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Streaming in 2022: Is Netflix in for a Big Subscriber Surprise?
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Netflix has had a difficult 2022, losing nearly 1.2 million subscribers in the first two quarters of 2022 and recording subscriber loss for the first time in a decade.1,2 The company hopes to add one million new subscribers in the third quarter, but could they face another loss?
We surveyed 1,000 Americans to gauge their streaming habits in 2022 and found that 1 in 4 are planning to leave Netflix this year. (Where could they go? There are a number of other streaming options available.)
The average American is subscribed to four streaming platforms, so why are so many planning to leave Netflix? And where are they going for streaming content?
Let’s queue up and dive into the upside-down world of streaming in 2022.
Our survey found that 1 in 4 subscribers are planning to leave Netflix this year. That could be over 18 million US subscribers—and an estimated $272 million in lost subscriber revenue for the streaming company.
Subscribers cite Netflix’s high cost as the biggest reason to cancel
With a quarter of respondents saying that they are planning to leave Netflix, we wanted to know what led them to the decision.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents cited Netflix’s increasing cost as a reason for leaving. And it makes sense:
- Netflix's Basic one-screen plan went up by 11% in January 2022 for the first time in three years.
- Meanwhile, Standard and Premium plans increased 20% and 25%, respectively, in the same time period.
Netflix currently has the highest average plan cost among the eight most popular streaming services in the United States. And that is leading 30% of surveyed subscribers to share their password with people outside their household.
Average monthly cost
Number of plans
|$15.15||Four plans, with and without ads|
|$12.49||Two plans: With and without ads|
|$9.99||Two plans: With and without ads (does not include Hulu Live+)|
|$14.99||One plan, no ads|
|$7.49||Two plans: With and without ads|
|$4.99||One plan, no ads|
|$7.49||Two plans: With and without ads|
Data as of 09/05/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Does not include Disney bundle
However, Netflix launched a lower-cost, ad-supported tier in November 2022 that could reduce subscriber churn.3 Looking at the Hulu model, an ad tier can increase subscribers and revenue. Back in 2019, 70% of Hulu's subscribers were on the ad-supported plan and the company generated $1.5 billion in ad revenue in 2018.4
Netflix will release its Q3 financial results in October, so we’ll know more about subscriber loss and the proposed ad tier then.
Lack of content could hurt Netflix
The other big complaint from Netflix users is two-fold:
- 1 in 3 respondents said Netflix no longer has the shows they want to watch.
- 30% said that they use other streaming services more.
Netflix became popular for licensing many TV shows and movies for streaming before the company developed its own original programming. In recent years, those shows and movies have left Netflix for other streaming services—mainly to build the libraries of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Walt Disney Company’s Disney+, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock—leading to ‘the streaming wars.’
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic led to delayed release dates, meaning that some of Netflix’s most popular shows have not seen new episodes in over a year. Could customers return when their favorite shows do? Based on our survey, 40% of subscribers would leave because of content—that’s on par with subscribers who are leaving due to the higher cost of subscriptions.
For the first time in years, Netflix is losing customers and looking vulnerable.
Netflix’s high cost is contributing to subscriber churn. Meanwhile, many current subscribers are going to other streaming services for the content they want to watch. HBO Max and Disney+ are quickly gaining on Netflix, but can legacy media groups actually catch the Silicon Valley titan?
Can anything beat Netflix?
According to our survey, 4 out of 5 Americans are subscribed to Netflix. But with 12.5% of those subscribers planning to cancel in the next couple of months, Netflix is actually looking vulnerable.
According to our survey results, the average American is subscribed to 4 streaming platforms. So, there should be room for Netflix . . . right? Well, let’s look at which streaming services our respondents subscribe to:
- 78% subscribe to Netflix
- 46% are Disney+ subscribers
- 42% subscribe to HBO Max
- 33% are Peacock subscribers
- 26% subscribe to Hulu
- 22% are Apple TV+ subscribers
- 5% subscribe to Hulu
- 5% are Amazon Prime subscribers
But just because you subscribe doesn’t mean you’re using the streaming service. Except, with Netflix, it is true: 70% of respondents use Netflix the most, meaning it has higher usage than any other streaming service—by a 60% margin!
In a distant second place is HBO Max with a 10% share of respondents and Disney+ takes third place with 6%. Every other streaming service is under 5%.
So can anything beat Netflix? Right now, no. But rising prices, a lack of content, and increased competition could lead 1-in-4 subscribers to cancel their Netflix subscription within the year.
Reviews.org surveyed 1,000 Americans in August 2022 16 years and older with a +/- 4% margin of error and a confidence level of 95%. Respondents were asked about their streaming habits, streaming service subscriptions, and their feelings about Netflix in particular.
1 J. Clara Chan, “Netflix Loses 970K Subscribers, but Forecasts 1M Gain in Next Quarter,” The Hollywood Reporter, July 19, 2022.
2 Nicole Sperling, “Netflix loses subscribers for first time in 10 years,” The New York Times, April 19, 2022.
3 Suzanne Vranica, “Netflix Seeking Top Dollar for Brands to Advertise on Its Service,” The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2022.
4 Todd Spangler, “Hulu Says 70% of Its 82 Million Viewers Are on Ad-Supported Plan,” Variety, May 29, 2019.