The Most Common Reason Users Cancel a Streaming Service? Advertisements


Most consumers that sign up for a new streaming service leave their subscriptions running until their credit card expires.

Recent survey data suggests that nearly 70% of streaming service subscribers never canceled their subscriptions. In other words, we’re a pretty sticky bunch as once we sign up it’s very unlikely we’ll go through the trouble of cancelling.

In fact, as IBM’s data suggests (PDF warning), one of the more likely reason we’ll cancel is because our credit card expires and we just never update the information in each service. Cancelling a service like Netflix or Hulu actually does seem like a lot more work than just letting the monthly bill keep paying itself without much thought.

Netflix remains the least likely to get cancelled of the major services, with Hulu and Amazon seeing a much larger number of total cancellations. 40% of consumers have stated they have cancelled either Hulu or Amazon, with only 30% having cancelled a Netflix subscription.

But the most interesting note was the reasoning behind why we cancel our subscriptions. One of the most common reasons people cancel was of course price (25%). But even above that was advertisements (27%). This is probably why a service like Hulu suffers, the ad-supported version specifically, drawing in a much higher number of cancellations compared to Netflix. Shortly behind that, a decline in quality or quantity of content (20%). While Netflix is still seeing growth, anecdotally it does appear that with recent declines in total number of titles on Netflix, more and more people are starting to cancel. More towards the bottom, (17%) was technical issues hindering a smooth viewing experience.

cancel streaming service

We ran a survey last year, and 79% of consumers responded that they would rather pay more for Netflix than deal with advertisements. Not surprising to say the least, then, that streaming services without commercials see a lower churn on their subscriber base.

There have been rumors about Netflix bringing ads to their service for a long time, but with this recent data, we’re guessing Netflix won’t make the jump anytime soon. Hulu itself went as far as to create an ad-free option for a few bucks more a month, meaning all their next-day television streaming would be commercial free. Amazon Video also doesn’t have any advertising, but is the most expensive of the bunch, as it includes several other features, like two day shipping on almost all Amazon shopping (although Amazon has announced that a standalone streaming app is coming).

How about you? What would cause you to cancel your Netflix subscription? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Jesse Green

    If Netflix added advertisements, I’d cancel in a heartbeat. A substantial price hike would do it too. Especially since I already have multiple monthly subscriptions to pay for.

  • notsofastnow

    Any app loaded with ads is an app I don’t keep on my Roku. I’m old enough to remember when broadcasts were free and commercials limited to a little over 5 minutes per hour.