SVOD churn hit 20% in back half of 2020: Interpret

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Interpret’s study suggests that consumers are becoming more active in taking advantage of trials without subscribing. (Getty/FS-Stock)

Subscription streaming video services benefitted from a pandemic-fueled flurry of new customers in 2020 but that may have helped lead to increased churn in the back half of the year.

New research from Interpret suggests that SVOD subscribers increased by 14% in the second half of 2020. However, during the same period, the rate of cancellation for SVOD services increased to 20% from 15% — pay TV providers saw churn increase 2 points to 7% during the same time.

“Subscriber churn was a concern for many video service providers prior to the pandemic, particularly for pay TV. The interruption in content, household income, and viewing behavior, along with heightened competition, has led to changes in how consumers value and evaluate video offerings,” said Brett Sappington, vice president of research at Interpret, in a statement. “Users now realize that they can’t get all of their preferred content in one place. The industry is essentially training consumers to be churn tolerant. So, the question for the future is less about how to stop churn, and more about how to make churn work in your favor.”

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Interpret’s study suggests that consumers are becoming more active in taking advantage of trials without subscribing. Nearly 20% of subscribers report switching among services to watch platform exclusives, and 13% report cancelling a service after watching a selected video series, according to a news release.

As consumers increasingly continue to subscribe to multiple SVOD services, Interpret said they has also increasingly shown a willingness to watch ad-supported streaming (AVOD) services. In all, only 20% of streaming subscribers are content to stay with their current providers.