Think of the streaming wars as a game of Jenga: How many subscriptions can you stack atop consumers before they start to pull out and the whole thing comes tumbling down? It’s that moment that has streaming-video executives nervous — only they refer to it as “churn and burn,” industry jargon for losing subscribers and their associated dollars.
Most streaming services are still very new, but eventually churn will creep up. Those that can’t hold onto enough memberships will have to fold or sell to more stable rivals. As the incumbent with the most customers to lose, Netflix Inc.’s shareholders will be keeping a watchful eye on its churn rate, including gleaning what they can from its next earnings report, which is set to arrive Tuesday after the stock market closes.