Success with Subscription-Based Content Requires Focus and a Good Platform

It’s been a rough year for media companies, and 2019 has barely started. Layoffs at BuzzFeed, Verizon Media and Gannett have underscored that traditionally successful media organizations – even in the modern digital age – are having a hard time making ends meet in an era when readers expect everything for free.

It’s become increasingly apparent that to survive, media companies will need to create enough value that audiences will pay for it through a paywall or subscription. This means boosting the quality of the content and trying not to be all things to all readers.

Creating Quality Niche Content

“To be successful in the future, publishers should still create the niche content that draws audiences – for which they might even pay a subscription fee,” wrote Sarah Sluis for AdExchanger. “But publishers must find new and creative ways to monetize those passionate audiences, to entice brands to connect with them and complement their platform advertising.”

Offering free content in competition with platforms such as Facebook and Google is a losing strategy. Likewise, offering generic, poorly prepared content under a paywall is also a losing strategy.

Companies with media aspirations need to identify their potential super-users, produce high-quality content aimed at those readers and then induce them to pay for it. At a recent AdExchanger media event, Bloomberg CEO Justin Smith called it a “radical resizing and rethinking, and reality acceptance process” and noted that companies “have to deal with the realities of 2019.”

A Sturdy Subscription Platform

Content isn’t the only challenge, however. Most media companies don’t have a solid foundation in place for creating a paywall. Software-as-a-service-based solutions such as the offerings we provide to clients can help media companies and others build a custom process that precisely matched their business model.

“To run a successful subscription-based web site, you need the right subscription billing and membership tools and the right team,” according to Subscription DNA. “[Our] clients range from small businesses to large ventures serving remote software, educational enrollment to video delivery, digital and print publications, e-learning, medical programs and more including both retail bricks/mortar establishments and online web applications.”

The solution enables not only payment collection and reporting, but subscriber communications and marketing, group email notifications and membership management. Contact us today to get started! 

Research: More Consumers Are Turning to Subscription Services than Ever Before

Subscription services are gaining popularity today as the market seeks out new, convenient and fun ways to buy products and services. Also to quench their thirst to learn about new things that can enhance their lifestyles.

One recent report from Digitas took a closer look at the rate at which people are turning to subscription services and why they’ve become such an in-demand service for the market.

The new research, “The Subscriber’s Dilemma: From ‘More Please’ to ‘No Thanks,”  conducted by the Harris Poll for Digitas,  surveyed over 2,000 U.S. adults and found that among them, over 1,400  currently have active subscriptions services.

While these numbers are promising, there is another layer for brands to consider when it comes to providing value while beating out the competition.

Overcoming Challenges

Delivering just the right amount of communications and outreach, accurately and consistently billing for these services are a few of the hurdles brands face without the right tools in place.

As more companies jump on the subscription services bandwagon, it’s important that they create services and offer products that are must-haves if they want to draw in the number of subscribers needed to be successful.

The goal is to offer, “convenience, access, and perks that they feel they can’t live without,” according to the company.

The report also looked more closely at the types of subscription services consumers we’re gravitating toward and found that clothing and entertainment ranked high on the list for “must have services” with transportation and personal care subscription services failing to impress at this time.

As far as reasons consumers are choosing to subscribe, they noted validation from friends and peers about their subscription items was more important than gaining access to exclusive content when they choose a service.

Other telling information released as part of the study and of extreme importance for companies as they get started with their subscription services, is the fact that respondents said they prefer to receive communications from the subscription companies via email with many saying they’d prefer not to be contacted by a chatbot about the service.

Understanding the market and developing solutions and services that target get the right audience is key when building a subscription-based service.

SubscriptionDNA makes it possible to save time, money, and do more to please customers and potential business. Our enterprise cloud billing and membership management software makes it easy to control every aspect of your subscription business. Streamline business and save time.

Contact us today to get started!

Movie Subscription Company’s Woes Due in Part to Customer Support Problems

roll of vintage movie tickets

Early discoverers of MoviePass, the “all-you-can-eat” cinema subscription services, often wondered how long the sweet ride was going to last. In its earliest inception, subscribers to MoviePass paid a flat fee of $9.95 per month and were able to see as many movies as often as daily. For frequent cinema-goers, the deal seemed too good to be true.

Turns out it WAS too good to be true, as the subscription service’s three million subscribers are discovering.

Going forward, MoviePass subscribers will find that the standard plan will be $14.95 a month, and the service will begin putting limitations on what basic subscribers can see, with some blackouts on new, popular films. Subscribers will also be limited to three films per month. According to the company, the measure is being implemented to “drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community.” Snafus with the app prevented many moviegoers from using the service for some of the summer’s most popular hits, including Mission: Impossible—Fallout, leaving subscribers angry.

Whatever its woes, MoviePass is about to have more competition. Last month, cinema giant AMC debuted its Stubs A-List, which allows consumers to see up to three movies per week for about $20 a month. The service includes Imax and 3D films. Analysts wonder if this model can be sustainable, even with the higher price tag.

Experts believe that MoviePass’ troubles are due to 15 percent of its subscriber base, who are “super users” who see more than three movies per month. MoviePass pays full price for tickets from theaters, so the company has been hemorrhaging money. Another reason for its troubles is a more familiar woe: customer service.

