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Streaming audiences don’t see a need for loyalty

Illustration by Kate Walker

Streaming audiences don’t see a need for loyalty


The Future. The film and TV streaming market is only getting tougher as audiences get in the habit of signing up, watching a show, and then canceling once they’re done. Platforms may need to use every tool in their arsenal to keep people hooked for another month, including dropping the binge model, offering titles from a variety of genres, and maybe even creating a rewards program for long-haulers.

Penny programming

WSJ reports that month-to-month churn is becoming a normal part of the streaming age.

  • Data from subscriber-measurement firm Antenna found that roughly 19% of premium streamer subscribers (Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, etc.) have canceled three or more of their subscriptions in the past two years.
  • That’s almost 13% higher than in the preceding two years.
  • And just in the US, customer churn has inched up to a monthly rate of about 5.5%.

Why is this happening? There are a few reasons:

  • The amount of streaming services available has blown up, so people are only keeping the services they’re planning to use that month.
  • People are back in the world after the pandemic, so they don’t feel like they need as many services.
  • Inflation is still high, so people are tightening their belts and cutting back on subscriptions… especially as the price of each service goes up.

Follow the content

But it’s also important to note that it’s the content itself that makes people sign up and cancel with no abandon. People aren’t loyal to streamers — they’re loyal to the show or film they want to watch. As soon as a show is finished, they’ll cancel and sign up for a new service that has the next hot show they’re interested in watching.

  • For example, among Netflix subscribers who signed up in January of this year, only 55% remain. During the same period in 2021, it was 62%. And in 2020, it was 71%.

But there’s good news. Antenna reports that Americans are gradually adding more services to their monthly roster. The struggle? Making sure you’re one of them.  

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