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The Readout

32% of U.S. streaming cancellations are ‘won back’ after 6 months

A group of people in a connected TV roll away a boulder with an X on it to reveal a glowing green checkmark.

Illustration by Nick DeSantis / Shutterstock / The Current

Here’s the thing:

Retaining subscribers has always been an obvious goal of streaming services. But recent data suggests that streamers likely have a big opportunity to “win back” people who cancel their memberships.

About 1 in 3 U.S. subscribers to premium subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platforms who canceled in the third quarter of 2022 resubscribed to the same service within six months, according to subscription analytics firm Antenna.

Data debrief:

For its State of Subscriptions Report published last month, Antenna looked at the weighted average of U.S. resubscribers over a 12-month period beginning in July 2022, across premium SVOD services that included Peacock, Paramount+, Netflix, Max, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, Starz and Discovery+. The report excluded, among other things, free tiers and select bundles.

On average, Antenna found that 23% of cancellations were “won back” within three months; 32% of cancellations came back by month six; 37% were won back by month nine; and 41% returned within a year.

Peacock had the most success winning back U.S. subscribers who had canceled, with 30% resubscribing by month three and 50% coming back after month 12.

According to Antenna, the rate at which U.S. consumers resubscribe to streaming services is increasing. Last year, 30% of premium SVOD gross additions in the U.S. were resubscribers, or people who had previously subscribed to and canceled a service within the previous 12 months, the company said.

Why it matters:

Antenna’s research indicates that a streaming user may not be lost forever once they cancel; in fact, there’s ample opportunity for convincing them to come back.

With many services focused on building advertising businesses, the metrics for success might be shifting. It’s not all about subscriber growth anymore. Indeed, all but two of the platforms included in Antenna’s report offer advertising plans.

“Antenna sees the streaming-video category entering a new era,” the report’s authors, Antenna CEO Jonathan Carson and Director of Strategy Brendan Brady, wrote. “The previous stage was hyperfocused on acquisition — which made sense, as these new brands had to establish a mass audience.”

They added, “But now that the largest players have that scale (and the niche players have introduced themselves to their target audiences), they must shift their focus to managing their subscribers.”

The Readout graph: SVOD cancels in Q3 '22 that resubscribed showing resubscriptions after 3, 6, 9, and 12 months.