Bad news for Apple TV+ — customer churn is very real and isn't going anywhere

Tim Cook on stage presenting Apple TV+
Tim Cook on stage presenting Apple TV+ (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new report highlights the churn that services like Apple TV+ have to deal with.
  • The customer churn rate in the United States is around 37%.
  • A new survey says that churn is unlikely to reduce given the age groups responsible for it.

As streaming services fight to keep their customers on their books, churn is a big problem that they're all working to get to the bottom of. But according to a new report, customer churn isn't going anywhere any time soon and streamers might just have to come to terms with it.

Deloitte's 2022 Digital Media Trends survey reports that the churn rate for streaming services in the United States has remained around 37%, while countries like the UK sit at around 30%. And while this is probably bad news for the likes of Apple TV+, Netflix, and Disney+, it's notable that there appears to be a link between churn and customers' ages.

THR has the details on why more than half of Millennial and Gen Z responders to the survey have chopped and changed streamers in the last six months. THR spoke with "Jana Arbanas, vice-chair of Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader."

"I think there is two driving factors behind it," Arbanas says. "[First] they are comfortable with it, they are digital natives. Signing up for and accessing something and then canceling and reupping it is not daunting to them in the way that it is to some generations that are not digitally native. I can certainly think of my mom, who would have a hard time navigating that, whereas my son is happy to do that, and manage his portfolio in a way that he can get the content he wants. The second part of that is cost, they are more cost-conscious in that generation."

The issue of churn is something streamers will need to either get to grips with, or become comfortable with. People are increasingly happy to watch a show and then cancel their subscription until a new show, or another season of an existing one, catches their eye. The days of people paying for a subscription all year round but only watching content for a couple of months are now gone, it seems.

On what streamers can do to change things, Arbanas suggested that "content is what drives people to a platform, it is cost that makes them leave." To that end, an ad-supported model may be of benefit — something that is already happening. Disney+ recently confirmed a cheaper ad-supported version if its service is in the works.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.