Subscriber shifts: Analysing 2024 churn trends in streaming
April 11th, 2024, Justin Marshall

Subscriber shifts: Analysing 2024 churn trends in streaming

The streaming landscape is undergoing a significant shift. Subscription fatigue, a changing economic climate, and several other factors appear to be dampening consumer enthusiasm for streaming services.

A recent YouGov survey conducted among over 2,000 UK consumers (aged 16+) reveals a concerning trend for SVOD providers, with a significant number of consumers having cancelled existing subscriptions or contemplating future cancellations.

Unsubscribing rates were high last year – and there’s a looming threat of even more.

Consumers in the UK are reevaluating their SVOD subscriptions. Two key findings emerged from the research:

  • Subscription churns this past year: 31% have cancelled or removed at least one streaming service in the last 12 months.
  • Future cancellations: An even greater portion (39%) of UK consumers report they are likely to cancel at least one service in the next 12 months.

While it’s important to note that not everyone who expresses an intention to cancel will do so, the proportion of people who plan to cancel in the future sits at a concerning 8 points above the figure of cancellations in the past year.

The subscription squeeze is led mainly by low usage and cost concerns

With household budgets tightening amid the rising cost of living, discretionary spending is taking a hit. A separate YouGov survey found that more than a third (36%) of British consumers say streaming subscriptions would be one of the first cutbacks they would make in the face of budget squeezes.

Market saturation and content fragmentation further exacerbate these issues. With the number of SVOD services available today, each vying for attention and subscription fees, consumers are reconsidering which platforms they want and need.

Understanding why viewers are cancelling subscriptions is crucial to SVOD brands seeking to retain customers and avoid churn. The YouGov survey identifies and quantifies the most important factors in the intention to abandon a streaming service:

  • Low usage: One of the top reasons people gave for potentially cancelling a service is that they’re simply not using it enough (40%). This highlights the importance of giving customers at the very least a drip feed of content to keep them loyal to a service.
  • Cost concerns: Financial pressures are a major driver of churn too, with 39% of UK consumers who plan to cancel in the next 12 months saying they’re trying to save money. Furthermore, 33% say their current services are too expensive. From tiered subscription options to bundling subscriptions with other communications providers (think a partnership with a mobile provider), SVODs need to demonstrate value for money.
  • Subscription overload: Feeling overwhelmed with too many services is another key reason for cancellation at 31%, indicating that subscription fatigue is very real in today’s streaming climate.

In addition to understanding what motivates people to cancel a service, SVOD providers also must layer in subscriber demographics. For example, low engagement with a platform is more commonly cited by women who plan to cancel in the next 12 months (45% vs. 40% of all potential cancellers) but is not as important for 16-24-year-olds (28%). Instead, young consumers appear to be more concerned about high costs (41%).

This suggests that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to combatting subscriber churn will likely not be as effective as a tailored strategy for various audience segments.

So, which services will likely feel the pinch?

Some SVOD providers are more vulnerable to potential churn than others, according to the YouGov research. Current users of established players like Netflix (70%) and Amazon Prime Video (67%) show the highest level of stability, with more than two in three people with access to the platforms saying they’re unlikely to cancel.

Conversely, newer entrants such as DAZN seem more susceptible to cancellation, with roughly half of the platform’s users saying they’re likely to cancel (53%). Sentiment towards Apple TV+ appears divided, with equal proportions of users saying they’re likely and unlikely to subscribe (45% each).

Again, there are demographic skews. Men and younger viewers are more likely to cancel SVOD services in general, likely due to subscribing to a higher number of platforms on average compared to older viewers. This reinforces the idea of subscription fatigue setting in amongst specific groups of streaming audiences.

A wake-up call for the SVOD market

The YouGov data shows the UK SVOD market in flux. While the core subscriber base of established players remains relatively stable (Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+), nearly two-fifths of UK consumers are reevaluating their streaming habits. This potential decline is driven by a confluence of factors, including rising cost of living, market saturation, and evolving content consumption patterns.

The “golden era” of subscription growth may be over, and a data-driven, customer-centric approach is paramount for retaining existing subscribers and attracting new audiences.

Get in touch to learn about the streaming landscape in the UK, with specific insights into:

  • Platform usage
  • How they pay for streaming services
  • Subscriber demographics
  • Churn motivations


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 23-26 February 2024 with a nationally representative sample of 2,147 adults in the UK (aged 16+). Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education, region and social grade to be representative of all adults in the UK. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.