The largest U.S. video streaming services have very publicly discussed a strategy shift emphasizing profitable growth. Premium SVOD services are sharpening their pricing and packaging, consolidating their brands, broadening their distribution strategies, and concentrating on a “fewer, bigger” programming approach. And with these moves, Premium SVOD services are rapidly becoming even more focused on a “mass audience.”
This emphasis on “mass” creates an opportunity for the Specialty SVOD services who focus on more specific audiences with a targeted programming strategy. In fact, Antenna observes that the Specialty SVOD services have quietly grown at a +37% CAGR for the past four years, significantly higher than Premium SVOD’s already impressive 21% CAGR. At the end of 2019, Antenna counted 10 million subscriptions to Specialty SVOD services, or 7% of the Premium + Specialty SVOD total. By June 2023, that number had grown to 28 million, or 11% of the total.
So for the Q3 issue of our report series, “Antenna’s State of Subscriptions,” launching today, we’re digging into Speciality Video and the opportunities these services have in front of them.
Specialty SVOD is significantly more fragmented than the Premium category. Antenna currently measures 25 different Specialty services, and the largest, AMC+, accounts for just 11% of the category Subscriptions. BET+, MGM+ and Britbox are the next largest players.
MGM+ was the only service which Antenna observed to grow by over 1 million Net Adds in the past year. BET+, Crunchyroll, and AMC+ were the next largest growers.
Important note: Antenna data includes Direct Subscriptions (Subscriptions where the user signs up for a service directly with the service itself, rather than through an app store, channels environment or as an add-on to a vMVPD) for the entire Premium SVOD category, but only for Acorn TV, BET+, and Britbox in the Specialty category. As such, our numbers for Specialty Direct subscriptions are understated compared to the actual. However, the directional insights contained in this section hold true.
The proliferation of choice has led consumers to manage their portfolio of subscriptions more tenaciously, and Specialty services experience heightened volatility, similar to what Antenna observes for Premium services. Antenna counted 6.6M Cancels in Q2’23, +65% from the previous year and a remarkable +130% from Q2’21. Gross Additions were up over the same period; 6.8M in Q2’23 represents +26% YoY and +45% from Q2’21.
With this increased volatility, comes higher Churn. Specialty SVOD average weighted monthly Churn has doubled from 4.5% at the start of 2019 to 9.0% in June 2023. It is following a similar trajectory to Premium SVOD, which has grown from 2.6% to over 6.1% in the same time period.
Antenna believes that Specialty is an interesting and important subcategory within SVOD more broadly. In addition to an overview of Specialty Video, this latest “State of Subscriptions” installment includes a robust analysis on the market size and opportunity for Specialty SVOD in the broader streaming ecosystem, as well as a closer look at distributor dynamics and the impact distribution partners and strategies have on the category as a whole.
If you’re interested in downloading a copy of the full report, you can sign-up to receive it automatically on our homepage. If you’re already on our distribution list, check your email---we’ve sent out a download link to everyone who has opted-in to receive communication from Antenna. For this release, we’re also providing Antenna clients with exclusive access to a client-only expanded version of “State of Subscriptions: Specialty Video” with even more actionable data and insights.
For more detailed information on Antenna’s methodology and definitions of core metrics, please visit http://www.antenna.live/methodology.
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.