There have been plenty of critics who panned Apple's new streaming service, TV+. Of course, this started long before anyone had any idea what might actually appear on the new service. Apple was thought to be too afraid of offending anyone to put anything interesting on screen.
Well, it turns out that despite some lukewarm reviews, Apple has some production chops after all. Especially at The Morning Show, which earned the tech giant's first Golden Globe nominations a day after Billy Crudup snagged a Critic's Choice nomination for his supporting actor role.
The show is nominated for Best Drama, along with Succession, Killing Eve, The Crown, and Big Little Lies, which puts it in formidable company and direct competition with HBO, Netflix, and the BBC. In addition, both Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon earned best-actress nods for their co-starring roles.
Of course, award nominations don't necessarily equal customers, but they do add to credibility. And credibility is something Apple needs far more than customers. In fact, no one doubts that Apple will be able to sign up customers considering it's giving anyone who buys a new Mac or iPhone (or iPad) a year for free. The question is whether or not they'll stick around once it's no longer free. That depends entirely on the quality of the content.
The argument against Apple TV+ was always that it doesn't have nearly the depth or breadth of content compared to established players like Netflix, or even newcomers like Disney+. That's a fair criticism, considering Apple TV+ launched with only a handful of shows, while both of those competitors have huge content libraries to attract audiences.
Even HBO Max, which doesn't launch until spring, has the benefit of high-quality content like Game of Thrones and Succession (which was also nominated for a Golden Globe).
Of course, Netflix scored 34 nominations for its original television and film programming. It's clearly still the leader, but it also had a huge head start over everyone else in this battle. This brings us to a very interesting point: expectations are everything.
Netflix regularly wins awards for its content. So does HBO. Both are old hands at this by now. They spend big money on the best talent and produce really great shows, many of which win awards. That's what you expect. In fact, had Netflix not been nominated, that would have been devastating news.
But almost no one expected Apple to win any awards for its fledgling streaming service. In fact, Apple made a point out of the fact that no other streaming service has ever done what it has accomplished so quickly. In a statement, the company said:
With today's nominations for "The Morning Show," Apple TV+ became the first streaming platform to receive recognition from the HFPA in its launch year, with the service launching only one month ago.
Which brings us back to expectations. In the streaming wars, as with almost everything else in business--or in life, for that matter--expectations matter. Expectations define the standard by which we measure performance and are what we use to evaluate reality. Live up to expectations, and you're credible. Fall short, and you're perceived as a failure.
On the other hand, when expectations are low, and you manage to snag a nomination for an award, it gives you more than just credibility, it gives you a fighting chance.
Listen, no one is going to call Apple an underdog. It has an enormous content budget and the sheer will to be competitive. But, in a battle as big as the one Apple entered last month, exceeding expectations means this fight is far from over.