Published on 22 Jun 2022

Why streaming giants struggle to keep subscribers

The Straits Times, page C2 and online, 22 Jun -

As the world emerges from the debilitating lockdowns and restrictive mandates of Covid-19, the growth of streaming services has hit a roadblock. Competition is fiercer than ever, and as platforms seek to hold on to subscribers, changes are afoot, from the possible introduction of advertisements to cracking down on password-sharing. Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings recently raised the possibility of introducing advertisements to its lower-priced plans - with the option of an ad-free tier available at a higher price.

While a Netflix spokesman said, "no decisions have been made", film scholar and associate professor at NTU WKWSCI Ian Dixon says subscribers in Singapore should be prepared. "When Netflix talks about ads, it is not just conjecturing. It is saying such things strategically, as a sort of soft introduction," he says. Mr Gautam Kiyawat, a lecturer in media and advertising at NTU and the former managing director of Singtel's defunct streaming service Hooq, is cautiously optimistic despite the challenging outlook. He says the industry still has legs, especially for players like Netflix, WarnerMedia, Apple, Amazon and Disney.