“It seems to be the official end of company’s unlimited offer,” Daniel Loria, VP of content strategy and editorial director at Box Office Pro, an industry trends and data site, told Fortune. “The big issue for MoviePass is they haven’t gotten it right when it comes to customer service.”

The subscription business model simply can’t work without a good customer support framework such that offered by Subscription DNA. Our powerful software-as-a-service platform creatively integrates subscription billing, subscription management, customer support, paywalls, and authentication.

Using the solution, customers can login and manage their own accounts right from our website. Subscription companies can quickly manage accounts, automate recurring invoicing, analyze reports, communicate with targeted user groups, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and much more.

While many companies are finding resounding success with the subscription model, it’s important to ensure that you have the right subscription support solution in place to ensure that customers’ needs are being met, and your cost of doing business doesn’t exceed your profits —  to evade the fate of MoviePass.

Subscription Model Driving Demand for Cloud-based Subscription Management

As consumers become more comfortable paying for goods and services via the subscription model, demand has increased significantly for cloud billing software. Customers want subscriptions – it eliminates the hassles of purchases, returns and ownership – and companies want to increase opportunities for profit and business flexibility while still keeping control of costs. Cloud billing solutions offer the benefits of cloud technology to the subscription business model. This is leading to the technology’s increased adoption across several industry verticals.

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Cloud-based Subscription Management Software

Cloud-based subscription management and billing solutions such as SubscriptionDNA are scalable (so they can grow with your business as needed, or expand and contract with business cycles) and allow for streamlining of the billing process, which helps improve customer satisfaction. Cloud billing solutions also lower upfront costs for companies engaging in the subscription model, since real-time, multi-tenant billing systems are maintained by the solution company. (This reduces companies’ need for IT resources.) Cloud-based subscription platforms enable billing accuracy and management of large volumes of data in real-time without the headaches of maintaining the back end. Companies can also use them to implement paywalls for premium content.

New research has shown that the demand for cloud billing for customer subscription management will grow at a double-digit rate for the foreseeable future. Driving this growth is the increasing need for reducing operating expenditure as well as customer preference. While much of the growth will be in media and entertainment sectors, the subscription model is also being embraced for cars, prepared meals, clothing, personal care products, pet supplies and more. In preparation for this subscription-based economy, companies need to be prepared to put a robust and reliable billing and communications foundation in place.

Integrate Subscription Functions

SubscriptionDNA provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls, and authentication, providing customized front-end options so customers can log in and manage their own accounts. Companies can use the solution to automate recurring invoicing, analyze and report, communicate with subscribers, engage in email marketing, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and more.

Contact us today to learn how SubscriptionDNA can help your business.

A Subscription to Vehicle Ownership

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Nowadays, we subscribe to music, books, Web services, groceries, clothing, cooked meals and even dating services. Why not cars? Subscription services for vehicles are one of the fastest-growing ownership models for car owners. Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was the most recent automaker to announce a new subscription plan, Jeep Wave, a service that will allow drivers to switch between vehicles as needed for a monthly fee. Similar subscription plans have already been launched by Cadillac, Porsche, BMW, and Volvo.

Subscribing to…Cars?

The new FCA subscription plan has three tiers: “good,” better” and “best,” and users will be able to pick different models in each tier. According to the company, included in the subscription are options for insurance coverage, vehicle selection, and concierge services. FCA hasn’t yet released details about the cost of the three tiers of subscription, what’s included, or the full list of vehicles to be included in each tier.

The Care by Volvo subscription plan, announced in September of 2017, starts at $600 a month. For this price, customers will have access to the Swedish company’s new 2019 XC40 sport utility vehicle. The monthly fee – so far, the most affordable in the car subscription market — also covers insurance, roadside assistance, repairs and scheduled maintenance.

Want access to a variety of Porsches? The Porsche Passport Program will set users back $2,000 or $3,000 (depending on which models they’d like to drive). The subscription, which includes a $500 activation fee and credit check, covers vehicle tax and registration, insurance, unlimited mileage, and maintenance. Smartphone users can download the app and begin using the same day or schedule future rides.

Why Auto Subscriptions?

Car companies believe that subscriptions will appeal to younger customers who are increasingly rejecting traditional vehicle ownership. They are betting that younger drivers will value the flexibility, the excitement of switching out cars and the elimination of the headaches of traditional car loans.

“We engage people with a brand that they usually wouldn’t,” Klaus Zellmer, Porsche North America CEO, told CNBC at the 2018 New York International Auto Show.

The Subscription Model Needs Robust Administrative Support

Many consumers are tired of chasing traditional car loans, particularly now as interest rates are rising. For consumers increasingly used to buying things and using them on a subscription model, it makes sense to a “fewer strings attached” generation.

As more business is done by subscription, consumers may be less reliant on traditional loans and point of purchase payments and more accustomed to having payments processed by subscription software to eliminate hassle.

SubscriptionDNA provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls, and authentication, providing customized front-end options so customers can log in and manage their own accounts. Companies can use the solution to automate recurring invoicing, analyze and report, communicate with subscribers, engage in email marketing, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and more.

For more information about how SubscriptionDNA can help your business, visit our web site or call 513-574-9800.