Subscription Economy Showing Promising Growth

Experts believe we are moving away from the seemingly ubiquitous concept of product ownership and toward a more subscription-based economy. Young music listeners aren’t purchasing music, they’re subscribing to digital music platforms. They’re not buying books, they’re subscribing to services like Kindle Unlimited and reading e-books. While the U.S. seems to be on the forefront of the subscription economy, other nations are also now catching up.

market growth

Subscription Services Growth

A recent study by Zuora, Inc. and YouGov found that an estimated 58 million Britons now subscribe to services – this represents 89 percent of the British adult population – as businesses continue to join the subscription economy. The study, entitled, “A Nation Subscribed,” found that nearly 9-in-10 British consumers now choose to subscribe to their favorite stores, brands and services instead of purchasing them on a “one-off” basis. This figure represents an 11 percent jump from the previous year’s results.

Drilling down into the study finds that it’s not the youngest of consumers who are drawn to the subscription economy. Consumers in the 35 – 54 age bracket spend the most per month (£62, or about $88). On average across all age groups, British consumers now spend £56 per month (about $80) on subscriptions. Compare this to last year’s average, which was about £18.49 (about $26.20).

Business Warm-up to Recurring Services

The study’s authors attribute the rise in subscription spending to an increase in the number of businesses across nearly all industries offering recurring services, noting that it’s no longer just magazine and music companies looking to launch subscription plans.

Companies such as those in retail, gaming, data storage and even healthcare are determining new ways to use subscriptions.

“Subscription services are everywhere, with growth coming from wealthier generations who want the same convenience, quality and freedom,” blogged SetApp’s Yaroslav Stepanenko. “Subscribing creates a wider range of choices, which is why customers everywhere are embracing these companies and happily spending more with them as they grow comfortable with new services and brands.”

Choose SubscriptionDNA

To get the most out of the subscription business model, companies need access to robust and easy-to-manage subscription tools, such as those offered by SubscriptionDNA.

Our software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) provides companies with all the tools they need, including billing and marketing, to efficiently and affordably manage their subscription businesses. With our customized front-end options, customers can login and manage their own accounts right from the subscription provider’s website. Contact us today to learn more!

Is Your Subscription Management Tool Feature-Rich?

While there are a number of solutions that allow companies embracing the subscription economy to manage their subscriptions or add paywalls to their content, not all of them have the tools necessary to fully manage, maintain, promote and market subscriptions.

Before you consider a subscription management solution, determine if you need the following features:

online tools

Automated recurring billing

Look for a billing tool that allows you to start processing in minutes, and can be set to bill at whatever frequency works best for your business.

Subscription management reporting

Robust reporting filters can allow you to stratify reports in whatever way works best for you, locate your results and efficiently manage your subscriber base.

Customized and automated communication tools

You’ll want to communicate regularly with your subscribers, so choose a solution that allows you to send emails to specific subscribers and groups, and customize ready-made auto-responders.

Group member support

If you’re offering groups, classes, or events, make sure the solution you choose supports and has a variety of options for managing members.

Adding paywalls

A paywall can be a highly viable way of securing regular revenue. Ensure customers can sign up and pay right from your website. Look for a solution that validates users to allow access to your premium content.

 

At SubscriptionDNA, one of our best assets is our flexibility and willingness to customize subscription solutions for each client. We can help clients plan and execute solutions and campaigns that fit the way they do business, and the way customers do business with them. Clients can use our flexible REST API to customize the solution, or have us do it.

Some of our platform’s highlights include:

  • We have recently integrated individual webinar signups with webinar third-party APIs to automatically add users and trigger the webinar invite to the user.
  • We can dynamically print multi-page PDF files with unique member cards, course certificates and watermarked reports.
  • We can create custom export data such as shipping labels and package slips, all unique to each client.

Our software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) provides companies with all the tools they need, including billing and marketing, to efficiently and affordably manage their subscription businesses. To find out how we can customize subscription tools to your business, contact us today.

The Importance of Subscription Revenue in the Internet of Things

While the phrase “Internet of Things,” or IoT, tends to give non-tech people something of a headache, one way to think of IoT is all the connected devices in the world. Consumers might have Amazon Alexa and Google’s Nest in their homes, Siri on their iPhones, Amazon’s Dash in their laundry rooms and IBM’s Watson in their connected cars. All these devices add up to be “the Internet of Things.” They represent more than consumer convenience, however.

The IoT Subscription Revenue Model

Once upon a time, it was enough for a company that made carbon monoxide alarms to consumers. Once the sale was finished, the company had no further opportunities with that customer until they needed a new alarm. As devices become smarter, however, there are more opportunities for companies to build more regular revenue streams. The true value for companies today is in software, data and digital services, according to Eric Free of Flexera Software writing for Tech Target.

“Many traditional hardware companies are re-evaluating their monetization strategies,” he wrote. “Software-based services enable IoT producers to bundle product offerings, services and feature sets in new and creative ways that generate incremental new revenue streams in the form of subscription or pay-per-use models.”

Internet of Things

Recent research confirms this shift is happening. A study by IDC and underwritten by Flexera found that 38 percent of device companies are currently half (or more) of their revenue from hardware, but that will soon change. In the next two years, this amount will decrease to 33 percent. At the same time, while 32 percent of respondents to IDC study’s report that they derive half or more of their revenue from services, that figure is expected to increase to 38 percent in the next two years.

