nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

CandW discuss free-trial conversions and the Oscars

VideoNuze nScreenMedia podcast

New data shows the free-trial conversion rate to paying customer is unusually high. The Oscars viewing slump could reflect much deeper problems for the movie industry.

Chapter 1: 60% of people on a free-trial convert to pay (1:30)

New data from Vimeo shows it is worth taking the risk. Vimeo data shows that any online video service provider (OVSP) would foolish not to allow free trials of the service. The company found that 60% of people that sign up for a free trial from any platform end up becoming a paying customer.

The company saw the highest conversion rates through iOS devices, 69.6%, and Roku devices, 69.4%. 68.4% of those signing up through a web interface converted to paying customers. Android TV and Android conversions were slightly lower, 64.7% and 62.7%, but only slightly.

Both Will and I are surprised at how high the conversion ratio is. A big reason the conversion rate is so high could be because people provide credit card info as part of the free trial signup. In other words, they must remember to cancel, or they will be charged.

Chapter 2: Oscar viewership fell below 30 million for the first time (9:50)

The 2018 Oscars had the lowest all-time viewership, dipping below the 30 million mark for the first time. 26.5 million people watched the Oscars, down 19% from 2017. The events poor performance comes on the heels of a string of disappointing TV audiences. The Golden Globes were down 5% this year, the Super Bowl was down 7%, the Olympics off 7% versus 2014, and the Grammys down 24% over last year.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the movies everyone goes to see (Black Panther, Star Wars, etc.) rarely win any of the main awards. By comparison, the movies that receive Oscars are seen by tiny audiences.

Will thinks the declining viewership is symptomatic of the splintering of the audience. Many people have cut the cord and simply didn’t have access to the event. Others would rather be bingeing a show on Netflix or Amazon during the 3-hour show.

I suggested the decline in Oscar viewership could also be the fault of the industry. Smaller films may not be attracting people to the theaters because close substitutes (films and shows on similar themes) exist in the libraries of SVOD services. As well, the home viewing experience often comes close to the theater experience, particularly if it is for a drama or other non-action feature.

The film industry has done nothing to address this. Studios and theater owners were discussing a premium release window last year, but that idea appears to have withered on the vine. Until the industry does something about theater revenue will continue to concentrate in a few big budget crowd-pleaser movies. The Oscars will also continue to celebrate great movies that nobody has seen.


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