Several labor unions claim that Apple informed them in July that its Apple TV Plus streaming service had fewer than 20 million North American customers. This means that Apple is able to pay production teams for its shows at a cheaper cost than services such as Netflix.
Apple has not released TV Plus subscriber statistics, but a representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said the company provided the union with information for the United States and Canada, according to a report published late Friday by CNBC.
A contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which, according to CNBC, includes Apple as a member, is now being negotiated between the union and the company. The organization covers set builders, camera operators, and other such professionals.
According to the terms of the present contract, high-budget shows intended for a streaming service that has less than 20 million users can pay crew members less than they would otherwise be paid.
Employees on streaming productions aren’t rewarded the same as crew members on traditional television shows and movies, since streaming profits are “currently unclear” under the terms of their existing contract. While acknowledging that streaming has established itself as a legitimate business, the IATSE believes that remuneration for production employees should be more equal.
A statement from the union stated that “workers on certain ‘new media’ streaming projects are paid less, even when the productions have budgets that approach or surpass those of traditionally published blockbusters.” According to CNBC, union employees are debating whether or not to go on strike.
On Saturday, Apple did not reply to a request for comment; nevertheless, the firm informed CNBC that it pays prices that are equivalent to those charged by major streaming providers.
As of July, Netflix had around 74 million members in the United States and Canada, and Disney Plus had approximately 38 million users in North America, according to reports.
Since the streaming service’s inception nearly two years ago, Apple TV Plus’s library of high-end originals has expanded to include more than five dozen movies. There are a number of shows to look forward to, including the Emmy-winning Ted Lasso, the big-budget drama The Morning Show, starring A-listers Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, the dystopian fantasy See, starring Jason Momoa, and a 10-episode adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s hefty Foundation series.
Apple has allegedly paid up to $15 million every episode of shows such as “The Morning Show” in an attempt to increase the amount of premium content available on its service. Apple also included free trials with the purchase of new phones or tablets, and those trials began expiring in July, leaving many customers to determine if the $4.99 per month service was worth it to continue using it. Apple is expected to sell 206 million iPhones worldwide in 2020, which would equate to a significant number of free trials.
ViacomCBS spokesman notes – the firm does not provide individual Paramount+ streaming figures. NBCUniversal did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publishing.