Research: SVoD subs increasingly app-hopping

August 24, 2023

Research from Aluma Insights finds one-sixth of adults that subscribe to subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services regularly ‘hop’ between these apps, signing up for a service for a limited time—usually less than three months—then cancelling once a specific end is met (e.g., watching one show, movie or a season of shows then cancelling).

In 2017, only 7 % of US adult SVoD users qualified as steadfast app hoppers,” said Michael Greeson, founder and principal analyst at Aluma. “That rate has more than doubled in the last six years and is certain to increase given the current milieu.”

With large SVoD providers at or nearing domestic saturation; investors pressuring companies to balance their books; actors and writers on strike; and retail fees increasing at rates above inflation, Greeson insists “app hopping behaviors can only become more common”.

One example of app hopping is ’Binge & Bolt’ behaviour—that is, regularly signing up for an SVoD service with the intention of watching all the interesting content as quickly as possible then cancelling. One-in-seven (14 %) adult SVoD buyers engage in this behaviour at least fairly often, 5 % very often. Of these adults, 90 % typically cancel within the first three months of use, only 10 % hanging on longer. On average, Moderate and Heavy Hoppers Binged & Bolted 2.0 services in the last 12 months, compared with 1.4 among Occasional Hoppers.

To determine the extent of app-hopping behaviours, Aluma assessed the regularity with which adults engaged in nine actions, the most common signing up for free trials or promotional pricing and cancelling before being charged full price, the least common signing up to watch a single live sports match then cancelling. Based on these insights, Aluma analysts segmented adult SVoD buyers into four exclusive groups: Non Hoppers, Occasional Hoppers, Moderate Hoppers, and Heavy Hoppers.