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Subscriptions and Cancellations: Video Streaming Habits of US and UK Subscribers

Does your company offer subscription video on demand (SVOD) services? Are your consumers abusing the free trial process by binging on content and then quitting before it’s time to pay up? Are discounts an effective tool in moving subscribers beyond that all important three-month barrier? And what features are most effective in keeping consumers loyal to your video service?

To answers these and many other important questions, Vindicia commissioned nScreenMedia to examine US and UK consumer relationships with streaming video services and their viewing behaviors. The result is the detailed research study Keep My Customer – Why Consumers Subscribe to, Stay with, Cancel, and Come Back to Online Video Services.

Live webinar

Join us for our live webinar on Wednesday, August 28, hosted by nScreenMedia Founder and Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and Vindicia Marketing Manager Mark Bishop, as they delve into the actionable research findings.

The nScreenMedia Study

The nScreenMedia study surveyed 1,000 consumers in the US and 500 in the UK, all of whom subscribe to SVOD services. Key results include:

  • 70% of households in the US and 40% of UK homes have a subscription to at least one streaming video service
  • The average viewer in the US subscribes to 3.4 streaming services and pays an average of $8.53 per service, while the average UK viewer subscribes to 2.9 services and pays an average of £6.61
  • Discounted offerings are an under-exploited opportunity for service providers
  • Involuntary customer cancellations are a serious industry problem

Involuntary customer churn

The study revealed that over a quarter of US and a third of UK online video streamers have had an SVOD service canceled due to a card problem. And of those groups, 30% did not return to the service. Involuntary cancellations is particularly problomatic among young subscribers. Young adults from 18 to 34 years old are twice as likely to have experienced involuntary cancellation in the UK, and three times more likely in the US.

Cancellers can be persuaded to come back

The survey looked at how often and why people cancel their service. In the US, 38% say they have canceled one or more services in the last year. Of that group, two-thirds say they had canceled one service only, and just one-in-ten have canceled three or more services.

Netflix users are slightly less likely than average to have canceled service in the last year. Hulu users are slightly more likely. And Amazon Prime Video users are no more or less likely than average. The top two reasons cited for canceling a video service: people couldn’t find enough content they liked and didn’t find the service good value for their money.

The good news for service providers is that old customers are their best new prospects. They study found that 33% of US and 25% of UK cancellers have been persuaded to sign up for service again.

Discounts are a prime opportunity

Another important finding is that discounted subscriptions are an under-exploited opportunity for service providers to win new customers. A 20% discount for a three-month commitment generated the highest interest level, with 66% of US and 57% of UK subscribers saying they were likely or extremely likely to take the offer.

Three months is an important milestone to reach, because subscribers that stay this long are much less likely to leave the service. Surprisingly, the study found that offering more than a 20% discount did not result in more interest.

Free trials not being abused

The study also found that free trial abuse is not a serious problem for video service providers. While 49% of US and 62% of UK online video subscribers have canceled at least one service within the free trial period, only 5% in the US and 2% in the UK have canceled within the free-trial period four or more times in the last year.

Content is still king

When it comes to retaining existing subscribers, content is king. The study found that 64% of US subscribers and 55% of UK subscribers have been with their longest-tenured service for one year or more. When asked why they stay, respondents said having plenty of interesting content to watch was the top reason. Value for money was a close second place, and ease of finding something good to watch came in third. 

We look forward to your attendance at the live webinar. You’ll gain actionable information that will help your subscription-based business succeed in the SVOD space.

 

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