Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, August 15th, 2022
The struggle to reduce churn at SVODs is real.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, August 15th, 2022.
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THE STRUGGLE SUBSCRIBER CHURN AT SVODS IS REAL
There is a good piece in today's Wall Street Journal that uses Antenna Data research to track subscriber churn among the top subscription video services. And as you probably have guessed, the numbers are a bit grim:
Some 19% of subscribers to premium services—a group that includes Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV+, HBO Max and Disney+, among others—canceled three or more subscriptions in the two years up to June, according to new data from subscriber-measurement firm Antenna. That is up from 6% in the two-year stretch ended in June 2020.
The average rate of monthly customer defections among premium services in the U.S. was 5.46% in July, up from 4.46% a year ago and 4.05% in July 2020, according to Antenna.
The percentage of Netflix subscribers who signed up in January and were still subscribers six months later fell to 55% in 2022, compared with 62% in the same period of 2021 and 71% in 2020, Antenna found. Loyalty of longtime customers has waned, too: People who have had Netflix subscriptions for two to four years accounted for 18% of cancellations in the second quarter, up from 13% two years ago.
This type of churn is to be expected in a mature market. Because at this point, the people subscribing are casual viewers and much more difficult to retain.
That is why we are going to see more deals like the one announced today between Walmart and Paramount+. Combining complimentary services is a good, low-cost way to make both services stickier:
Walmart+ will remain $98 a year or $12.95 a month and include the Paramount+ Essential Plan subscription with an added $59 value.
Aside from the help with churn, this Walmart+ deal will be a massive boost to the subscriber numbers of Paramount+. It's not clear just how many subscribers Walmart+ currently has because the company has not publicly broken out the figures. Estimates have put the number of Walmart+ members between 11.5 million (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) and 32 million (Deutsche Bank). But given that Paramount+ had 43.3 million subscribers at the end of the 2022 second quarter, adding even another 11 million subscribers would have a huge impact.
Based on similar deals, it's likely Walmart is directly subsidizing the subscriptions at a discounted rate, which in the past has been often pegged at around the average average revenue per user (ARPU) a streamer is currently receiving from subscribers.
It's going to be interesting to see whether Paramount Global breaks these discounted subscribers out in its overall subscriber numbers moving forward.
From the Walmart side, I was told by a source at the company the deal includes retail marketing support for Paramount+ in Walmart stores and other channels. And Walmart is receiving a modest amount of ad inventory in a similar fashion to Paramount Global's deal with platforms such as Roku and Amazon.
SPEAKING OF CHURN...
Annual plans help a great deal with constant churn, although streamers do take a bit of a hit with their ARPU.
But as Curiosity Stream Chief Strategy Officer Devin Emery was sharing earlier today, it's "possible for companies to increase "U" past where "AR" declines to find where 'annual price > monthly price X actual subbed months'. Complex but valuable to figure out."
NEXSTAR BUYS 75% OF THE CW
Nexstar Media Group has agreed to acquire 75% of the CW Network, leaving current owners Paramount Global and Warner Bros Discovery with 12.5% each. Paramount and WBD will continue creating original scripted material for the network.
There has been a lot of snarky comments on social media today about the announcement, especially concerning this demographic information about The CW audience that came from Nexstar President and COO Tom Carter:
The demographic focus of the CW will also change over time, Carter said. Historically, shows like Riverdale, All American, Arrow and Supernatural have focused on viewers in their teens through their 30s. The reality, though, is that the average CW viewer is 58 years old, and Carter said that schism explains why the CW is the lowest-rated broadcast network.
I'm frankly confused by this, given that 58 is a pretty typical demo for broadcast television network viewers in 2022. It's especially odd given that even the slightest investigation of the network's audience would show it's weighted heavily towards older women. This demographic mismatch is a primary reason why The CW shows were so popular when they moved to Netflix under a long-running output deal that ended last year. Many of the younger fans of shows such as the DC Universe series and dramas like Riverdale didn't watch the programs on linear television. Which made The CW to Netflix pipeline an especially profitable one for both sides.
