CEO: Paramount+ Free Trial Conversion Better Than CBS All Access

When Paramount+ launched March 4, absorbing the existing CBS All Access subscription streaming service, new subscribers were offered a generous 30-day free trial period. That policy, which ended March 31, resulted in higher conversion rates to paid subscriptions ($5.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 without) than had occurred at All Access, according to Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS.

Speaking May 6 on the company’s fiscal call, Bakish said a strategy of frontloading Paramount+ with movies and the Super Bowl helped reduce churn and increase the paid base.

“Believe it or not, the conversion rate was actually marginally above our historical trial conversion rates,” Bakish said. “So we are happy about that.”

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According to Parks Associates, about 30% of free trial users convert to paid subscriptions, with just 1% of users becoming so-called “serial trialers,” jumping from one free subscription period to the next. Most SVOD platforms have reduced free trial periods to seven days.

“Most consumers use trials for their intended purpose of trying out a service before deciding whether or not to continue as a paid subscriber,” read the Parks report.

Bakish said Paramount+ is focused on “ramping up” original content from throughout the ViacomCBS brands, in addition to releasing a new movie weekly on the platform, beginning in 2022. The platform will exclusively debut Mark Wahlberg’s new sci-fi thriller Infinite in June.

“Both conversion and churn [at Paramount+] improved in April, both versus prior-year and versus March,” Bakish said. “We feel great about what we’re seeing in this area.”

Paramount+ ended the quarter with 36 million subs globally when combined with Showtime OTT. The two services topped 19.4 million subs in the U.S. through Feb. 24.

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