Popular talk show host Jon Stewart has spoken about his experience at Apple TV+ and his impending return to cable TV. His experience at Apple TV+ made him feel like no one was watching.
His words shed light on potential concerns for the tech giant ahead of several weeks of major milestones for the platform. Those include the debut of Messi’s World Cup: The Rise of a Legend, a documentary series chronicling Lionel Messi and Argentina as they won the 2022 World Cup. Also, the beginning of the 2024 Major League Soccer season is just around the corner. Like the 2023 campaign, Apple will have exclusive global streaming rights for every game in the 2024 MLS season.
Speaking to CBS Mornings, Stewart talked about The Problem with Jon Stewart, which was his talk show on Apple TV+. Apple canceled the show in October over concerns that something Stewart may something controversial to get the company in trouble. For example, Stewart touched on China and the development of artificial intelligence. Stewart and other writers for the show clashed against Apple in their creative direction.
Jon Stewart would have liked more freedom to make his comments about different topics.
“I thought I was going to do it over at — they call it Apple TV+. It’s a television enclave, very small,” Stewart said. “It’s like living in Malibu.”
That lack of creative freedom could be something that affects Apple and its coverage on MLS Season Pass. Apple was very tight-lipped in sharing how MLS Season Pass did. It would not release subscription or viewership numbers, even though it regularly touted how successful the platform was. Apple knows it is different from traditional broadcasters, but perhaps it could be more open.
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Apple weary of criticism from Jon Stewart, much like MLS
Last season, one incident that stands out is when then-Inter Miami manager Phil Neville criticized MLS for not having a playoff format in place. After that, Inter Miami barred The Athletic from attending other media events so it would not cause a stir with MLS. This was before the media attention that came with Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez. That may have been a moment of realization at an MLS club that any comments can cause a backlash in the league.
If viewership was the concern for Jon Stewart, that could cause worry for MLS and Apple. Tying back to the upcoming events in soccer on Apple, viewership will be paramount for Apple. If people are not watching the popular Jon Stewart despite Emmy nominations for his show, Apple must wonder if people will subscribe to the platform to watch Messi’s World Cup or MLS Season Pass. Granted, MLS Season Pass is separate from Apple TV+.
MLS season starts in less than 10 days
People are sure to tune into MLS Season Pass when it starts up on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Lionel Messi is playing in his first full season in Major League Soccer, and Apple will have extensive coverage of Inter Miami for each of its league games this season. That starts against Real Salt Lake at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Then, on the weekend of the 24th and 25th, the season gets fully underway with 14 games.
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