Apple is diving into the streaming world with its very own service—Apple TV+. The SVOD platform launched on November 1 and its original programming has garnered mixed reviews in the two weeks since. While shows like “See” featuring Jason Momoa and “The Morning Show” with its huge budget and star-studded lineup have seemingly pleased viewers so far, critics say otherwise.
The platform’s first four original shows have certainly underwhelmed in the eyes of those critics. Amid the harsh reviews and negative reception, Kim Rozenfeld, an executive for Apple TV+, is reportedly leaving his position.
Despite the fact that details surrounding Rozenfeld’s departure are scarce, the development is worth noting. The executive was previously in charge of the streaming service’s programming. As such, it makes sense that he is taking the fall for the poor performance of Apple TV+ thus far. Still, his exit coming just two weeks following the debut of the platform’s first round of programming is somewhat unusual.
What makes things even more intriguing is that Rozenfeld was one of the first execs hired by Apple TV+ chiefs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.
So far, the platform has debuted four original shows: “See,” “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” and “For All Mankind.”
Despite catchy trailers and somewhat original premises, none of the quartet has wowed critics. Of the lineup, “Dickinson” has received the best critical appraisal for its quirky storytelling. However, Apple TV+ banked heavily on “The Morning Show” and that bet doesn’t seem to be paying off. The show’s cast includes huge names like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell. It also has a budget of $300 million. To put that in perspective, “Game of Thrones” season 8 had a budget of just $90 million to recreate cities, wow viewers with a massive war, and bring dragons to life.
Unfortunately, “The Morning Show” has received scathing reviews from critics. James Poniewozik of The New York Times said, “It’s like something assembled in a cleanroom out of good-show parts from incompatible suppliers. Under the gleaming surface, as sleek and anodyne as an Apple Store, it is a kludge.”
Do Viewers Trump All?
Despite the negative reception from critics, viewers seem to be enjoying the selection of Apple TV+ programming so far. Whether that is a result of Apple’s stranglehold on the market’s perceptions or because the shows are actually good is up for debate.
Regardless, “The Morning Show” has received 92 percent positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes while “See” has collected an impressive 88 percent audience approval score.
As said by eMarketer’s Eric Haggstrom, “Viewers aren’t critics. People will watch these shows, regardless of what critics say. Whether they continue to watch them after a month depends on quality.”
Although viewer perception is important, positive critic reviews do help lure subscribers in—an invaluable thing for a fledgling SVOD platform. Rozenfeld’s departure may be a signal that the company wants to take its streaming service in a different direction. With the November 12 launch of Disney+ and a host of other streaming services not far behind, it remains to be seen if Apple TV+ can compete.