‘Ted Lasso’ Is a Bigger Hit in Season 2 … but Not THAT Big

Yinchen Niu/Variety Intelligence Platform

“Ted Lasso” enjoyed a tremendous rookie season in 2020 on Apple TV+, drawing the kind of consumer buzz and awards-season adulation that typically attracts a second wave of new viewers to tune in and see what the fuss is all about.  

But data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform by connected TV analytics provider TVision shows that Apple TV+ may have only seen a small bump in viewership since the series’ second season began on July 23.  

As expected, “Ted Lasso” returned to Apple TV+ bigger than ever: TVision found that viewership of “Ted Lasso” in July among panel members was higher than at any point since the series launched in August 2020. 

That may initially seem impressive, but consider that by TVision’s count, last December the viewership of “Ted Lasso” reached 40 times as much as the average of the number of viewers it attracted across its entire run — not far from the 48x it reached in July. The spike in December was likely due to word-of-mouth spread of “Ted Lasso,” which was included in many “Best Shows of 2020” lists. 

With new episodes available and the considerable amount of buzz that came the way of “Ted Lasso” at the beginning of this year, it seems surprising that viewership of the show among the TVision panel in July was just 18% over its previous peak in December — not a small increase but modest relative to the leap the series would be expected to make.  

Apple, which doesn’t typically disclose much in the way of specifics regarding its programming audience levels, announced July 26 that S2 of “Ted Lasso” increased its viewership by 6x over season one. But the viewing volume of “Ted Lasso” in July among TVision panel members was not 6x that of any other month since the show dropped in August 2020.  

Note that TVision’s panel, which measures viewing across all major U.S. SVODs and AVODs, tracks viewing of nearly 25,000 titles among 5,000 households (14,000 individuals) across the U.S. on connected TVs (not mobile). 

But the data is still valuable in providing the first third-party estimation in the performance of “Ted Lasso,” as Nielsen’s monthly SVOD ratings don’t include Apple TV+ programs.  

What also may limit the near-term growth potential of “Ted Lasso” is Apple TV+’s reach, which hasn’t been disclosed by Apple but is still likely relatively small.

Regardless, make no mistake that "Ted Lasso” is Apple’s biggest hit to date (as VIP+ pointed out in its prior coverage of the program). Apple has already announced the S2 premiere episode of “Ted Lasso” generated the biggest audience of any Apple TV+ title. And that looks in line with TVision data that shows “Ted Lasso” was the most-viewed Apple TV+ title among panel members from November 2019 to date.  

But “Ted Lasso” still hasn’t reached the level of popularity of big titles from competing streaming services like Disney+, Netflix and HBO Max. In the three weeks leading up to the S2 premiere, “Ted Lasso” was the no. 26 most-watched streaming title across all video streaming platforms measured by TVision.

Three weeks into the season, it has grown to no. 16 — again, a sign of growth but not necessarily as sizable a growth as a hit ready to reap the buzz and acclaim of S1 might be expected to earn. 

Looking on the bright side, Apple TV+, along with other streamers, still seems set to experience an uptick in engagement in the coming months as the weather cools and concerns with the Delta variant lead some consumers to spend more time indoors. 

After all, comfortability with outdoor entertainment activities such as moviegoing, attending a theme park and going to a museum have dipped since July as virus concerns have increased.