Americans’ New TV Habit: Subscribe. Watch. Cancel. Repeat.

Early last year, Josh Meisel and his wife wanted to watch a new buzzy Peacock drama, “Poker Face,” starring Natasha Lyonne.

But Mr. Meisel, a scientist who lives outside Boston, did not subscribe to Peacock. He paid for half a dozen other streaming services and was reluctant to sign up for another. So he and his wife made a pact. If they weren’t watching “Poker Face” anymore after two weeks, they would cancel Peacock.

Sure enough, they lost interest and canceled. And then he realized: Why stop there?

In the weeks that followed, Mr. Meisel, who is 39, cut loose Max, Apple TV+ and Hulu. He eventually resubscribed to Hulu and Apple TV+ when there were shows the couple wanted to watch — Hulu for “The Bear,” Apple TV+ for “Slow Horses” — but canceled both again after they finished watching a new season.

And he is hardly alone.

“The Bear” got Josh Meisel and his wife to subscribe to Hulu — for as long as it took them to watch a season. Credit…Hulu

Americans are getting increasingly impulsive about hitting the cancellation button on their streaming services. More than 29 million — about a quarter of domestic paying streaming subscribers — have canceled three or more services over the last two years, according to Antenna, a subscription research firm. And the numbers are rising fast.

The data suggests a sharp shift in consumer behavior — far from the cable era, when viewers largely stuck with a single provider, as well as the early days of the so-called streaming wars, when people kept adding services without culling or jumping around.

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