As Streaming Wars Heat Up, Consumers Say They’ll Drop Some Services to Try New Ones
As the streaming wars intensify, viewers are starting to adjust their consumption habits accordingly, and there’s new data to prove it. About half of consumers polled in a new survey say they intend on subscribing to new OTT services—but about two-thirds of that group say they’ll downgrade or cancel one of their existing video services in order to do it.
The data comes from a new PwC report that shows what’s at stake as old and new media companies fight for market share and customers.
In the poll, 26% of consumers said they are satisfied with their current video services, but half of them say they intend on subscribing to new OTT entrants in the market, which include Disney+, Apple TV+, and forthcoming services HBO Max and Peacock. More specifically, 64% of those respondents say they’ll either downgrade or cancel their existing streaming video services to sign up for new ones. And a quarter of consumers said they are actively looking to unsubscribe from some of their services.
There’s been no shortage of debate between streaming services doing all-at-one drops or weekly releases.
According to a recent Hollywood Reporter poll, younger Americans prefer to watch TV episodes all at once.
While everyone’s debating whether users want to binge all at once or digest episodes on a weekly basis, there’s a sleeper cohort out there nobody is talking about. And that’s the user who will intentionally avoid an entire season of a show just to be able to binge episodes at their own pace. Similarly, there are users that will hold off on a few series on a given video service and then once a year subscribe for a month and watch them all that month.
If you’re a streaming service, this is important. Just because you release a show over the span of several months, that won’t always translate into several months of subscription revenue.
Let’s use season 3 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on Hulu as an example. The season debuted on June 5th and the final episode of the season was released on August 14th.
To watch the season on a weekly basis, would have cost you approximately $17.97 in subscription fees (with ad-supported Hulu @ $5.99/month). If you signed up after the finale and we’re able to consume all 13 episodes within a single month, you would only pay $5.99 in subscription fees.
Some may want to, but this is not at all about “gaming” the system. This is about consumer preference. And the entire OTT industry was created on consumer preference. Remember when we all wanted to “watch what we want, when we want, and where/how we wanted?”
And if users want to watch all 13 episodes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ over a weekend, they might wish to activate their subscription until after the season finale.
So whether you’re dropping episode all-at-once or weekly, it may not really matter. Users are going to watch how they want. What matters the most is that your library has enough titles that your customers are engaged on a weekly basis.