What does a Best Picture win for “CODA” mean for Apple TV+?

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On Sunday, Apple TV+ became the first streaming service to win an Oscar for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, with its film “CODA.” Directed by Sian Heder, the film — a remake of a 2014 French film — is about a hearing-impaired family with a daughter who is hearing-capable and who decides to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Actor Troy Kotsur, who plays the father in the film, took home the award for Best Supporting Actor, making him the second deaf actor to win an Academy Award. His co-star Marlee Matlin was the first. Matlin won Best Actress in 1986 for her role in “Children of a Lesser God.” 

Apple TV+, which launched just three years ago, lags in terms of numbers of subscribers compared with streaming giants Netflix, Amazon as well as Hulu and HBO Max. But earning the top honor at the awards ceremony boosts the profile of Apple TV+ and could help propel the service closer to the front of the movie and TV streaming race, one analyst said. 

More A-list talent for Apple

Dan Ives, a Wedbush Securities technology analyst, on Sunday wrote in a research note that a Best Picture win for “CODA” “would catalyze more A+ talent coming to Apple first.” It could also propel the streamer’s “content efforts by multiples over the coming years with a major paid subscriber boost,” Ives said. 

Ives told CBS MoneyWatch he thinks that the big win for Apple, which has roughly 25 million paid subscribers, “is sign of credibility that will send huge shockwaves within traditional Hollywood circles and stalwarts like Netflix and Amazon, that watched the moment unfold on TV instead of sitting on the podium.” 

Ives added that Apple’s strategy, which has been to prioritize the quality of its content over quantity, paid off big time. 

“For them to hit a grand slam with such a groundbreaking film will attract more talent to its ecosystem,” Ives said. “It will be a major catalyst for subscriber growth, too.”

10 million new subscribers 

Ives believes the win alone could add another 10 million customers to Apple’s base of paid subscribers. 

Another advantage for Apple: It has cash to burn. Currently, Apple is spending about $7 billion annually on content, a figure Ives expects to double over the next year.

And while Apple isn’t expected to take over as the top streamer, the tech company is expected to start converting more of its device owners to streaming subscribers.

“With services, it’s all about monetization and they have been behind the eight ball when it becomes to TV+, but Apple winning an Oscar will cause it to double down on those efforts,” Ives said.  

Apple has a base of roughly 975 million iPhone users it will try to convert to streaming customers, according to Ives. 

“Now, it’s about converting their core customer base to Apple TV, because when you have a banner release like Coda that wins best picture, along with TV hits like ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘The Morning Show’  and others, it’s going to be the catalyst to get many Apple customers to sign on to TV+,” Ives said. 

Apple’s stock rose 0.5% to $175.60 Monday following the Best Picture win.

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