Economic uncertainty, “streamflation,” and production delays test consumers’ streaming loyalty

KPMG U.S. Media Leader warns $25 subscriptions to become new norm

November 15, 2023 – Streaming services are raising their subscription rates, cracking down on password sharing, and looking for ways to diversify their revenue streams including a focus on ad-supported offerings. Additionally, after years of strong consumer demand and numerous streaming launches, the market has become saturated. With the pressure to increase revenue, streamers have shifted their focus to a different set of KPIs, including ARPU, churn, and profitability.

“Companies have pivoted from chasing subscribers to chasing profits. The subsidy era has ended, and consumers are entering a new age of streamflation,” said KPMG U.S. Media Leader Scott Purdy. “It’s easy to imagine a scenario where most streaming services cost upwards of $25 per subscription.”

In the face of streaming price hikes, and tightening monthly budgets due to inflation, subscribers are feeling the squeeze as they continue to juggle multiple subscriptions. Many are taking a second look at how much they’re spending on their streaming subscriptions and paring back.

To better understand the impact of current economic conditions on consumers’ entertainment choices, and to gather their opinions about subscription pricing trends, content options, and the impact of the Hollywood strikes, KPMG surveyed more than 1,000 people across all age groups.

A few highlights:

How much consumers are willing to pay and for how long

  • Thirty-seven percent of consumers have canceled at least one streaming service due to price increases. And 27% of consumers indicated they plan to cancel at least one streaming service in the next six months.
  • Eighty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed that they would be willing to stick with a streaming service for a period of time (at least six months) to get a lower monthly price.
  • Further, 30% of consumers indicated they are already paying for an ad-based subscription, and another 23% said it’s worth sitting through ads for a lower price and that they’d consider switching to an ad option over the next six months.

“Extended agreements would be a positive for streaming providers because long-term contracts would reduce subscriber churn.  As for consumers, they would benefit by getting a lower price for the same service,” continued Scott.  

Consumers weighing the impact of Hollywood strikes

  • Sixty-nine percent of consumers surveyed indicated an awareness of the strikes and 51% of respondents indicated they are already running out of new content to watch due to the halt in production.
  • However, 47% said they wouldn’t be canceling their streaming due to this. Notably, 32% said if the next season of their favorite show weren’t available, they’d cancel their streaming service until the next season is ready, suggesting they were subscribed to the service for one or two specific programs.
  • With this in mind, 59% agree that there is still plenty of streaming content to watch, even without a season of their favorite show.
  • So, what do viewers look for in choosing a streaming subscription? Among all respondents, 48% cited “favorite new shows,” 43% said, “broad range of movies,” while 38%  picked “broad range of shows.”

“The dynamics of streaming subscribers are often unpredictable. There’s one segment of the population that is relatively resilient and tends to be more loyal to their favorite streaming platforms. Others are used to bouncing around frequently. With the production delays of the last several months, consumers may be in for a much longer gap in content than they anticipate, which may lead to more churn than anticipated,” said Purdy.

To view the full 2023 KPMG Media Survey, please visit: https://kpmg.com/us/en/articles/2023/consumers-loyal-to-streaming-what-price.html

For media inquiries, please contact Alison Wentley at awentley@kpmg.com

Media Contact

Alison R Wentley

Alison R Wentley

Sr Assoc Corporate Communications, KPMG US

+1-561-568-5545

 

 

 

 

 

 

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