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When the Netflix Binge is Over

Last week, our CE Transact US data caught the decline in Netflix subscribers, with the company’s report of the first decline in ten years causing the stock to lose more than a third of its value.  As the streaming platform cuts content and begins a plan to become more aggressive about cracking down on shared accounts, will the declines continue?  In today’s Insight Flash, we review the tools provided in the CE Transact dataset for tracking Netflix usage, including how to understand the impacts of reduced account sharing.

While CE Transact did catch a decline in subscribers for Netflix, other streaming services appear to be faring better.  The data also picked up on HBO’s reported streaming subscriber gain, as well as an increase in Hulu paid subscribers.  A decline in users paying for Amazon Prime Video content in the last month of the quarter showed a seasonal Q1 decline on par with last year’s drop.  The number of paid users will be a key metric to watch in the months ahead, especially for Netflix in order to understand whether the service will see further declines or whether its plan to crack down on account sharing will open up a new pool of paid users from those who used login under others’ accounts.  

End of Period Paid Users in Panel

Note:  Some Hulu subscriptions included in Disney bundle not included 

Although collecting separate payments from formerly shared accounts is one way to grow subscribers, this may be a one-time phenomenon that would be hard for Netflix to sustain.  CE Transact’s New Customer data provides a helpful tool for understanding whether Netflix’s subscriber base is benefitting from a one-time boost or longer-term repeat shopper retention.  Indeed, among tracked services, Netflix saw the smallest percentage of new customers last quarter at 8.2%.  This is slightly below 8.6% for Disney+ and 9.3% for Hulu, and far below 15.8% new users paying for Amazon Prime Video content and 20.4% new users subscribing to HBO streaming. 

New User %

Note:  Some Disney bundle subscribers may be included in only one of Disney+ or Hulu depending on plan

One other metric worth tracking is the number of 18-24 year olds subscribing to Netflix.  In the past year, the percentage of Netflix subscribers aged 18-24 was only about half the percentage of 18-24 year olds in our panel.  However, the percentage of Video Streaming subscribers in that age group was about 10% higher.  This likely indicates what intuition would suggest – that 18-24 year olds are the most likely age group to share Netflix accounts with their parents or with each other.  Using CE Transact to understand how many new Netflix subscriptions in the next few months come from this demographic will be key to understanding whether new subscribers are a one-time increase due to changes in policy or a more sustainable trend.

Demographics

Note: Percent of shoppers in age group indexed to percent of overall panel in age group; 364 days ended 4/17/22