How Will Streaming Services Retain Subscribers Gained During COVID-19?

The first half of 2020 was a rough financial time for many industries to say the least, but a few industries actually benefited from nationwide shutdowns and quarantines – one of those being streaming television.

From March to May of 2020, streaming video subscriptions saw a 400% increase compared to their growth rate from the previous year. Netflix added 16 million subscribers during those months and Disney+ alone added over 20 million new customers during that time frame, which makes sense when you consider that kids suddenly became co-workers to parents barred from the office.

But the influx of subscribers has now raised an interesting problem for streaming services – how to keep customers on board.

It seems now that the fiercely competitive streaming war of the past year is turning to a war of retention. Customers are showing an increased lack of loyalty when it comes to streaming, so instead of focusing solely on attracting new customers, many services are pivoting and focusing on keeping the subscribers they have.

Production has been shut down across the globe, so there’s not a lot of new content to roll out except what was already finished. That means services are either scrambling to secure the rights to already published content or moving release dates forward as Disney+ has done with a filmed version of Broadway smash hit Hamilton (dropping a full 15 months earlier than planned)

Several services that can’t promise big-time content are trying to carve out a niche – say, anime or documentaries – to keep people interested. 

Millions of people have started streaming for the first time over the past few months, and they couldn’t have entered the world of cord-cutting at a more interesting time. Whether it’s new pricing structures, bundles with other services or just a tidal wave of content, it’ll be worth watching to see how streaming services handle things. 

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