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Subscriber ‘guilt’ set to test post-pandemic OTT growth

Streaming services set for post-pandemic battle for subscribers during global recession

A new report from subscriber intelligence specialist Singula Decisions suggests that consumers are “often left feeling ‘powerless’ and ‘guilty’ over costs associated with over-the-top (OTT) TV subscription services”, which in turn can lead to what it terms “brand discontent and disconnection”. 

The findings point to a looming power struggle between the big streamers – Amazon, Disney Plus, and Netflix – as they battle for subscribers in what is forecast to be a global recession. Indeed, the lockdown period has already changed consumer viewing and spending habits, with respondents to the report admitting guilt and worry with regard to the costs associated with maintaining ‘luxury’ services. The report warns of a “saturation slump” whereby subscribers no longer get the same pleasure from the service.

Jennifer Whittaker, author of the report and director of QualiProjects, explained, “It’s important to consider the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, where subscribers began seeing OTT TV as a necessity rather than a luxury, as subscriptions were fundamental to experiencing positive feelings in the midst of negativity and uncertainty,” she said.

“How brands behave moving forward will determine whether or not these new attributes stay, and the extent to which the OTT subscription monthly bill will be considered in the same class as the electricity bill. Brands must tune in to what subscribers truly want – financial transparency, better customer experience, more freedom and choice – if they are to support this change in the long-term.”

Bhavesh Vaghela, CEO of Singula Decisions, added, “OTT brands are missing a trick when it comes to building a loyal and passionate fan base at the moment the relationship is ripe with opportunities to grow services and protect revenues. After sign-up, the real challenge of building long-term relationships with customers begins, but brands are often too focused on monetary transactions. There are big opportunities at many key moments in the customer journey for them to demonstrate positive values – an ability to listen, empathise and act – and become more relatable in the eyes of customers.”