Streamers are ‘bundling’ deals to stem subscriber losses

streaming services

Streaming services may seem like a dime a dozen, but having a bunch of subscriptions can add up quickly. Photo: Getty

“When snow falls and white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

Streaming services may be taking notes from the mantra that guided HBO’s House of Stark Game of Throneswith many teaming up with outside companies to offer Australians a range of services amid rising living costs.

Origin has again partnered with Paramount+ to offer customers a free 12-month subscription to Paramount+ when they sign up for any Origin internet plan.

Following a similar offer in 2022, the energy and internet company said that through April 14, new customers can save $270 a year with an internet, energy and streaming bundle; the free premium Paramount+ makes up for a significant chunk of that, usually costing $89.99 a year.

The clustering strategy is not unique.

Telstra and Optus offer similar and more extensive deals on internet or mobile bundles, partnering with a host of streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Binge, Disney+ and BritBox.

With the vast amount of streaming services on offer and household budgets getting tighter thanks to inflation, these packages can be extremely attractive.

Bonus Packs

Melbourne-based Dinesh Fernando, along with his wife and son, have a wealth of movie and show options to choose from with five subscriptions to the streaming service.

But Mr. Fernando was able to save some money by getting two of the subscriptions through package deals. Namely, they include Paramount+ via the Origin internet package and Prime Video via Amazon Prime, which also gives subscribers access to Amazon services such as Kindle and Prime Reading.

“It’s not like I was looking for a package deal,” he said.

“I’ve just been really focused on getting the core product, and those are like extra bonuses for me.”

Dinesh Fernando and his family love to access a variety of content on various streaming platforms. Photo: Dinesh Fernando

Mr Fernando said the inclusion of Paramount+ in Origin’s internet offer helped him when he was looking for a new broadband provider after he moved.

Now that he’s tested the streaming platform and discovered it hosts his nine-year-old son’s favorite movie, Sonic the Hedgehoghe is almost certain to keep the subscription when the free period is over.

But he is not immune to the recent nationwide belt-tightening, saying that if the cost of living rises further, he will have to cut back on his streaming subscriptions.

Strategies for attracting subscribers

Mr. Fernando would not be alone; Australians canceled more than 1.3 million video streaming accounts in the last three months of 2022, with Apple TV+ experiencing the highest rate of cancellations at 22 per cent.

Mark S-Scott, a senior lecturer in screen media at Victoria University, said the series of declines in subscriptions came after streaming services saw a spike in subscribers in the early days of the pandemic.

Now that lockdowns are firmly in the rearview mirror, people are spending less time at home, which means they can’t use their streaming subscriptions as much as they used to, and spend more money on entertainment elsewhere.

Couple that with inflation and streaming services are on the rocks as Australians look to cut costs.

So it makes sense for streaming services to team up with companies like ISPs to attract new subscribers.

“I think [bundles are] good value for those who have now reached a point where they want to access multiple streaming services, and … everyone is trying to save money,” said Dr C-Scott.

“And [streaming services in bundles] they might be losing a little money, but they’re definitely hanging on to subscribers they don’t necessarily have [otherwise].”

He said those bundles, along with other strategies such as a return to weekly episode releases and an emphasis on exclusive content, are likely to remain for the long term as streaming services try to maintain subscriber numbers and profits.

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