The number of UK households subscribing to at least one streaming service has fallen for the first time in a decade. And it’s particularly bad news for discovery+, NOW, Disney+ and BritBox.
Research by Kantar Worldpanel reveals that there were more cancellations than new subscriptions during the first three months of the year. 1.29 million new subscriptions were taken out during this time, compared to 1.59 million cancellations. Overall, the number of households with at least one subscription service fell by 215,000. In total, around 58% of UK households subscribe to at least one streamer.
But which to ditch?
Among the streaming services, discovery+, NOW, Disney+ and BritBox suffered the largest subscriber churns. Research indicates when households have to choose which streaming service to ditch, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are last to go. Disney in particular saw sharp increases in cancellations, according to Kantar.
Dominic Sunnebo, the global insight director at Kantar Worldpanel said:
“With many streaming services having witnessed significant revenue growth during the height of Covid, this moment will be sobering.”
Netflix is expected to confirm slower global growth when it reports its latest figures this week.
What are the streamers doing about it?
Aidan Smith, RXTV
One of streaming’s benefits is becoming its liability: one month rolling subscriptions allow consumers to cancel more quickly and easily than traditional pay TV contracts.
Prime Video is available as part of Amazon Prime, which includes free next day delivery on items from Amazon. That acts as an incentive to keep the service. A strategy that appears to be working, as it’s one of the last households will ditch.
ITV meanwhile is preparing to give its streaming service a complete overhaul. BritBox UK will be absorbed into ITVX. ITVX also includes elements of ITV Hub+, combined in one subscription package. More about ITVX….
Sky is fighting the battle on two fronts. It continues to develop hardware and software to become a gatekeeper of multiple streaming services. Secondly, it’s enhancing its streaming offer with Peacock and its partnership with Paramount.
Discovery+ has recently launched a cheaper subscription option: in return for seeing adverts, users can cut the cost of a monthly subscription to Discovery’s factual entertainment and sports library.
US streaming giants are increasingly staggering releases over several weeks, meaning that users wanting first access to a particular show need to keep their subscriptions active for longer. In effect, streaming companies are starting to behave like traditional linear channels in releasing a new episode at a certain time each week.