why viewers choose to ‘cycle’, not cancel, subscriptions

why viewers choose to ‘cycle’, not cancel, subscriptions

The opponent in the group was Ms Robertson, a parent who wants to cut out streaming services completely as a way to force the teenagers in her household to spend their free time away from any kind of screen.

Sharing, “cycling”

PR manager Nermin Bajric.

Nermin Bajric is an example of a typical viewer who both shares subscriptions to streaming services with others and “cycles” through streamers for specific shows.

“Streaming services are a staple, although I divide my investments into ‘sharing’ and ‘cycling’. Like most people, I share accounts for the popular services used by family and close friends – [like] Netflix and Stan – and browse the rest, said Bajric (31).

“For example, I’ll subscribe to Amazon Prime for a month and take over some TV shows I’ve been watching, then deactivate to move to Apple TV+ and do the same. This has helped reduce my overall spending – or at least made it much easier to redirect funds towards mortgages and rising living costs.

“A few years back I subscribed to four or five services, but now I’m down to one a month that I pay for, and the rest are covered by others. I just try to divide and conquer with family and friends as much as possible.”

The manager, who works at PR firm Watterson and lives with his partner in Sydney, said his subscription to Kayo Sports was an “unavoidable” expense “mainly for Formula One racing”.

“It has hurt the budget allowance – it is now $27.50 per month. But even with Kayo and the like, and this also applies to Optus Sport and Paramount+, as soon as a sports season is over we get rid of them, he said.

Another viewer, mortgage broker Tim Reid, said he and his wife used shared streaming services with friends and family — Netflix, Stan, Binge, BritBox, Amazon Prime and Disney+ — and cycled through the ones they subscribed to based on the shows on offer.

“We share them with friends, family. We only pay for three and others pay for the other services,” said the Sydney-based 32-year-old. “Of the three we pay for, they go on and off depending on what’s released. We all use the same. Even though we are a young couple with no kids, Disney+ is getting a good run.”

He said he would definitely subscribe to a streaming service to watch a sixth season of the Australian comedy Rakestarring Richard Roxburgh, and he also expressed interest in the upcoming film Poker Facestarring Russell Crowe, which airs on Nine-owned Stan (Nine is the publisher of Australian Financial Review).

The prioritization of spending on streaming services was highlighted in an annual survey of 2,000 consumers by Deloitte. Respondents told Deloitte they would cut spending on dining out, alcohol and tobacco and even groceries before canceling digital subscriptions to save money.

They also reported spending an average of $62 a month on digital subscriptions in 2022, up from $55 a month last year. Respondents to that survey reported that the average number of digital subscriptions per household had increased to 3.1 this year, up from 2.3 last year.

Unused services cut

Tax advisor Matt Tiltman.

Matt Tiltman and his family also use a variety of streaming services that are a mix of direct subscriptions and shared.

“We have Netflix, Disney+, Kayo, Binge, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime. I did a free trial of Paramount+ in October but there was nothing there I wanted to see apart from this one concert so I’ve canceled it,” said the 43-year-old Sydney-based tax consultant.

“We use Netflix and Disney+ the most, while Binge and Kayo share with my business partner. I use Amazon Prime for delivery, so the TV part of it is just a bonus. Apple TV+ is another that is part of a bundle with iCloud, Apple Music and Apple Arcade. I don’t watch Apple TV+ or Prime much, so if both were just stand-alone services, I probably wouldn’t subscribe to them.”

Tiltman said he had cut back on some subscriptions such as BritBox, and the decision to cut more services would be based on how often the services were used.

“We want to get value out of them and the fact that it can be shut down easily and there are no long-term contracts makes that easy,” he said. “We have cut back. We briefly had BritBox for a particular show. Stan we have cut. People like Kayo are kind of evergreen, and so is Binge with their HBO shows.”

Almost two-thirds of households have access to a video-on-demand subscription service as of the September quarter, according to market research firm Kantar.

Separate research by market research firm Telsyte estimated this translated to Australians having more than 23 million paid and unpaid streaming subscriptions as of June this year.

