Apple has reportedly told a union representing film workers that its subscriber count in North America is merely 20 million. That number is reportedly low enough that it’s impacting the cash paid to film crew workers. The 20 million North American subscribers are as of July.
Low subscriber numbers mean Apple pays film crews but the rates paid by rival streaming services like Netflix. Apple typically plays its subscriber numbers very on the brink of the vest. Still, the 20 million figure was divulged by a spokesperson for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees on Friday, and it represents figures for the US and Canada.
Apple has struggled to get subscribers to its service. Early it gave away future subscriptions to users as a perk for purchasing Apple devices like tablets and iPhones. Because the free subscriptions ended, many of these free subscriptions did not become paid subscriptions as Apple hoped.
The union that exposed the subscriber numbers represents set builders, camera operators, and other workers. Currently, the union is negotiating a proposal that might allow streaming services with but 20 million subscribers to pay union workers but services with more subscribers.
The union disagrees and needs pay to be fairer across the board regardless of the service’s subscriber numbers. Apple TV Plus, with but 20 million subscribers, is significantly down compared to Netflix, which boasts 74 million subscribers within the US and Canada. Disney Plus currently has 38 million subscribers in North America. Apple has some quality programming, but it continues to possess low subscriber numbers. Recently it added an adaptation of the inspiration saga that spans ten episodes.