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Burnishing the back catalogue Retention in an inflationary era

Report by Ben Woods
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20,000 foot view:  With inflation squeezing commissioning budgets, streaming-TV services are battling to demonstrate value to consumers who risk churning under pressure from the cost-of-living crisis. The big spend on new shows to grow playbook is not only unsustainable, but also out-of-step with the consumer appetite for classic content. To retain subscribers sustainably in an inflationary era, streaming TV services need cost-effective engagement and can do so by bringing back catalogue to the fore. Through incorporating social tools, focusing on fandom, and embracing lean-back consumption behaviours driven by free ad-supported streaming TV channels (FAST), streaming TV can minimise churn and usher in a new era of sustainability. This means commissioning fewer new shows and sweating existing IP across audio, games, and live services.  

Key insights 

           of US consumers watched something they are already a fan of, or re-watched shows when consuming video as a standalone, focused activity in        2022        put on something new or watched an undiscovered back catalogue show when consuming video as a standalone, focused activity
  • FAST channels can use back catalogue to create lean-back streaming TV experiences that offer consumers relief from the tyranny of choice
  • Personal recommendations remain the dominant route for discovering shows, despite streaming TV’s investment in algorithmic recommendations
  •        of consumers discovered new TV shows through personal recommendations in        2022
  • Streaming TV services can use social tools to make personal recommendations part of the user experience, bolstering back-catalogue engagement 
  • Watch parties can make entertainment events out of back-catalogue shows if they focus on fandom communities
  • Video subscribers over-indexed at        when it came to listening to podcasts every month in        2022, compared to the consumer average of       
  • Podcasts can extend back-catalogue engagement through utilising flagship IP
  • Consumer demand for new titles is strong, but video services that better showcase back catalogue can unlock value from older shows that speak to personal preferences

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Disney+, The Godfather, ITV, ITVX, Netflix, Pluto TV, Spotify, Stranger Things, TikTok, Zoolander 

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