The Importance of Cloud-based IoT Subscription Service

IoT systems and device makers will need a way to grow and manage subscription revenue. Software-as-a-service-based platforms such as SubscriptionDNA are the answer. Not only do customized subscription solutions help companies keep track of customers and their subscriptions, but they can also help manage customer lifecycles and even automate notification and marketing activities.

SubscriptionDNA can even make it easy for IoT companies to build different tiers of subscriptions so they can offer the right services at the right price points to accommodate every budget. As devices become more connected, so too must device makers and end users. Choose a subscription management solution that keeps you in touch with your customers to get the most out of your subscription relationship.

Connect with us today to get started!

Understanding the Difference Between Subscription, Membership and Donation Revenue

Content providers today are struggling to find a revenue model that works for them. There are a variety of ways that news organizations, publications and other content providers can make money. These include advertising, corporate underwriting, foundation funding, article syndication, events, affiliate programs, merchandise, and sales of additional products such as books or white papers. Increasingly, however, publishers and other content providers are turning to direct revenue.

 

What’s Direct Revenue?

Rather than relying exclusively on advertising (once the model for most online content), more companies are turning directly to readers or site users to fund them, and creating a mix of direct and non-direct revenue. There are three types of direct revenue, according to Elizabeth Hansen and Emily Goligoski writing for Columbia Journalism Review. They include donation, subscription and membership.

  • A donation model encourages audiences to give their time or money to an institution in support of a common cause or common values. Donation conveys a charitable relationship.
  • A subscription model requires audiences to pay money to get access to a product or service. Subscription conveys an ongoing transactional relationship.
  • A membership model invites audiences to give their time, money, connections, professional expertise, distribution to their networks, and/or ideas to support a cause they believe in. Membership represents two-way knowledge exchange between journalists and members.

When Is Subscription the Best Choice?

A subscription model can work best for media or content outlets providing highly specialized information that readers can’t find anywhere else. (In other words, if you’re laying out celebrity gossip, don’t count on readers to pay for something they can find easily elsewhere.)reading magazines

“For publications with subject-area or region-specific journalism and a strong audience base in their coverage areas, a product-based subscription offering can work,” wrote Hansen and Goigoski. “If readers, listeners, and/or viewers see a site’s news and analysis as providing enough unique value, subscription might be a viable revenue strategy. A subscription strategy can work especially well for publications with strong institutional audiences in specific industries and when subscribers’ employers can pay the cost of work-relevant media.”

A Platform for Managing Direct Revenue

To get the most out of adding direct revenue to your income mix, look for a subscription management platform that’s easy to use (for subscribers) and easy to manage (for you). Subscription DNA is a software-as-a-service platform that allows users to integrate subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls and authentication in one place. It can help you avoid rookie mistakes and optimize your pricing model for your subscriptions (by offering multiple tiers, for example).

Managed properly, a direct revenue channel added to your existing indirect revenue mix can significantly boost your income, allowing you to provide better and more in-depth content to customers willing to pay for it.

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Paywalls Help News Outlets Maintain Profits as Ad Revenues Decline

 

The publishing industry has changed radically in the last decade, and publishers – particularly those following stately old journalistic models such as The Washington Post and the New York Times – have struggled in the past to keep up. Newspapers and journals are still sinking a lot of money into creating quality content, and they’re seeing a lot of ad revenue lost to fly-by-night content that’s superficial and cheap to produce. Once upon a time, the idea of putting up a paywall around media content made publishers nervous. They believed that the paywall drove would-be readers into the arms of free media.

Luckily, the tide is changing. The election of 2016 has driven up newspaper readership significantly (the Washington Post reports it has tripled its readership),and established publications are finding themselves center-stage again. These organizations are feeling a little more confident about putting walls around their valuable and respected content, and readers are beginning to realize that you get what you pay for.

Content Worth Paying For

You don’t need to be The Chicago Tribune to feel that your content is worth paying for. Readers, once shy of paying for content, are getting more used to the idea. A report commissioned by the Reuters Institute last year found that there has been a surge in the number of Americans, particularly younger readers, prepared to pay for online news, growing from nine percent to 16 percent, along with a tripling of news donations. This report, and others, found that readers all over the world are embracing newer ways to pay for content rather than blanket subscriptions: per-article, one-off purchases of single editions or even voluntary donations.

newspaper

“The most commonly cited reasons for paying are to get access on mobile devices, because of a good deal or print/digital bundle, or because people like to consume news from a range of sources that includes paid-for providers,” wrote research fellow Richard Fletcher of the Reuters Institute.

Subscription Management Services

Custom subscription management platforms like SubscriptionDNA make it easy for content providers to reap revenue from readership. The software-as-a-service-based solution makes it easy to set up and manage paywalls or restrict access to premium, members-only content. Users can choose a variety of paywall models to customize readers’ experiences and monetize content such as articles and blogs that were previously drains on revenue rather than assets.

There has never been a better time to venture monetizing premium content that costs you money to produce and provides value to readers. Just be sure you’re choosing a subscription management solution that isn’t going to cause you headaches and be a drain on your newfound revenue.

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