Premium SVOD streaming market total subscriptions grew 37% annually in Q3 2020, ANTENNA data shows, compared to 34% annual growth in Q2. Total Subscriptions were up 4% from the end of Q2.
The accelerating growth rate in Q3 is impressive because Q2’s growth was boosted by consumers’ intense experimentation with new streaming services following COVID-19 “shelter-in-place” actions.
Further, this accelerated growth came in a quarter in which Netflix, the largest player in the category with 35% of the total Subscriptions, experienced slower growth. Annual growth for Netflix decelerated from over 3% in Q2 to less than 1% in Q3, driven at least partially by the spike in Churn caused by the Cuties controversy. The Premium SVOD market excluding Netflix actually grew 7% versus the previous quarter.
Disney+, which launched in Q4 2019, was responsible for about two-thirds of the total industry growth for Q3.
Peacock only expanded the total SVOD market by 1% but it is important to note that ANTENNA data does not include Comcast Xfinity customers who get free access to the service, and whom likely make up a majority of total Peacock Sign-ups.
CBS All Access had the highest annual growth in the category, at 41%, boosted by the start of the NFL season and UEFA Champions League. HBO was most improved, with 27% Q3 annual growth versus 11% in Q2, which may have been driven partially by the launch of HBO Max.
Apple TV+ had the most rapid quarter-over-quarter growth, at 17%. One of every five Apple TV+ Sign-ups in Q3 came during the week after the release of the Tom Hanks feature film, Greyhound. Similarly, over one-in-four Disney+ Sign-ups for the quarter came the week after Hamilton’s premiere, leading to an overall quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 11% for the service. CBS All Access also grew 11% from Q2.
Average Monthly Churn Rate
The Q3 growth acceleration came despite the fact that Average Monthly Churn Rate for the category increased to 6.2% in Q3 from 5.1% in Q2. Our data suggests a number of potential reasons behind the increased churn:
- Higher cancellation rates amongst Subscribers who Signed-up during COVID-19 shelter-in-place.
- Increased cancellations following hit programming events such as Billions (Showtime) and Hamilton (Disney+).
- Backlash to Netflix’s Cuties, which doubled the service’s Churn Rate from August to September.
This increased Churn was balanced out by a 17% increase in Q3 Sign-ups (total new paid Subscriptions, plus Free Trial starts) versus Q2.
Net: As COVID-19 influences more American households to cut the MVPD cord, they experiment with new services, become more savvy about the category options in general, and increasingly are gaining comfort with assembling their own a la carte portfolio of services.