Advanced Television

Research: Most essential SVoDs identified

March 14, 2023

By Colin Mann

New research from Aluma Insights finds two-thirds of US Netflix buyers view the service as indispensable to meeting household video needs. Hulu and Disney+ were the only other top-16 services in which more than half of subscribers considered the service essential instead of just nice to have. Conversely, Epix Now, Apple TV+, and Peacock were found to be the least essential services.

“This is a one way of comparing a service’s utility with that of its competitors,” notes Michael Greeson, founder of Aluma Insights. “It says to some owners you’ve a bit more latitude when it comes to revenue optimisation measures, such as cracking down on freeloading or increasing retail prices. It says to others there is great risk in significantly altering prices or service terms.”

To this point, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently shared that December’s 38 per cent increase in ad-free Disney+ prices caused minimal subscriber losses, suggesting the service is not yet fully valued. Aluma analysts agree, and expect both Disney+ and Hulu standalone prices will increase by around 15 per cent during 2023.

The fact Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ topped the essentials list, and Epix Now finished last, was unsurprising to Aluma analysts. However, finding Apple TV+ and Peacock among the bottom three services was unexpected. Apple TV+ is recognized for high-quality original content that resonates well with its subscribers. Then again, it has little depth in terms of third-party content and lower value than most other services, which may have reduced its stickiness.

Though Peacock enjoyed a a 28 per cent increase in paid subscribers during 2022, only one-third of them consider the service essential. Even as it works to improve its library, Peacock’s owner Comcast is eliminating the service’s free ad-supported tier and is phasing out complimentary service for Xfinity subscribers. While the company has a great deal of confidence it can convert these users to paid subscribers, Aluma Aluma analysts doubt this will be the case given how few current subscribers consider the service essential.

A greater risk to less-essential services is plateauing monthly SVoD spending. Aluma found that in 2022, SVoD households spent on average $43.25 (€40.46) per month on the services, up significantly from 2020 but mostly stable compared with 2021. However, between 2020 and 2022, the percentage of SVoD buyers open to spending more declined from 14 per cent to 8 per cent, while the percentage who planning to reduce these expenses increased from 17 per cent to 25 per cent.

“As buyers move closer to their SVoD spending limits, less essential services will have a difficult time optimizing revenue without enduring sizeable subscriber losses,” concludes Greeson.


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