Netflix is ​​the market leader in terms of subscriptions, with around 6.3 million subscribers, or more than a quarter of total streaming subscriptions in the country, followed by Amazon Prime (4.1 million subscribers), Disney+ (3 million), Stan (2, 5 million). ) and Kayo Sports and Binge (both for approx. NOK 1.3 million).

Accountant Jarrad Basnec.

Accountant Jarrad Basnec (27), who lives with two housemates in Adelaide, said he used Netflix, Amazon Prime, Binge, Disney+ and Stan.

“I have a host of them, some personal and some shared with family, and we recently ditched Apple TV+, partly because it was an expense I didn’t need, and partly also because [I] Ted Lasso finished, and there wasn’t much else I wanted to see, he said.

Basnec, who works at communications company Society, said he would be more likely to cut than add new services.

“I’m trying to save on expenses over time, so I wouldn’t add new services. If anything, I would deduct a favor – maybe Kayo over the summer because football is over. But some of the services are cheap. Amazon is only $8, so I’d rather drop a coffee or something than cancel it, for example.”

His views on the lack of new content on Apple TV+, which recently raised prices from $7.99 a month to $9.99 a month, are echoed in market research provided by Kantar which found that users of the service were most likely to cancel their subscription in last months of the year.

The survey, based on surveying a panel of 10,000 Australians every quarter, found more than 20 per cent of Apple TV+ users planned to cancel, compared with 19 per cent of Paramount+ users, 12 per cent of Binge subscribers, 11 per cent of Stan users and 6 percent of Netflix users.

The most common reasons for Apple TV+ users were a desire to save money (38 percent) and not to use the subscription regularly (26 percent). This focus on costs is at odds with the rationale for cancellation by viewers Australian Financial Reviewsuggesting that the ideas are connected – a service that is not used regularly is seen as too expensive, while a service that is used all the time offers good value for money.

Kantar also found that the most cited reasons for canceling Binge, Stan and Netflix were a desire to save money and not using the subscription regularly enough.

In contrast, Paramount+ users were most likely to cancel because they were not using their subscription regularly enough and they had signed up to watch a specific show.

The same Kantar survey also estimated that Australians had canceled more than one million streaming subscriptions in the September quarter, while signing up to more than 500,000 new subscriptions for a net loss of around 515,000 subscriptions. Kantar found that younger viewers were the most likely to cancel a streaming service.

Melbourne-based Thomas Henderson, 22, said he has started “cycling” through streaming services to limit his monthly expenses.

“What I decided to do is I canceled all my streaming services and now I pay for the ones I want and cancel right away so I have no ongoing expenses,” he said.

“The ones I usually flow in and out of are Netflix, Stan and Paramount+. The next one I’m signing up for is Paramount+ because I’m eager to see the Uber show Super pumped.”

Henderson, who works at a nonprofit and lives with housemates, said despite his focus on cutting expenses, he wasn’t interested in Netflix’s new cheaper ad-supported service.

“I would still prefer to be without advertising. I don’t think the cost difference between ad and ad-free is enough to sit there and watch ads,” he said.

“A want, not a need”

For Mrs Robertson and her family, the decision to let her daughters pay for Netflix is ​​a learning moment. “It is a desire, not a need. If they’re willing to pay, it’s a good life lesson, she said.

“My view is that you don’t need so many services, especially living on a farm. There are many activities: riding a motorbike, kicking a leg, walking the dog – help your parents.”

However, it seems daughter Annabelle is clear about the value of her time. Asked by her mother if she would switch to the cheaper ad-supported Netflix to save money, Annabelle’s response was, “Absolutely not.”

Robertson said she would be prepared to subscribe to a streaming service if there was a particularly interesting series on offer, and nominate Yellowstonewhich appears on Stan, as a program worth watching.

“If it was a really hard-hitting series we’d potentially sign up again, but we’re both really busy so we don’t get a lot of time to watch TV,” she said.

The lack of streaming options also means that the family will now sometimes watch movies together.

“I like the idea of ​​sitting down and watching a movie together, as opposed to everyone in their bedroom watching different shows – and [when] we do, we use Annabelle’s subscription.”

Edmund Tadros owns shares in Nine and News Corp (part owner of Foxtel)

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