TV & Video Week In Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Netflix Ending Free Trials

In the face of COVID-19 related content production delays and forecasts of slower subscriber growth, Netflix, like Disney+ before, is ending free trials and instead looking at other ways to entice would-be subscribers to commit to a subscription. As the SVOD market becomes more crowded and new content scarce, distribution strategies will need to become refined and targeted in order to keep subscribers engaged and minimize churn. As such, Netflix is introducing new ways to attract potential subscribers.  For example, the company launched a portal to watch episodes from its top series for free.

The NPD Take:

  • Despite having a low rate of consumers on free trial, the changing content landscape has made Netflix focus other customer acquisition tools that mitigate the binge-view-and-cancel plague.
  • Although other services, such as AppleTV+, have relied heavily on free trial promotions to build their base, they too may need to revisit how they utilize different customer acquisition tactics.

No Go for Glow

The Netflix series Glow was slated to film a fourth and final season. Filming actually started before the March lockdowns. But Netflix now says the coronavirus “makes shooting this physically intimate show with its large ensemble cast especially challenging.” This delay meant the show would not be able to air until 2022 and safety protocols would increase the cost of filming. It seems Netflix is worried that not enough viewers would remain committed to support investing in another season.

 The NPD Take:

  • The pandemic strikes again. With production restriction increasing cost, Netflix is likely concerned that a large enough audience won’t be there in two years when the final season would air.
  • Even at a time where content is in such high demand, the higher cost of filming during COVID-19 is impacting production which further challenges content inventory issues for the industry. 

TiVo+ Expands

It’s been about a year since TiVo launched its free streaming service TiVo+, that integrates programming from providers such as Tubi and PlutoTV. According to the company, in the six-month period between March and September 2020, TiVo+ saw unique viewership increase 90 percent and viewer engagement increase 165 percent. Given this success, the service has integrated another 72 channels from Pluto TV.

The NPD Take:

  • How much time does traditional basic cable TV have left? The list of services expanding their free streaming offerings continues to grow by the day, threatening the need for old school basic cable TV.
  • No exclusivity. While TiVo delivers best in class search and discovery, the content is the similar to what you’ll find on a dozen other services such as The Roku Channel, Tubi, and Xumo. More differentiation will be needed to keep audiences engaged.
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