New Study Tracks Churn Revenue Losses


HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ lost a combined $80.2 million in April 2021 due to subscriber churn, according to Wurl Analytics.

Churn Analysis Report 2021 is the first study from Wurl Analytics, a division of streaming-TV tech outfit Wurl. Of the four SVODs studied in the data, HBO Max had the highest lost revenues in April, $33.1 million, due to subscribers canceling, followed by Netflix with $17.3 million, Hulu at $15.1 million and Disney+ at $14.7 million.

Wurl also notes that churn is not just about a loss of revenues—costs are also incurred to acquire new subscribers and keep them engaged. In the U.S., Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max collectively spent nearly $50 million in media, but nearly $20 million is attributable to reducing churn.

Monthly churn rates for Disney+, HBO Max and ViacomCBS range from 2 percent to 7 percent, Wurl Analytics found. Between 2021 and 2024, Disney+ will churn 333.1 million subscribers, Wurl Analytics predicts. In order to reach its stated growth target of between 230 million and 260 million global subscribers by the end of 2024, it will need to attract 472.5 million new subscribers. Similarly, for HBO Max to hit 150 million subs, it needs to add 302.6 million customers. ViacomCBS will need 210.4 million new customers to its services to reach 150 million subscribers by 2025.

“Churn is not a new problem in the video business, of course, but with the advent of streaming services, subscriber churn has escalated and accelerated due to the fact that it is much easier to cancel a streaming subscription than it is to cancel a conventional cable subscription,” said Sean Doherty Jr., head of Wurl Analytics. “With this report, we are providing a snapshot of the actual financial impact churn is having on streamers. It is the first of several reports Wurl Analytics will publish each year aimed at providing the streaming-TV business with valuable data insights to help inform better business and marketing decisions.”