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Streaming Subscription Mega-Growth Appears Over For Now

Chelsea Powers

Even though we are still about a month away from Halloween, streaming companies and investors are already being spooked by recent trends in net subscription growth. While international markets appear to be of less concern, domestically, things aren’t looking too great.

In general, the industry has been seeing an increasing trend of viewers that watch, cancel, and go. In the industry, it’s called “churn.” And with viewers wanting to keep their streaming budgets under control, it’s become a popular strategy.

From a survey last month, Variety discovered that 62% of viewers do not plan on adding a new subscription in the near future, while 1 in 3 said they were either planning on canceling a subscription or that they weren’t sure yet. That suggests a subscriber plateau might be a streamer’s best-case scenario for the next few months.


If you don’t want to digest all the numbers at once from the source, don’t worry, the table below shows a quick summary of the net changes.

SVOD Q1 2022 New Subscriptions (million) Q2 2022 New Subscriptions (million) Net Change (million)
Disney+ 44.4 44.5 +0.1
Hulu 41.4 42.2 +0.8
Netflix 74.6 73.3 -1.3
Paramount+ 20.5 22.5 +2
Peacock 13 13 0
HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery+ 53.3 53 -0.3

Let’s break it down a bit.

Corporate siblings Disney+ and Hulu are trending upwards together, with Hulu having the highest net subscriber gain, but still behind Disney+ in terms of total subscriptions. Note that the numbers for Disney+ and Hulu are probably different since they most likely don’t account for the overlap that occurs due to the Disney Bundle. Numbers rarely lie, however. It is interesting that since the launch of the Disney Bundle that Hulu sees a steady uptick of subscriptions that is bringing its total closer and closer to that of Disney+.

The streaming leader Netflix is still ahead in terms of total subscribers. However, if a net loss of over 100,000 subscribers continues each quarter, they might not be ahead much longer.

Paramount+ is seeing a net positive increase in subscriptions, and if this trend continues, the service might reach, if not surpass, the company’s 2024 goal to reach 100 million subscribers. Industry analysts also believe Paramount+ has a strong trajectory.

Despite its recent library expansion, Peacock is the only service that had negligible change in their net subscription from Q1 to Q2.

While overall the Warner Bros.-Discovery (WBD) combo (HBO Max and discovery+) is seeing more subscribers internationally, they are seeing the opposite stateside. Around 300,000 fewer domestic subscribers were reported for the combo’s Q2, most likely due to consumer backlash over recent changes.

While consumers may not care much about a slowdown in subscribers, it screams panic for streaming companies. Positive growth is always great, but not when you’re a major player in the streaming game and you’re growing by thousands instead of millions. So, what does this mean for the future of the streaming industry?

New bundles and company acquisitions seem to be a reality for the near future. We’ll see more tiers of service appearing on each platform. But the good old days of mega-growth appear to be over for now.

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