Streaming TV’s Problem: Subscribers Cancel Service When Their Favorite Shows Are Over

Cancellation rates for some services are over 50%; users sign up only for favorite programming

A scene from Episode 110 of the rebooted ‘Star Trek’ series on CBS’s All Access streaming service. PHOTO: CBS

By Cara Lombardo

Kevin Clarkson subscribed to CBS’s All Access streaming TV service shortly before the network’s “Star Trek” reboot premiered in September. He plans to cancel it soon after the season finale.

The 24-year-old and his girlfriend also subscribed to Showtime’s streaming service just long enough to watch the “Twin Peaks” revival and bought three months of access to Starz’s online service for “American Gods.”

As they court a generation of cable TV cord-cutters, streaming services are making it easy for subscribers to come and go as they please. It is an approach in stark contrast to the traditional pay TV industry, where providers often charge fees for early contract-termination, have retention agents make desperate pitches to retain business, and even ask for cable boxes to be returned.

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