To pay production crew lower rates than streamers with more subscriptions, a report says Apple claimed its TV+ service had less than 20 million subscribers in the US and Canada as of July.

According to CNBC, Apple made this claim to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union that represents TV and movie workers who perform jobs like operating cameras and building sets.

Since the Apple TV+ launch in 2019, Apple has never shared its subscriber numbers. A few weeks ago, The Information said that “a person with known of the numbers” told the publication that an analyst estimate of around 40 million subscribers is “roughly accurate as of this summer,” with half of those subscribers paying for the service and the other half on a free trial of some sort.

If these numbers are correct, the U.S. and Canada account for almost 50% of all subscribers of Apple TV+. CNBC also compares these numbers with other streaming services. Netflix claimed 209 million subscribers as of Q2, and Disney+ claimed 116 million, way more than Apple TV+.

“Under the current contract, high-budget productions intended for streaming can offer lower rates to workers if the streaming service has less than 20 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, which is determined on July 1 every year. Apple told IATSE that it had less than 20 million subscribers, a union spokesman said.”

According to the report, “the union is currently in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producer over a new contract” as its leaders argue that streaming is no longer a “particularly new form of media, and companies that bankroll streaming productions should pay rates closer to traditional media productions.”

Although Apple TV+ doesn’t have the highest numbers in subscribers, early this year, a study found that the streaming service had the best average IMDb score for its titles

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Report: Apple TV+ had less than 20 million subscribers as of July in the US and Canada
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