Understanding the Streaming Subscriber Journey

Subscription marketers often talk about “acquisition” and “churn” as if they were simple binary propositions. But the truth of subscriber journeys is that they are actually far more complex, and to successfully manage their businesses, subscription services must deeply understand these paths. Antenna recently teamed up with Adobe on a custom analysis to better understand the journey of the streaming subscriber and the business impact.  

Antenna data indicates that a significant portion of SVOD subscribers “switch” (i.e. cancel one service and subscribe to another), “resubscribe” (i.e. cancel one service, but resubscribe to that same service later on), and “manage plans” (i.e. move across ad-supported and ad-free tiers, or standalone to bundled tiers). These behaviors are of critical importance for operators to understand, as they can reveal clues for how to best market to consumers in an effort to bolster lifetime value (LTV). 

When users cancel an SVOD service, oftentimes that is not the end of their relationship with that same service. 

More than one-third of users who canceled a Premium SVOD service between Q1’21 and Q1’22 were “won-back” 12 months later. Nearly a quarter of these users were “won-back” within three (3) months after canceling. 

However, the loyalty profile of users can vary significantly across lifetimes. 

In aggregate, users who subscribed to a Premium SVOD service for the first time between Q1’21 and Q1’22 had a 12 month survival rate of 45%. That survival rate dropped -9pts to 36% for users on their second lifetime, and -19pts to 26% for users on their third or more lifetime. 

As Antenna has previously noted, an increasing portion of user acquisition in the Premium SVOD category is driven by these Serial Churners. 

In 2019, only 10% of category sign-ups came from this segment of users who actively manage their subscriptions. Fast forward to 2023 (through Q1’23) and Antenna data indicates that one-third of sign-ups came from Serial Churners. 

Antenna and Adobe will be co-presenting more findings about subscriber behavior, emerging segments of users, and the nuances associated with these dynamics at the “Adobe Experience Makers Webinar: Understanding the Streaming Subscriber Journey” on Tuesday, October 24th at 10:00 AM PT | 1:00 PM ET. Anyone interested in attending can register here.

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.