Showtime, Starz, Paramount+ At Greatest Risk For Churn: UBS Survey

Showtime, Starz and Paramount+ are among the streaming services that could be at greatest risk for subscriber churn as pandemic restrictions ease and people spend less time glued to the big screen, while HBO Max and Netflix may be at least risk, a newly released survey from UBS Evidence Lab indicates.

The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted from April 8 to 26, found 75% of respondents reporting that they subscribe to at least one streaming service. That was up from 71% in a UBS’s survey conducted the previous year, but unchanged from its survey in December 2020 — suggesting that pandemic-driven heavy streaming may be moderating.

Asked about their intent to cancel various services, 39% indicated Showtime, 31% Starz, 24% Paramount+ and 22% ESPN+, per a report on the survey by Insider.

Services that fell in the middle were Peacock (17% intent to churn), Disney+ (16%), Discovery+ (15%) and Hulu (14%).

Netflix and HBO Max drew the lowest levels of intent to churn: 11% and 12%, respectively.

Like Lionsgate’s Starz, Showtime is a stand-alone subscription platform.

In the U.S., ViacomCBS chose not to integrate Showtime into Paramount+, its expanded relaunch of CBS All Access. Reason: Showtime’s content is “edgier” than that of Paramount+, which is geared to a broader audience, CEO Bob Bakish said during a Morgan Stanley conference in March.

That echoed statements released by Showtime indicating that it is “the adult premium-content provider” within ViacomCBS’s broader streaming strategy, and “targets an entirely different consumer” than Paramount+.

Keeping the services separate also allows for somewhat lower per-month pricing on Paramount+: $4.99 with ads, $9.99 without, versus Showtime’s $10.99 standard price. However, Showtime is available at lower prices through Amazon Prime and other deals, including a current promotional offer of a 30-day free trial, followed by $4.99 for three months (above).

Following the Paramount+ launch in March, ViacomCBS dropped a bundle in which new subscribers could get Showtime and CBS All Access through Apple TV for $9.99, but said it plans to offer a bundled price for Showtime and Paramount+ at some point.

According to Antenna analytics data, as of Q4 2020, Showtime’s churn rate was over 10% — second only to Apple TV+’s 15.6%, and far above Netflix’s 2.5% and the major platforms’ average of 6.4%.

In his March comments, Bakish said that Showtime had a “fantastic year” in 2020, with strong financial and subscriber performance in every quarter, and that it was also performing strongly in 2021. “The programming lineup it has is resonating,” he said, specifically citing the success of the Bryan Cranston series "Your Honor."

Showtime also maintained a 4% share of subscribers in 2020, according to Antenna’s data. (Starz maintained a 6% share.)

But that hasn’t stopped industry observers from speculating about whether Showtime can survive as a separate entity, especially now that Netflix, HBO Max and others are hugely upping the ante on content spend. Some maintain that Showtime needs to produce more content to appeal to youngadults, as opposed to more mature viewers.

2 comments about "Showtime, Starz, Paramount+ At Greatest Risk For Churn: UBS Survey".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 30, 2021 at 11:47 a.m.

    Judging by the size of the numbers, I assume that the base for the respectve churn rates is current subscribers of each service. If that's the case, then we need to consider the size of the subs base as well as the percentage that may cancel. For example a service with 20 million subs may have a 30% churn rate---which means that about 6 million may dump it. And a service with 60 million subs may have a seemingly much smaller intended churn rate of only 10%---but that means that it, too,  will loose 6 million subscribers.

  2. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, June 30, 2021 at 3:24 p.m.

    Sorry, but these data are inaccurate and once again indicative of when a trade magazine reports on a research report and does no critical questioning.
    The researchers start with n=2000 people and ask them which streaming services they subscribe to, and if they are going to drop it.
    No mention of time frame for dropping it. When? Like in the next week?  Next month?  Or the next year? No information on that.
    Bob Bakish says that Showtime has maintained their 4% share, corroborating Antenna’s data. That means that only 4% of the 2000 respondents has Showtime and were asked about dropping it.
    That, my friends, is 80 people. And the amount of “error” surrounding the next statistic – the small percentage who said they will drop Showtime, in this sample of 80 people is, well, HUGE.

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