Streaming television may have changed the way Canadians watch their favorite series, but rising prices have slowed its growth.
Over the past year, almost all platforms offering streaming video have increased subscription costs.
This increase is reflected in different ways. Like some companies, Apple TV Plus has simply increased the price of the monthly subscription.
According to a study by Convergence Research Group, an organization in Victoria, the subscription price of the 10 most popular platforms increased by an average of 12% per year in 2022 and 2023.
Nothing indicates a turnaround in the situation in 2024, according to experts.
Others like Crave or Disney Plus have taken a different route. They offer packages containing commercial breaks at a lower cost in hopes of attracting a more thrifty customer base.
Carmi Levy, a technology expert, says this new reality demonstrates that streaming content has lost its luster. Several subscribers complain that their bill increasingly resembles that of their former cable broadcaster.
“Wearyness about rising prices above the already high rate of inflation is starting to catch up with the initial fever,” says Mr. Levy. Reality begins to prevail. »
Experts predict that Canadians will increasingly consider subscribing to the least expensive packages, even if it means enduring commercial breaks. Free services like Pluto TV and Tubi could gain greater market share.
Customers have an increasingly negative perception of platforms, according to data from a German firm, Statista.
In a global survey conducted in mid-2022, Statista surveyed consumers to find out why they unsubscribed from their streaming video service. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were paying for too many services, while one in four felt the subscription cost was too high.
An offer at half mast
Wanting to reduce their expenses, several companies preferred to eliminate several less popular series or films on their platform. They can save money by avoiding paying royalties on works less viewed by customers.
For example, Disney Plus has erased certain failures like the series Willow Or The Mighty Ducks: a new power play. Paramount Plus has removed the musical series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies.
Companies also try to obtain exclusivities. In Canada, some have shaken up their programming in order to obtain exclusive rights to already popular series in order to attract customers from their competitors.
The CBC notably withdrew the rights to the series Schitt’s Creek And Kim’s Convenience to Netflix and Prime Video to present them only on its own CBC Gem service, the equivalent of tout.tv.
Paramount Plus launched an ad campaign to announce that it had exclusive rights to “Yellowstone” and “South Park” after snatching them from competitors. The brokerage also ended a partnership with Crave for Showtimes broadcasts.
Long live advertising!
With the exception of Apple TV Plus, the largest platforms rely on an old business model: selling time to advertisers.
The attitude toward commercial breaks, long considered old-fashioned, has become friendlier over the past two years.
Former Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was so irritated by the very idea of advertising that he swore to investors that it would never be part of his company. He changed his mind at the end of 2022 when Netflix launched a cheaper package.
It only took a few months for Disney Plus or Crave to follow suit. Prime Video and Paramount Plus intend to imitate them in early 2024.
“People always think in terms of their portfolio,” says Brahm Eiley, president of the Convergence Research Group. It seems logical to me that people are willing to endure advertisements if they allow them to see their series at a cost of 40% to 50% less. »
He points out that commercial breaks are much shorter on the platforms than on conventional television. The former broadcast less than 10 minutes of advertisements while the latter present around 20 minutes.
But for how much longer?