Nexstar executives are remaining somewhat coy about their future plans for The CW, but the comments from today's conference call with investors sounds a lot like a warning that the network's reliance on original scripted programming is coming to an end:
Nexstar President and COO Tom Carter said Paramount and WBD will continue to produce scripted originals for the network, but he said that arrangement would be “primarily” for 2022-23. Beyond that, Nexstar “will have the option to extend the partnership,” but nothing on that score is guaranteed.
He projected “lower unscripted costs,” without elaborating, and said more syndicated shows would likely be added. The CW has recently been programming 13 hours across six nights in prime time. As the Nexstar deal loomed last May, the company told advertisers at its New York City upfront presentation that it was renewing all current shows but not adding any new ones to the mix.
Citing Kagan research, Carter said the CW spends “almost twice” what its broadcast network peers do on programming, a disparity that Nexstar plans to eliminate.
“Over time, we will be taking a different approach to our CW programming strategy and will leverage our experience in spending approximately $2 billion a year on programming, attracting and monetizing viewers, and transitioning NewsNation, our national cable news network, from WGN, while maintaining a strict focus on cash flow,” he said.
Which sounds a lot like Nexstar is envisioning a mix of live news programming, cheap original reality shows and exclusive syndicated programming. An approach which will feel very familiar to older TV viewers who used to watch these CW affiliate stations back in the day when they were locally-owned TV stations airing a mix of syndicated programming and local news.
THIS WEEK ON ALLYOURSCREENS
I would say it's a busy week for television and streaming. But let's be honest, every week is busy. Here's a rundown of the shows I'll be covering this week on AllYourScreens. Titles with a * are ones in which I've received a screener. So those reviews will post before or the day of the premiere (depending on the embargo). Titles I didn't receive a screener for will usually be reviewed with 24-48 hours. As always, I'll include links to the reviews in this newsletter.
MONDAY, AUGUST 15TH, 2022:
Better Call Saul Series Finale (AMC)
*Deepa & Anoop Series Premiere (Netflix)
HLN Investigates: Sex Rings Secrets: Exposing Jeffrey Epstein (HLN)
*Legacy: The True Story Of The L.A. Lakers (Hulu)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 16TH, 2022:
Alex Wagner Tonight Series Premiere (MSNBC)
Dark Side Of Comedy Series Premiere (Vice)
*Hotties Series Premiere (Hulu)
*Leonardo Series Premiere (The CW)
Merjen Series Premiere (MHz Choice)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17TH, 2022:
Junior Baking Show (Netflix)
Look Both Ways (Netflix)
On The Count Of Three (Hulu)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18TH, 2022:
*He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (Netflix)
Inmate To Roommate Series Premiere (A&E)
Pulse Series Premiere (BET+)
Selena + Chef Season Premiere (HBO Max)
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law Series Premiere (Disney+)
Tekken: Bloodline (Netflix)
*The Diana Investigations (Discovery+)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 19TH, 2022:
*Bad Sisters Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
*Echoes Series Premiere (Netflix)
*Surfside Girls Series Premiere (Apple TV+)
The Girl In The Mirror (Netflix)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20TH, 2022:
*Dating The Delaneys (Hallmark)
ODDS AND SODS
* Why yes, Disney+ did some editing of the new episodes of the popular animated kids show Bluey before they added them to the streamer.
* The Rehearsal subject Angela addresses religious disputes, says she’s "satisfied with how the cut came out."
* Peacock has signed a deal with Lionsgate for the three-part special event series The Continental. Originally set to premiere on Starz four years ago, it will now premiere on Peacock in 2023.
* Canadian broadcaster CTV's chief news anchor Lisa LaFlamme says she has been forced out of the network. CTV parent Bell Media cites "changing viewer habits."
* Warner Bros Discovery reportedly laid off about 70 people today from the HBO/HBO group, primarily those who had been hired on the HBO Max content side.
TWEET OF THE DAY
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Better Call Saul Series Finale (AMC)
Deepa & Anoop Series Premiere (Netflix)
HLN Investigates: Sex Rings Secrets: Exposing Jeffrey Epstein (HLN)
Legacy: The True Story Of The L.A. Lakers (Hulu)
Love Revolution Series Premiere (Hulu)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.