• Apple TV+ is a little over a year old at this point, and it’s built up a small, curated library of a few dozen original TV series and movies.
  • One analyst thinks Apple’s biggest mistake over the last 10 years or so relates to Apple TV+.
  • Wedbush analyst Dan Ives thinks Apple should have bought Netflix years ago instead of trying to build a rival service from the ground up.

There was a point in Netflix’s history, believe it or not, when the streamer’s eventual global success was still uncertain — when one threat after another loomed on the horizon from rivals like Blockbuster as well as tech giants that woke up way too late to the genius of what Netflix was trying to build.

Years on from its launch, most other streamers can only look at its success with jealousy. Netflix closed out 2020 with more than 200 million subscribers, capping another jam-packed year with hits ranging from Tiger King and The Queen’s Gambit to new seasons of existing favorites like Ozark. Sure, there are now plenty of other streamers for viewers to choose from to find even more content to enjoy — like NBC’s Peacock, Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max — but for many people, those are mere add-ons. In hindsight, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives thinks one of those streamers, in particular, would have been better served by buying Netflix outright years ago when circumstances were more favorable to an acquisition, instead of trying to build a Netflix rival from the ground up over the past year.

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In fact, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, Ives said that Apple’s biggest mistake over the past decade or so was not buying Netflix, which certainly would have made Apple TV+ look a lot different than it does today. At the moment, the iPhone maker’s streaming service is built around a small, tightly curated library, compared to Netflix’s seeming infinite breadth.

“The biggest strategic mistake, in my opinion, from (Steve) Jobs and (Tim) Cook over the last 10 to 12 years is not acquiring Netflix a number of years ago,” Ives said, before going on to address the possibility of Apple buying a major studio in order to beef up its library:

“We’ve talked about an MGM, a Lionsgate, an A24, otherwise they’re going to continue to sort of be on the outside looking in,” Ives said. “And that’s why I think this is something they’re going to be forced into … because it’s all about content.”

To be fair, Apple TV+ is loaded with quality content — it’s just the quantity side of the equation that analysts like Ives see as the problem. Buzzy Apple TV+ original series that have been received well by viewers include dramas like Tehran and The Morning Show, as well as comedies like Ted Lasso and Mythic Quest. Over the weekend, Apple also premiered the second season of For All Mankind, which offers an alternative history of the space race between the US and the Soviet Union.

The Apple TV+ film offerings include The World’s a Little Blurry, a documentary launching on Apple’s streamer this Friday that’s all about pop star Billie Eilish. Ahead of the documentary’s release, Eilish herself is hosting a livestream event on Thursday, which will include a performance, video from the documentary, an interview with director R.J. Cutler and a conversation between Eilish and Apple Music host and DJ Zane Lowe.

My take: With respect to Ives, Apple may have come to the streaming party pretty late, but it’s making a good effort so far. In fact, Tehran — an Israeli spy thriller — was my favorite TV series for all of 2020.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.