Covid-19 has widened the media subscription gender gap in US. A Deloitte study suggests a few ways to close the gap while increasing the number of subscriptions.
Soon after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, the nature and traits of its impact became clearly visible. The pandemic has been tagged as regressive due to its biased impact on the economically backward people, which is even worse for women. The same effect is also evident in the consumption of video streaming subscriptions in US.
There are two prerequisites for the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry to thrive – time and money and men have better access to both these elements. A Deloitte article highlights that in their 14th Digital media trends survey, they found for every 10 female subscriptions, men had 14 subscriptions. This gap has been further widened by the pandemic. For almost all major streaming categories – music, video, video games and news, men’s subscriptions and net cancelations have increased since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Distinction between male and female audiences
The study found striking differences in subscription habits of men and women. Compared to women, men are more likely to subscribe to new services and cancel them. For instance, during the pandemic 20% of men canceled a video streaming subscription as opposed to 13% of women. Men are twice more likely than women (22% to 11%) to cancel a subscription in order to opt for a new one. Despite the higher churn rate, on an average, men have five streaming subscriptions, and women have four.
The opportunity for the M&E industry
The study clearly shows two priorities for the M&E companies – one, the need to increase the commitment of male consumers and two, find more women consumers to buy their subscription service. Here we will expound on the second point.
Winning more female consumers has become more difficult after Covid-19. The survey found that compared to men, 7% more women had suffered income loss during the pandemic. Unemployment rate is also higher among women and they earn less than men. Moreover, after the pandemic struck, many women have reduced their working hours in order to care for their home or children. Cost and lack of time has emerged as two primary factors behind women’s reluctance to opt for new streaming subscriptions.
How to onboard more women subscribers?
Getting consumers who are more likely to stay committed to the service should be a priority for any service provider. Thus, the M&E companies can consider these three ways to woo more women subscribers to sign up or to engage better with those who might not want to commit.
Offer tiered services
Since cost has emerged as a key deterrent for subscription, M&E companies can develop different variations of low-cost subscription options with tiered services based on different categories of interest. It will help women to select a service that is a better fit for their budget and interest.
A service that bundles different categories like music, video, news, gaming, etc. into an all-in-one subscription service is expected to find more takers among the women audiences. Such services are easier to manage and if made available with a range of pricing tiers would definitely catch the attention of consumers.
Promote ad-supported platforms
Ad supported M&E platforms might do better in the post pandemic scenario. However, the data is slightly conflicted in this regard – 48% of women as opposed to 38% of men said they would prefer a free ad-supported platform but the actual viewership numbers show that 51% of men and 43% of women actually watch ad-supported platforms like “Pluto TV”. Nevertheless, promoting such services currently might help in increasing consumer engagement and revenue and curb dependency on subscriptions.
Although the study is specific to US, it does give us a glimpse of the global trends. Especially now, after the pandemic has blurred the national boundaries, it might be deemed as globally relevant for both developed and developing nations.