As the Hollywood studios continue to make changes to their streaming services to become more profitable, with annual price rises, the introduction of ad-supported tiers, removing original content, password sharing crackdowns, and reducing the amount of new content being released, it’s not a huge surprise to see that many of the streaming services are losing subscribers more regularly.
According to Bloomberg, some new data from Antenna has shown that US television viewers are cancelling streaming services at a record rate, with about 6% of all streaming subscribers cancelling a service in September of this year. Making it the highest rate of churn since Antenna started collecting this data in 2018.
Other than Netflix, which is getting a massive boost in subscribers due to its recent crackdown on password sharing, almost every other streaming service, including Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, Max and Starz, has seen an increase in subscribers leaving.
With the cost of living crisis continuing to cause problems around the world, it’s not a huge surprise to see Disney+ and Hulu losing subscribers in the US in September, especially with the substantial price rises that were announced that came into effect in October. However, Disney may have counterbalanced some losses with cheap sign-up deals in September. But without question, raising the price of both the ad-free tiers of Disney+ and Hulu will have caused many subscribers to leave.
There is a counter-argument that the price rises may counter some of the lost subscribers and that those subscribers may return when a new show or film that they want to watch is released. And with the ad-supported tiers offering a cheaper alternative, if some of those returning viewers take that option.
One of the biggest advantages of streaming services, is that they offer a monthly plan, which can be cancelled with just one month’s notice. It’s likely, that many streaming platforms are going to start to offer more annual plans to keep subscribers engaged for longer. One of the biggest problems that Disney+ has faced in the United States, is that with the exception of Marvel and Star Wars shows, it has struggled to release shows that appeal to a mass audience, and those two brands have become overexposed, due to too many releases and a drop in quality, that has turned many viewers away. Disney plans to make Hulu content available within Disney+ later this year, which has already proven to make a considerable difference to churn numbers internationally, where more general entertainment content is available within Disney+ from studios such as FX, 20th Century Studios and ABC.
Over the past year, Disney has made many major changes to Disney+, such as removing almost a hundred original shows and films, cutting back on adding legacy titles and reducing the amount of originals it releases, plus a major price rise on its ad-free tiers, which has put off many from renewing their annual subscriptions and made monthly subscribers question if they need the service.
Ultimately, there will always be some customers that will churn through subscription services, but Disney will need to make changes in the future to try to encourage people to keep Disney+ as one of their core platforms for content. Hopefully, the Hulu content will help fix that issue, release better originals, and keep the ad-supported tier at as low a price as possible.
Have you unsubscribed from a service in September? (I did from Amazon last month!) Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.