech giant as it aggressively pursues fashion and beauty. Recently, Amazon has pursued celebrity partnerships like Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie line and Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories makeup line.

Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance.

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