Apple is on an "aggressive hunt" for potential deals that would allow it to broadcast live sports content on its TV+ streaming service as part of a wider effort to boost subscription numbers, according to a new report from investment firm Wedbush.
In a new investor note, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said he regards Apple's decision not to acquire a movie studio yet as a clear indication that it now sees live sports programming as potentially a key piece of its future success for growing the audience of its video streaming service.
Apple has not provided details on Apple TV+ subscriber numbers since the digital streaming service began, but Wedbush estimates that Apple TV+ has around 20 million paid subscribers among roughly 45 million viewers, the rest of which are seeing out free trials included with other Apple product purchases.
That's a fraction of the number of subscriptions that the likes of Disney+ and Netflix enjoys. Knowing this, Apple is apparently "ready to spend billions" on live sports content over the next four years to drive the future growth of Apple TV+ and make it a key monetization engine in its burgeoning services ecosystem, which earned it $80 billion in annual revenue in the last financial year.