Premium SVOD: Ad-Supported Growth

This post is a section from Antenna's 2021 Year in Streaming Report. If you are interested in receiving the full report, contact

With more choice than ever in the Premium SVOD category, Antenna data indicates that consumers opted for less expensive,Ad-Supported Subscriptions more in 2021 than in prior years.

Total Ad-Supported Sign-ups grew +117%year-over-year, from 19.4M in 2020 to 42.2M in 2021. Ad-Supported plans accounted for 32% of all Premium SVOD Sign-ups in 2021, versus just 19% in 2020. 

This comes despite the fact that only five of the ten services that Antenna includes in the category offer an Ad-Supported option (Discovery+, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock).

The jump in Ad-Supported Sign-ups translated to a +3pt increase in share of Total Premium SVOD Subscriptions onAd-Supported plan tiers, from 19% in 2020 to 22% at the end of2021.

The complexion of Subscribers by plan tier varies at the service-level.

Antenna data indicates that the majority ofSubscribers to Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock are on the Ad-Supported tiers of each service. Discovery+, on the other hand, has a lower proportion of Subscribers on its Ad-Supported tier. Interestingly, Discovery+ charges consumers a smaller price premium to go Ad-Free (+$2/mo, versus +$5/mo for Paramount+ and Peacock, and +$6/mo for Hulu), suggesting that many consumers have strong price sensitivity when deciding between plan tiers.

HBO Max launched its Ad-Supported option in June 2021, and by year-end, 8% of Subscribers were on that plan. The Ad-Supported plan tier did not include access to the Warner Bros. day-and-date films, which drove significant user acquisition for the service.

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.