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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.

2-OppoBDP203

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:

ETgoogleHOME posts on June 25, 2022 21:51
I like the a la carte subscription model a lot more than the billion-channel satellite or cable packages of days past. The only place it lacks is sports, which forces you into the cable-style streaming services if you absolutely have to have them, which again have tons of channels of which I'm only likely to watch 2 or 3. I'm just slowly changing my lifestyle and consumption habits, realizing that I don't need to see every game, every play.

For movie lovers who want to watch more than just the big blockbusters, services that are a bit more niche like the Criterion Channel and MUBI have been blessings, as have been the pay-per-view services like VUDU, Prime Video, etc. I used to get a bit frustrated at reading all of the glorious reviews for a independent and/or foreign film that I might never see, but now they are all at my fingertips.

I am looking forward to Bally Sports a la carte. Would like to see the Premier League fully a la carte. I'm about to move, and YouTube TV is the first service to go. For me, the essentials are Criterion, MUBI, Disney+, and Netflix.

Also, why so much disdain for physical media in some of these articles? For me, reliability in my audio or audiovisual experience is paramount, and spinning discs, so long as you take care of them, are the best way to ensure that reliability. I also like physical products, but I live the hybrid life and enjoy physical digital products as well as streaming. There's good in all of it.
CostAvoidance posts on June 11, 2022 08:44
“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.“ Typically not so subtle political opinion heard and viewed on Audioholics website and youtube videos.

Its hard to find a more left leaning group of professionals than physicians, so I give the writer a pass for his belief system. But he still earns a hard “FAIL” form me for expressing his bias on this website.

Signed,

ENT physician at a nearby university
snakeeyes posts on June 01, 2022 11:18
I think the NFL + streaming channel will be out in July they say. Local NFL games not every game.
SithZedi posts on June 01, 2022 10:25
Content is king. With few exceptions, movie scripts and story lines are way below an already low bar around 10 years ago. Also, an important factor is that Hollywood “star” power is nothing like it was as most of them have been exposed as hypocritical frauds with an extra dolloping of sanctimony. They should have also stayed out of politics since as soon as you open your mouth you alienate 50% to 80% of your potential audience, no matter what side.

The recent success of Top Gun should point the way if Hollywood was a properly run business. Do not discount foreign films either. Americans can be lazy iro subtitles but give them a chance. Some of the greatest directors of all time were not American; Fellini, Bergman, Renoir, Leone, Kar Wai Wong, Bertolucci, on and on. Remember, if not for the exodus of film talent from Europe in the 1920s and 30s, Hollywood history would be greatly reduced. As for “foreign” story lines, well we learn about our differences but also our similarities with the world.
BMXTRIX posts on June 01, 2022 09:59
The reason I hate cable: Most of their content sucks.
The reason I hate streaming: Most of their content sucks.

We have ALWAYS been in a subscription model since the early days of cable TV. Want cable? That'll be $XX.XX Want HBO? That's extra. Want Showtime? That's extra.

Want Disney+? THAT'S EXTRA!
Want Netflix? THAT'S EXTRA!

How is this any different than what we have been doing for the last forty years? Yes, it is ‘streaming’ and ‘on-demand’ these days. But, cable has had the DVR for years now. I rarely watch live anymore, and if I do, I often jump between shows so I can rewind and skip commercials.

We still have cable. I can't see getting rid of it. Live sports is a big reason, but the variety and spontaneity of having a movie I haven't seen in a while come up, or just throwing on an old favorite is pretty nice.

Likewise, those who couldn't seen that Netflix was in trouble from day one was pretty short sighted. Short term, Netflix put themselves out in front because they setup a model that nobody else could touch. Short term. Long term, it was inevitable (IMO) that everyone would copy their model. TV stations already were creating original content, so why would they give it to Netflix instead of just releasing it to their customers directly? Cut out the middleman? Then, everyone else follows suit. Suddenly, ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, Discovery, Home & Garden, TFN (The Flamingo Network), TNT, etc. all have their own direct to you streaming service for $5, 10, 20, or more every single month.

Then, as we always do… we complain. We end up paying just as much as we did for cable, but now we don't care about, or have already watched, 99% of the content on that paid service.

JUST LIKE WE SAID 40 YEARS AGO!!!

This is all such a funny concept. So inevitable. So truly unsolvable. The solution would be to make all content free, make it all streaming on demand, and make it all ad supported… Just like we had fifty+ years ago (when we only had 4 channels). Which, of course, would suck.

There really isn't a good solution. Pay for every individual show? No, that would likely cost more than what most are paying right now, and cut down on variety. They aren't going to hook me on a new show when I won't pay a dollar to just ‘try it out’.

Netflix gets my money as does Verizon every month. Not sure I am willing to spend one cent beyond that at this point.

My kids NEVER watch TV. They are happy with their YouTube stuff and video games. Will be interesting to see what happens when this generation gets into their forties.
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