Streaming was a major topic of discussion Wednesday at TheWrap’s annual business conference TheGrill as Hollywood continues to push forward into a much more competitive digital market with customers now far more likely to subscribe to fewer services for shorter periods of time.
Dallas Lawrence, senior vice president at analytics company Samba TV, calls these customers “subscription cyclers,” and his company’s data shows that the churn that is their hallmark will only increase in number in the years to come. Samba found in a poll of 2,000 adults that just over 40% of millennial and Gen Z streaming viewers have canceled a streaming service immediately after watching a single series they were interested in and subscribed to another service in the past six months.
Approximately 75% of those surveyed in those generational groups, along with two-third of Gen X customers and 41% of boomers say they are likely to cycle subscriptions in the next six months. While early streaming services like Netflix first gained popularity because of the sheer volume of content they offered, Samba has found that the majority of customers in today’s market are attracted to a service based on a newly released title but are much more likely to cancel after finishing that series or film.
The survey also found that the top motivation behind cycling isn’t to save money but because of a lack of interest in many titles on a service. 55% of those polled said that there was only one title on a service that they are interested in.
“Once you dip your toes in, you tend to want to keep doing it,” Lawrence said. “Gen Z does it two or three times, not just once, so they are dining and dashing on a regular basis.”
In this new market, Lawrence recommended that streamers invest more in marketing subsequent seasons of successful TV shows on other digital platforms viewers may have cycled to raise as much awareness as possible among of its fans that new episodes are available right when they premiere.
He also recommends that studios pivot to releasing shows in two volumes as opposed to a single season-wide release or one new episode per week. It is a strategy which Netflix successfully used for its latest season of “Stranger Things” and which Disney+ is using for its latest “Star Wars” series “Andor.”
“The person who watched season 1, of course you want to market season 2 to them. But what if they have already cycled to another platform?” Lawrence said. “You need to follow them to linear, to mobile, to other AVOD platforms…and you need to market to them early, within two weeks of release. That’s the attention span of these viewers when it comes to new content.”
Watch video of Samba TV’s presentation above.
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