Price Hike Biggest Streaming Sub Cancellation Threat: Survey

Price Hike Biggest Streaming Sub Cancellation
Yinchen Niu/Variety Intelligence Platform

Avoiding price hikes could help video streaming services minimize subscriber cancellations most in 2021, new data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform by YouGov suggests.

In a mid-December survey of U.S. adults, 71% of respondents cited a price increase when asked what would make them want to cancel a video streaming service subscription, far bigger than any other group citing another reason.

The finding suggests that households remain sensitive to the price points within their video streaming service mix even as they become more open to taking on additional subscriptions concurrently amid an expanding marketplace.  

Another key to retaining customers is ensuring a video streaming service remain accessible on the major connected TV devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, YouGov’s data suggests 

41% of respondents cited an inability to use a video streaming service on a preferred device as a reason they’d stop subscribing to it, implying the loss of distribution on a connected TV device is a bigger SVOD dealbreaker than the discontinuation of production on certain original TV shows (34%) and original movies (16%).

The price sensitivity and strong streaming device preferences among SVOD users were hinted at again in the results of YouGov’s gauge of top motivations for subscribing to a new video streaming service.

When asked why they would take on another video streaming service subscription, the first and fourth-most popular reasons were an affordable price point (58%) and an ability to use the video streaming service on their preferred streaming TV device (31%), for example.

However, the production of new TV shows (45%) and movies (37%) were cited more commonly than being available on a preferred streaming device (31%). This suggests that cross-platform availability plays a slightly bigger role in the SVOD cancellation decision process than it does in the SVOD sign-up decision process.

In other words, YouGov’s numbers suggest that the group of consumers that would cancel an SVOD subscription because it stopped being available on, say, PS4 is bigger than the group of consumers that would sign up for an SVOD because it was available on PS4.  

These data points likely don’t apply uniformly to all video streaming services.  

Consumers have shown they have the stomach for Netflix price increases, for example. And it seems unlikely Disney+ will see subscribers defect en masse when its price hikes go into effect in March. 

Still, for newer video streaming services that aren’t seen as need-to-have among as many consumers as services like Netflix and Disney+, YouGov’s numbers provide some guiding principles to help retain paying customers ahead of periods when subscriber counts get heightened levels of scrutiny.  

For more data on the attitudes of video streaming service users, click below for VIP’s latest special report, “Dare to Stream,” which offers a comprehensive analysis of all the major U.S. players in the streaming wars. 

Read the full special report