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Fight is on to retain subs as US streaming growth stalls

This meant, said the Entertainment on Demand survey, there are now 109 million households with subscriptions, as of September 2021. The analyst attributed the slight backward turn to a decline in video streaming to the penetration of paid SVOD, that is paid ad-free video-on-demand, which declined 1.5 percentage points on a quarterly basis.

However, Kantar noted that FAST (free ad-supported TV) and AVOD were growing tiers within the video streaming market; 14% accessed FAST services, up 3 percentage points quarter-on-quarter, and 21% accessed AVOD, an increase of 0.8 percentage points quarter-on-quarter.

Overall, 4.5 million consumers cancelled subscriptions in Q3 2021, including those who had multiple subscriptions and remain in the streaming category. But of those who cancelled, 85%, or 3.8 million, were among consumers who had only one subscription in Q2 2021 and now have none.

Across platforms, Amazon Prime Video accounted for the bulk of penetration declines, losing 2 percentage points in terms of penetration in one quarter. This comes after Amazon Prime Video accounted for the largest share of new subscription in Q2 2021, driven by Prime Day. Among the group who had one subscription in Q2 2021 and cancelled in Q3 2021, 69% had an Amazon Prime Video subscription.

Beyond SVOD, AVOD, and FAST Streaming, Kantar said it could see wins for live pay-TV (cable TV or MVPD+) in Q3. Households with live pay only and no streaming were up to 10% in Q3 2021 compared with 9% Q2 2021, driven by cable TV. Similarly, households with both live pay-TV and streaming were up to 51% in Q3, from 50% in Q2. Those with streaming only – that is AVOD, SVOD, or FAST – were down 2.2 percentage points.

Despite the decline in overall streaming, stacking continued to grow among those still in the market. Across total streaming, the average subscriber now had 4.2 streaming subscriptions, up from 3.8 in Q2 2021. The more mature platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu continued to hold subscribers who were less likely to stack subscriptions, and stacking growth among these consumers is slower than the total market.

Kantar noted that for newer competitors launching into video streaming, competing with the mature platforms may be more of a challenge than competing with other maturing platforms. The growth in stacking, particularly for the platforms with high stacking subscribers, was said to be in part due to the success in growth of these newer services.

Going forward, the Entertainment on Demand survey said that while Q3 2021 saw losses for the streaming category, it expected Q4 2021 to be a more positive story. Q2 2021 saw higher claimed planned cancellation, which was seen in the loss of lighter subscribers in Q3 2021. As the category is left with more engaged and more satisfied streamers, Kantar did not expect to see the same declines in Q4 2021. Rapid TV News

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