Go Ahead and Cancel That Streaming Service: Many of You Will Be Back in a Year — Study

Dear streamers,

Maybe don’t sweat the churn so much after all.

More from IndieWire


A new study found that 35 percent of streaming users who canceled a premium SVOD service (Apple TV+, Discovery+, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, Showtime, and Starz) will be back within 12 months. The study, conducted by Antenna and Adobe, measured streamers from the first quarter of 2021 until the same quarter in 2022.

The return is fairly frontloaded. One month after canceling a subscription service, 15 percent of users return. That grows to 23 percent — nearly one-quarter of users — within three months (or one quarter of a year). At nine months, it’s 32 percent. The recidivism is real.

See the chart below, courtesy of Antenna.

Clearly, not all cancellations are created equally. Some users merely change tiers within a single service. Others shuffle their monthly streaming funds from one service to an entirely different one. Binge and purge.

From Q1 2021 to Q2 2022, new subscribers had a 12-month “survival rate” of 45 percent. In other words, a bit less than half of new users stayed with a streaming service for a full year. That dropped to 36 percent for users on their second go-round; for those on their third time or more, the survival rate falls to 26 percent.

Ah, the Serial Churners. In 2019, just 10 percent of streaming signups came from that final group. Today, one-third (33 percent) of sign-ups are from Serial Churners, which Antenna defines has a user who has canceled any premium SVOD service three or more times in the previous two years. Longterm commitment is truly dead.

Well, sort of.

L-R Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn and Jack Quaid as Brad Boimler in episode 9, season 4 of Lower Decks streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Paramount+
“Lower Decks” streaming on Paramount+Paramount+

In another poll, Roku and HarrisX found that nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of coupled-up streaming subscribers say they’ve pretended to like a show just to please their partner. It also found that 29 percent of unmarried streamers won’t date someone who doesn’t have at least two streaming services. The industry’s password-sharing crackdowns are out here breaking hearts.

So is stream-cheating. Twenty-one percent of coupled-up streamers admitted to losing their cool when their significant other watched a show — solo — that they started together. Finally, 52 percent of streamers said they are likely to bring up their current streaming obsession to fill an awkward pause in a conversation. Some weather we’re having.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.