Ted Lasso poster by Apple. Illustration by Mike Sullivan
Sept. 10, 2021 6:00 AM PDT

When Apple launched its Apple TV+ service nearly two years ago, executives throughout Hollywood and Silicon Valley snickered about the streaming video service. This dilettante—which knew everything about making phones and nothing about making movies and television—would surely lose interest in the business before long, they wagged.

It turns out the opposite is true. Next year, Apple intends to significantly up its output of new TV shows and movies to at least one a week, according to a person familiar with the matter, more than double its pace this year. It also plans to spend more than $500 million on marketing Apple TV+ this year, another person familiar with the matter said.

And while Apple TV+ still lags far behind the much bigger streaming services from Netflix, Amazon and Walt Disney, its subscriber numbers are respectable, even more so considering how deeply the pandemic disrupted the production of shows and movies last year. Analysts previously estimated that the service had around 40 million subscribers at the end of last year, a figure a person with knowledge of the numbers said remained roughly accurate as of this summer. Approximately half of the subscribers are paying for the service, while the others are on free trial periods, this person said.

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