Event series and movies add subscribers to streamers, but do they stay?

You subscribe to a streamer to watch a certain thing. But what happens when that show or movie is over?

Like many people around the world, I have too many streaming channels. I bounce between them, canceling and restarting them, trying to keep up with the wave of shows I want to watch, premiering movies, and all the hidden gems in between.

Streaming channels thrive on the surges they get when people buy and then watch what they intend to do. But the one thing they struggle to do is keep shoppers around. In this business, it is not enough to have your eyes fixed on one thing. You also have to put a lot of time and effort into keeping them.

There’s a lot of data that shows huge spikes when event series and movies drop. Take hamilton on Disney. The graph below tracks subscribers at the time you were able to watch the musical.

Credit: Antenna

Similar numbers surround Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and even doggy style on AppleTV+.

Titles that drop with notable stars and multiple quadrants always come with a spike in subscriptions. But what happens later? You can see from the hamilton graph that things stabilize completely, and even fall in the following days and months. In fact, the data suggests that six months after the title’s release, they only retain about 50% of those subscribers.

Credit: Antenna

So how do we actually track these stats with notoriously low-key streamers?

A company called Antenna aggregated the data. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Antenna is able to compile daily subscriber signups for most streaming services by aggregating data from a series of third-party apps that help users manage their inboxes or stick to a monthly budget. These apps keep track of streaming-related transactions and emails confirming users’ decisions to sign up or cancel a streaming subscription.

To retain subscribers, these streamers try to drop as many movies and series as possible, hoping for at least one loud title a month to keep people hooked.

The average American household subscribes to 3.6 streaming services, according to Kagan media. Obviously, the services are only interested in you if you subscribe to them. Previously, the plan was to use huge budgets to acquire old movie studio catalogs and license new releases. But streaming services quickly got wise. There was no reason for them to pay studios to create content and then rent it for a limited time to attract audiences. So every year more and more money has been set aside for these places to develop their own content, which they will have forever.

Watch Apple TV+, which is growing slowly and steadily, but only creating its own content that will stay on the platform forever. And while other places have a revolving door of licensed content, they’re all spending a lot more now to create content that exists for them. This is the new wave of viewer loyalty and their new, most effective way to attract new people. If you have things that are unique to you, you create a need to buy and stay.

None of this is foolproof, but this is where the industry is heading. And that’s how these streaming services are trying to get you to stay. Plus, interestingly, it’s the perfect collision of quantity and quality. They have so many new things coming to keep you excited, and they want them to be good at keeping your money.

We’ll see where this strategy goes, but that’s another way things are changing rapidly in Hollywood and around the world.

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