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Are You Tired of Subscription Model Content Yet?

by Jerry Del Colliano May 14, 2022
Subscription Model Content

Subscription Model Content

If you are like me, you subscribe to all sorts of things these days. Heightened during COVID-19, the urge to get people to pay a small, recurring charge for their entertainment, technology or damn near anything these days has become the way of the world. The subscription model is excellent for business as it gives a level of predictability to incoming income that might not normally be there and that is very good for the bottom line, projections and more. The problem is: consumers are growing very weary of all the “death by a 1,000 cuts” charges on their credit card and they are revolting.

For the first time, Netflix recently announced that they had 200,000 people drop their service. Nobody ever drops Netflix, do they? I guess now they do. The stock price dropped 35 percent, nearly overnight. Billionaire investors bailed on the company because what they liked was the predictability of the income. Perhaps that party is over? 99 percent of their subscriber base doesn’t seem to think so, but they are now trying to find ways, for the first time, to crack down on password sharing as well as to offer a lower-cost, ad-based model. Those are BIG changes.

CNN+

CNN launched their CNN+ paid content model just a few weeks ago in April 2022. In less than a month and despite its introductory price, CNN pulled the plug on their highly hyped, paid service. Reportedly, only 10,000 people signed up for this added value content. Critics are calling it “CNN Minus” and for good reason.

Home theater enthusiasts have so many places that we can spend our entertainment money these days. In my world, I have DirecTV for over $150 per month (NHL package and Showtime as add-ons above a mid-level content package). They constantly try to jack my prices up despite:

a) I am the only person in the house who watches this source

and…

b) I have been a loyal customer dating back to 1997 when they launched.

services

We also have Netflix which keeps getting more and more expensive, yet we’ve resisted canceling. We have Disney+ for another $13 per month. We have Hulu too. We have Amazon Music, which is part of a Prime subscription (perhaps the best option out there because of the retail and entertainment options) and more. Outside of entertainment, I’ve got Adobe nailing me for $30 per month for Photoshop. I am about to cancel The New York Times for $17 per month. I’ve already canceled The Washington Post, but I’ve not canceled the Los Angeles Times for its local relevancy. There are others.

My father is currently a professor at NYU and his Generation Y/Z students are more and more against subscription models and these kids haven’t spent one day in the real world with full-time jobs and actual, non-academic responsibilities. This is not a good predictor of the growth of the subscription model, no matter how good it is for the companies who embrace them.

Since leaving the world of AV publishing in December 2019, I endeavored upon a site that works with one of my passions, which is daily fantasy sports (DFS as it is known). This was one of those COVID-19 businesses that boomed while we were all locked down. I bought DraftKings stock (DKNG) for $31 a share and took it to $72. I sold it for $29. Ouch. Within days, I will close my DFS sports advice site, that is a subscription model having suffered the worst financial loss of my publishing career. Clearly, the subscription model is in trouble for all but the apex predators.

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Streamlining the Subscription Model

For the audio-video enthusiast, there are so many ways to benefit from these subscription-based models. For audiophiles, the lure of having EVERY record ever made at CD (or even higher quality) available on demand for the price of one Compact Disc per month should have been a total game changer. The biggest issue with the audiophile hobby is its inability to adapt to new technology as the “OK Boomers” love the past, hate science when given the chance to embrace conspiracy theories and they face eminent doom because of it. For home theater enthusiasts, the need for a silver disc is over yet Oppo Blu-ray players that are now 10 years old sell for two, three or four times their retail price when Sony (and others) make disc players that play every format for $200 or less. 4K content is best streamed and with little to no loss of quality. The 90-day (or less) delay between theatrical releases and their streaming debuts makes owning a Roku or a device like an Apple TV impossible to avoid for any home theater. Cord cutting was an early sign of consumers’ lack of tolerance for content bullshit. Rejecting the abuses of the streamers in the subscription business is the next move on the chessboard.

