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Streaming Users Support Established Giants, Try Out Newbies

Fern Siegel

With stay-at-home orders our new reality, streaming networks have skyrocketed in usage. In fact, Morning Consult reports that 21 percent of adults overall have subscribed to a streaming service since March.

But of the 5 percent of adults who subscribed to ESPN+, Quibi, Apple TV+, CBS All Access and Sundance Now and Showtime Now — 59 percent are on a free trial.

What does that mean in practical terms?

A new Morning Consult report from mid-April says consumers avail themselves of free trial periods for smaller, less-established platforms. But it will take time and data to discover if that trend translates into regular-paying viewers.

Conversely, seven in 10 new subscribers pay to watch Netflix (77 percent), Amazon Prime Video (76 percent), Disney+ (72 percent) and Hulu (69 percent). But there is a sizable dip to 52 percent for less-known streamers, such as Quibi, Apple TV+, CBS All Access and Sundance Now.

Though attrition is inevitable, one saving grace for the new platforms is cost.

Brad Gastwirth, chief technology strategist with financial services firm Wedbush Securities, doesn’t anticipate big cancellations when social distancing is over, given the reasonable price points of most services. Quibi and Apple TV+, for example, are $5/month.