Almost 30% of Viewers Would Sign Up for a Streaming Service Just to Watch Old Reruns


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There’s nothing quite like kicking back to rewatch an old favorite TV show. Whether it’s Friends, The Office, Seinfeld, or something more obscure, viewers always seem to keep going back to their tried and true favorites. That’s why with all the new shiny streaming services out there, content really is key when it comes to driving subscribers. And while new releases and originals have their place, older content can be just as compelling, if not more.

So much so that nearly 30% of participants in a recent survey by What If Media Group says they would sign up for a new streaming service just for the ability to watch an old rerun, compared to the 26.5% who would do the same for a new show. A case in point is when Peacock’s paid signups surged after gaining the complete series of The Office at the beginning of this year. And as it turns out, the stamp of approval from critics isn’t as much of a driver to get people to want to watch specific shows, regardless of their award-winning status.

Aside from classics, new shows that would make people want to sign up for a new streaming service include:

27.8% The Crown (Netflix)

22.8% Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)

21.4% I Know This Much is True (HBO Max)

12.7% Small Axe (Prime Video)

12.4% The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)

3.0% Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

It’s important to note that while the Netflix shows on the list may have a stronghold on viewer’s interest to sign up, The Crown and Schitt’s Creek come with multiple seasons of content that could be swaying desire, in comparison to say Ted Lasso which currently only has one season on Apple TV+.

Another piece of data that might be surprising is that it’s not just the older generations rewatching shows from the past. The highest percentage of viewers comes from 20-29-year-olds with 38.5% saying they’d sign up to a streamer just to watch an old show. More than 30% of viewers up to age 59 would do the same, while the older generation tapers off a bit.

The decline could be the fact that maybe older viewers just aren’t likely to sign up for a new-fangled streaming service anyway. As for the fact that Gen Z and Millennials are streaming reruns, it could be these generations are just discovering some great old TV for the first time, or maybe that the classic sitcoms and more still resonate with audiences today and can stand the test of time.

“While older viewers grew up with the concept of appointment TV, on-demand content has been the norm for younger generations,” said Jordan Cohen, Chief Marketing Officer at What If Media Group. “As such, I would expect to see streaming companies continue to pursue acquisitions of tried-and-true franchises to bolster their appeal to these groups, for example as we’ve seen with Netflix and its blockbuster acquisition of Seinfeld, which will be a massive flytrap for Gen Xers.”

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