Streaming isn’t going anywhere and YES you will have to pay for it, but there is a limit to how many hands out there can be for your consumer media spending. For old fart, Gen-Exers like me, we used to spend our last dollar at the likes of Tower Records (or Video) but today it is different. Nobody is going to give up Amazon Prime because of its overall value, but there are plenty of subscription models who will suffer attrition in the coming months-years. That consolidation is well earned and heavily affected by the so-called “end of COVID” which is not over other than in most people’s willingness to take it seriously anymore.

The streaming market and its tangential subscription model boomed in recent years, but this is the pending “correction” that is predictable. Take one look at your credit card bill and see how many people have you spending with them and it is easy to pull back. I certainly have with likely more changes coming, but I won’t pull out of the streaming/subscription market completely. I will just curate my list of spending based on quality and value. You will too. These are good days, but you can’t spend on everything all the time. We will all find the happy place for our budgets and go from there.

What must have subscription services do you have and do you plan on changing those seasonally based on content offered?

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

Hobbit posts on May 19, 2022 16:32
Audiosaur, post: 1557844, member: 82554
I cancelled Netflix just this morning. My wife and I realized we hadn't watched it for a month or more. With the price hikes, it just didn't make sense. We only have Amazon now.

I've been thinking of rotating through services. I find a show or two I like and start watching them. While I'm into these shows on one service I neglect the other services I pay for. Then when I'm through watching those show the other service has new seasons of shows I like…. Thus I swap back. My thought is to oscillate my subscriptions every 3 months or so. I'm sure they're already looking into ways to limit this from happening however.
Hobbit posts on May 19, 2022 16:26
Interesting article. I am definitely getting tired of just about all the models out there! While Netflix is definitely at the high end cost wise. But don't be fooled, the others will be there soon as they increase content. Then again, who really didn't know this was going to happen? I've been predicating this since cable cutting became a thing. The thing is, I'm not seeing a solution. It seems to me most people I talk with are just fine paying for all these services.

Also, as was pointed out in the article, this goes beyond this type of streaming. General and specialized news cites, like Cyclingnews/velonews, have gone subscription. I've been going to these sites since the dawn of the internet. Now they want me to pay a subscription. and it still comes with the advertising.

The worst to me are sites like youtube. Now that's it's become a place to make money, not just share videos, the amount of commercials interruptions are insane. To make matters worse, nothing on the site if vetted. You can put a title to get people to click, run an ad, or two, to get your 2 cents, then have content that has nothing to do with the title. I'm so ethically against this that even though the only thing I lose it time, I still try not go there anymore.

Even manufacturers and oem's are in this game. After you buy something which come with nothing but a link and you go to their site for support they have advertising and links to youtube videos for that have advertising that surely makes them more money.

I'm not sure the answer or what will happen in the long run. Again, it seems most people I meet are OK with this. They will go as far as calling me cheap because I'm not signed up for everything.
panteragstk posts on May 19, 2022 10:28
Audiosaur, post: 1557844, member: 82554
I cancelled Netflix just this morning. My wife and I realized we hadn't watched it for a month or more. With the price hikes, it just didn't make sense. We only have Amazon now.

That's one way they get a lot of money out of us. Make so many services we don't remember which ones we subscribe to, much less which ones you actually watch content on.

That reminds me…I need to get rid of Hulu.
Audiosaur posts on May 18, 2022 16:39
I cancelled Netflix just this morning. My wife and I realized we hadn't watched it for a month or more. With the price hikes, it just didn't make sense. We only have Amazon now.
Big-Q posts on May 18, 2022 13:16
4k content is not best streamed. It is best played on the silver disc. As far as subscriptions… I have xfinity (for internet mainly) and Amazon Prime. As for Prime, I do not stream anything, I have it for buying physical things. I closed the Quobz because I was not using it. I have FLAC files for my ROON core.
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