Parrot Analytics: the four phases of SVOD subscription growth

The recent study Does Original Content Help Streaming Services Attract More Subscribers? by Harvard researchers validates a thesis that SVOD players seem to know already: original content drives subscription growth.

By Alejandro J. Rojas, Parrot Analytics, Regional Director

Using recent developments, as context, and leveraging Parrot Analytics’ exclusive dataset of audience behavior, I here present, for discussion, the four phases of SVOD subscription growth.

First, the “Launch”: a plausible strategy to successfully launch and SVOD platform is to put all bets into a content property with vibrant and passionate fan base. As an example, CBS All Access recently announced its international expansion after demand for Star Trek Discovery skyrocketed on its premiere. Platforms can take off with a single show.

Second, “Grow”: after a launch, SVOD’s original content must to continuously grow its demand. This growth in demand is observed in the case of Hulu, suggesting that as the average demand for all originals grow, the subscriptions follow.

Third, “Attract and Retain”: once an SVOD service achieves a certain reach, the task of attracting and retaining subscribers becomes that of managing a portfolio of original content assets. In that portfolio, SVOD has to optimize investments on three types of shows: churn reducers, niche attractors and subscription drivers. Those shows that fall outside these categories are likely candidates for cancellations. Applying this portfolio framework to Amazon’s original content serves as an example to illustrate this phase on Graph.

Four, “Scale to Global Domination”: after gaining massive scale, the path to global domination, as followed by Netflix, includes: a) increasing the frequency of release of shows that serves specific audiences; b) transforming local existing content into global hits through repackaging and marketing like they did with La Casa de Papel also known as Money Heist; commissioning originals with true global appeal like they did with German series Dark.

This four-phase growth model is constructed purely based on empirical evidence from successful SVOD services. Will Disney-Fox, the elephant in the room, follow it when launching its upcoming streaming offering?