As COVID-19 forces more and more countries into isolation, social distancing and challenging economic conditions, we have observed a significant change in the number of consumers subscribing to digital media services. Nobody knows how permanent these changes will be, but we can take these insights and use them to help our clients in this time of upheaval.
MPP Global has conducted a high-level analysis of subscriber data from the enterprise media sector, including Publishers, Broadcast OTT and Sports OTT spread across North America, Europe and Japan.
The analysis confirms that the overall movement in subscriber numbers, factoring in new acquisitions and churn for the period 30 March 2020 to 6 April 2020, has increased by 4.8% when compared to 4% during the same period the week before and 1% for the week before that. This is a 960% rate of change in subscriber growth comparing the week ending 6 April 2020 and week ending 16 March 2020.
Further analysis of the anonymized data presented vastly different results for Sports OTT when compared to the Broadcast OTT and Publishing verticals. Whilst Publishing represents the highest increase in subscribers at 11.9% net growth between 9 March and 6 April 2020, the Sports vertical has been negatively impacted with a net subscriber loss of 3.4% for the same period. Live Sports was not suspended until mid-way through March and we expect the trend to continue with a more distinct decline in April. Interestingly, although the Broadcast OTT vertical grew significantly between 23 March and 6 April 2020, it experienced an initial negative growth of 0.9% for the period 9-23 March 2020.
The analysis also demonstrated that North American media companies have increased their subscriber numbers the most with a 16.9% growth rate for the 4-week period 9 March to 6 April 2020, whilst Japan has demonstrated the lowest growth rate at 1.2% for the same period. Early assessments suggest that this could be primarily down to the variation in digital subscriber adoption across the 3 regions.
The data tells us that although a shift in our client’s subscriber numbers began during the early stages of March, the real impact came in to full effect during the middle of March with a hike in new subscribers as countries around the world went into lock-down.
Analysis of subscription orders and revenues generated from the increased subscriber volumes over the 2 weekly periods, 16-23 and 23-30 March 2020, show that media companies are offering their consumers substantial price reductions which is represented by an increase from 58% to 70% in the number of free first period offers versus paid subscriptions. This would typically be in the region of 54% on average.
There will be winners and losers: Our highly experienced team are watching these emerging trends in the data closely. As this unprecedented situation plays out, we will be sure to post emerging insights regularly to this blog and stay close to our clients as we help them develop specific tactics to minimize downside, optimize opportunities and prepare for the future.
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