Owning the Customer Relationship in Premium SVOD

When most people in the media industry talk about the “streaming wars,” they are referring to the battle between SVOD services for Subscribers. But an increasingly important battle (or is it the war itself?) is the competition for the customer relationship. 53% of Gross Adds that Antenna observed in 2022 came through a distribution platform—Apple, Amazon, Roku, or Google—not directly with the services themselves. 

Direct-to-Consumer models are great for brands because they do not share margin with retailers or wholesalers, and they fully control the customer relationship. When an SVOD service wins a customer through a distribution partner, they typically share the economics, and the distribution partner controls portions of the customer data and communication (sometimes, a lot of it).

There is much to unpack in these numbers. For starters, the nature of the deals varies across distribution partners, even ones operated by the same platform—for instance, the terms for a distribution platform’s app store could be different from their Channels environment. Also, a substantial portion of the Apple distribution are actually Apple TV+ Gross Additions.

And these distribution arrangements come with upsides, too. They can potentially deliver substantial incremental customers. And in environments like Amazon Channels which load the Services’ programming directly into their app, Services can save product development and upkeep costs because they do not have to operate their own proprietary app.

Balancing the benefits and challenges of distributing in third-party environments is a key issue that Services will consider as they manage to profitable growth in the coming years.

More insights on the U.S. Premium SVOD market are available in our latest State of Subscriptions Report. If you're interested in reviewing the full report, send us an email and we'll share a copy with you.

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.