Paying full price doesn’t belong in this era and micro transactions are annoying. Let’s welcome subscription models. Or do we rather want to see them leave?
The trend in entertainment-land seems to be subscription models. From HBO and Crunchyroll to sportschannels that charge a monthly fee for their service. You give a ‘small’ compensation for their service, until of course all those small fees become a big fee and you can’t pay your rent anymore.
Of course not being able to pay the rent is a bit exaggerated, yet all those seemingly small prices can sum up to a large amount of money. When everybody decides to handle this payment plan many entertainment products will not be available to the public. The complete opposite when you want to reach as many consumers as possible with your fantastic product. But how did subscription models arise?
To answer this question we have to look back at how media was consumed years back. In the mid 20th century media wasn’t as widely available and a small amount of sales was good enough to become break even. Record stores, video stores and the likes were able to remain profitable because people needed to buy their media in actual concrete stores.
After some time, at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, internet and services such as Napster started to arise. Entertainment companies were flabbergasted and so began the ‘piracy propaganda’ we still face today. Copyright laws were adjusted and new ones came into place or proposed, to halt the massive exodus of the consumer to the internet stealing all those products. And despite everything, a lot of those entertainment companies still exist today, still making many millions. I will not propagate that they don’t deserve a fair share for their efforts.
Yet, the undeniable truth is that physical/traditional sales are not as profitable as before and companies are searching for other business models. Creating blockbuster products is a risky deal as there is no guarantee the product will become profitable or even reach a breakeven point. A subscription model guarantees a minimum amount of money that the companies can use to create content.
A great solution you would say, but when every publisher is implementing this model and they each charge 10 dollars a month and I want five channels I would end up paying 50 dollars a month. Excluding the fee I pay for the standard TV-subscription and online services such as Netflix or for anime Crunchyroll.
I see subscription models as a trend in which entertainment publishers try to find a fitting business model. They are testing ways that work out for them. Some will succeed such as HBO, but not all will make it to the finish. Entertainment publishers have to see for themselves that times are changing and the wallets of consumers aren’t filled with money all the time.