AT&T’s HBO Max, which got off to a sputtering start, drew the largest share of new streaming subscribers in the fourth quarter, according to Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand Service.
Kantar estimates that the number of SVOD subscriptions reached 233 million by the end of December, with the average home having 3.5 streaming video subscriptions, up from 3.1 at the start of 2020.
During the fourth quarter, HBO Max attracted 19.2% of new subscribers, up from 13.4% in the third quarter. Kantar said HBO Max got a boost from its parent company’s decision to release the full slate of Warner Brothers films simultaneously in movie theaters and on HBO Max.
Dominic Sunnebo, senior VP at Kantar, Worldpanel Division, said that 41% of new HBO Max subscribers in Q4 cited specific content as their key motivator for signing up, an increase from 32% the prior quarter. One in five of those new subscribers craving content cited Wonder Women 1984 as a factor in their choice.
In the fourth quarter, Amazon Prime Video attracted 18.2% of new subscribers, up from 17.75% in Q3; Hulu got 13.7%, up from 13.5%; Disney Plus drew 13%, up from 12.7; Netflix got 7.4%, down from 9.8% and Apple TV Plus had a 5.9% share, down from 6.7%.
“After flat subscriber growth in Q3 2020, Netflix has again seen share of new subscribers fall in the latest quarter, accounting for 7.4% of new subscribers, less than half the share achieved in Q1 2020,” Kantar’s Sunnebo said.
“Whilst Netflix subscribers remain highly engaged, the content slate and current proposition does not appear strong enough to drive continued subscriber growth in the presence of multiple highly competitive service launches,” he said. “We are also seeing challenges coming from two other sources; the price rise in Q4 has driven an increase in planned cancellation, with this rise cited as the key reason and the continued blowback from the Cuties release. Whilst overall retention remains solid, in Q4 almost 1 in 10 cancellations was directly as a result from fallout from the Cuties release, or broader disagreement with Netflix’s political leanings. These reasons impact both potential acquisition opportunities as well as retention of existing subscribers.”
For the full year, Disney Plus attracted 18.3% of new SVOD subscribers, followed by Prime Video with 17%, Hulu with 13.2%, HBO Max with 12%, Netflix with 12.5% and Apple TV Plus with 6.2%.
In terms of individual shows, Season 2 of Disney Plus' The Mandalorian was the top-rated title during the fourth quarter. It was followed by The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit.
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