The churn is real.
Landmark research from UK media consultancy Omdia has found 45% more streaming services were cancelled in the UK in the past 12 months as a number of deep-pocketed players entered the market, but resubscriptions rose by a colossal 84%.
Alongside Netflix and Amazon Prime, consumers had access for the first time to Discovery+ and Peacock in 2021, while Disney+ firmly established itself as a key player and Paramount+ will roll out imminently.
That injection led to 20% more consumers cancelling their streaming services compared to the previous year.
However, according to Omdia, the number of people cancelling then quickly resubscribing increased by 84%, showing that higher churn doesn’t mean subscriptions are necessarily being ditched altogether.
In fact, the number subscribing to video services in the UK grew by 11% last year, with Disney+ the big winner on 21% growth, eclipsing Netflix’s 8%.
At 15.5M, Netflix still has comfortably the most UK subs however, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 10M and the rapidly-growing Disney+ with 7.5M. Overall, four-in-five UK households have a subscription.
Unveiling the research at the Connected TV Summit, Omdia Senior Director Maria Rua Aguete said people in the UK are still spending more on streaming services despite the cost-of-living crisis.
“In terms of dealing with rising costs, consumers prefer to cut other expenses than their own entertainment at home,” she added. “In fact, as the survey reveals, cuts in other spending has allowed them to subscribe to extra services.”
Looking To The Future
And there was good news for Netflix globally in the forward-looking part of the research, which predicted that the streamer will shrug off the competition from Disney+ to remain the world’s most-subscribed-to SVoD in five years.
Omdia said Netflix will have around 260M global subs by then, ahead of Disney+’s circa-240M, although Disney+’s growth will be more rapid.
The news will be a welcome and rare boon for Netflix following a difficult few months in which it reported the lowest subscriber growth for a decade and laid off dozens of staff.
Amazon Prime Video will just top 150M globally by 2026, the research suggested, roughy level with the soon-to-be-combined HBO Max Discovery+ offering and ahead of Peacock and Paramount+.