Streaming Churn Rate Tops 40% for the First Quarter of 2020

To everything (streaming) churn, churn, churn.  Not only is streaming usage in general on an incredible rise thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but customer experimentation with switching services is on a record rise.

According to new data from Parks Associates, a consumer technology market research firm, the churn rate (or the rate that subscribers cancel a service) increased from 35% in the first quarter of 2019 to 41% in the first quarter of 2020. But the overall data doesn’t support customers quitting streaming (in fact 8% of homes say they’ve subscribed to a new service since COVID-19 began), so those customers must be simply switching services.

Steve Nason, Research Director at Parks Associates, tied the uptick in churn to two factors: the current pandemic leading to more streaming and perhaps subscribers exhausting the content they want to watch and streaming services offering up better free trials and promotional offers.

Disney+ was the big winner this quarter Parks Associates said, claiming around 49% of all streaming churn. That makes sense when you consider that the service was still pretty new for the first part of the quarter and kids became co-workers to parents stuck at home in the last part of the quarter. 27% of people who quit one streaming service for another went to Apple TV Plus.  

Of course, the question is, will those customers stay with those services or will they continue to bounce around? It’ll also be interesting to see if the second quarter follows suit, especially with the addition of HBO Max and Peacock. 

With production halted around the globe, most services aren’t adding much original content these days, so the conditions might be right for an all-new service to capitalize. 

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