VideoNuze readers and podcast listeners know that as the streaming wars have heated up I’ve become focused on whether subscribers will increasingly churn in and out of various services (“spinning” as I’ve called it). There are arguments on both sides of this issue, and it’s not yet clear to me how it will unfold.
But research late last week from PwC suggested that the potential for spinning is quite high. When PwC asked “Would you make any changes to your current subscriptions in order to subscribe to these new services?” 64% of respondents said they would terminate or downgrade one or more current services while 36% said they would make no changes to current services.
Now admittedly there’s a big difference between what people say they will do vs. what they’ll actually do, so the results need to be taken with a grain of salt. However, when PwC asked about past behaviors, “Why did you stop subscribing to these services?” respondents’ selections show that a spinning mindset already seems to have taken root. “I don’t need it anymore” was cited by 24%, “It was too expensive” followed with 20% and then “I felt I didn’t get my money’s worth” and “I wanted to try another service” tied at 17%.
Of course, even past behaviors aren’t always indicative of future plans…but what the answers suggest to me is that consumers are already becoming reasonably savvy about the SVOD decision-making process and are ready to act. In other words, industry executives are likely too optimistic if they believe that subscribers will have a “set it and forget it” mentality - subscribing and then having inertia taking hold to keep them in place. For sure some will. But many won’t. And to the extent that apps emerge (which I believe will happen) that help consumers easily manage/optimize their subscriptions, spinning will become even more mainstream.
No, not everyone will have the energy and incentive to spin. But I think it’s fair to say that with frictionless subscribe/unsubscribe and the propensity to binge-watch, there’s ample reason to believe spinning will accelerate as the streaming wars rage.
Separate, the PwC report has some interesting data on cord-cutting stabilizing (which I’m not sure I agree with), general satisfaction of viewers, expectations of price increases, likely success of Disney+, and more.
The full PwC report, “The Streaming Shakeup” is available for complimentary download here.