In last quarter's Antenna SVOD Growth Report, we marveled at the rapid growth rates in the Premium Entertainment (+30% two-year CAGR) and Specialty Entertainment SVOD (+74% CAGR) categories. For Q3, the growth in total Subscriptions for the Premium SVOD category was +25% YoY, almost even with last quarter's +26% YoY growth.
When a product category is growing that fast for an extended period, the growth often decelerates over time. But in Q3, Gross Subscriber Additions in Premium SVOD were at a record high. Gross Adds includes the total number of new paid Subscribers — including both new and converted (from trial) Subscribers. While the amount of Gross Adds does not fully convey the health of a subscription business, as the metric does not account for any Churn, it is a leading indicator of consumer interest that a service is garnering.
Gross Adds were up +49% QoQ and +86% YoY. They were also +31% versus Q1'21, the largest Gross Adds quarter that Antenna had previously observed in Premium SVOD. Q3'21 Gross Adds also surpassed the Disney+ launch quarter (Q4'19) by +38%.
An interesting story emerges when unpacking where this growth comes from. Peacock and Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) launched in Q3'20 and Q1'21, respectively; but, both services secured their greatest number of Gross Adds in Q3'21.
Peacock claimed 12% of Gross Adds, and earned more than double the number that it had in any previous quarter. Paramount+ earned 14% of Gross Adds, and +33% more than any previous quarter. Both services benefited from live sports (Tokyo Games and return of NFL football) and day-and-date film premieres (The Boss Baby: Family Business and Paw Patrol: The Movie).
However, the biggest Gross Adds story of Q3 was Apple TV+, which captured 26% for the category. The company deployed a unique strategy, offering Apple device buyers an extended free trial that lasted a year or more. Antenna found that more than three-fourths of Sign-ups to Apple TV+ have come via that hardware-purchase trial. As these trials have begun to come up for expiration, Apple TV+'s paid Subscriber base has more than quadrupled.
Entertainment SVOD's may some day reach a saturation point, but we clearly are not there yet.
Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.