You've heard of Pikes Peak or maybe Inspiration Peak.
In the media world, we've also talked about Peak Podcast, the condition where there are so many podcasts that people experience overload, decision stress. or just a belief about their inability to discover great shows because of their excess.
Make room for Peak Subscription, a condition we've talked about here in JacoBLOG for some time now. Our Techsurvey 2022, conducted way back in January, predicted we'd be here before too long.
After all, our mega-sample of more than 40,000 core radio listeners told us that nearly three-fourths subscribe to two or more video streaming subscriptions; six in ten are paying for at least one audio streaming service.
And even 10 months ago, a growing number of consumers was expressing concern about the rising numbers of subscriptions they were paying for. And that was before our current round of inflation had kicked in.
The findings are backed up by a new story in The Drum by reporter John Glenday.
Titled “US subscription fatigue is real, with consumers managing an average of 5 accounts,” Glenday reports on a new study from Bango, a mobile app payments company. In the study, more than seven in ten (72%) now say there are “too many” subscription services, exceeding what we saw in TS 2022.
Part of the issue isn't just the cost. The Bango survey of 2,500 Americans discovered nearly eight in ten (78%) long for a single app with the capability of managing all their subscriptions.
As Bango notes, the rising costs of subscriptions – especially in the face of costs going up on everything – have pushed Disney+ and now Netflix to launch lower priced tiers – with commercials.
That strategy, however, may be flawed. Bango says it may be more about simplicity – creating a “super bundle” of coveted services. Believe it or not, 63% say they'd pay even more for the convenience of not having to muddle through the administrative hassle of managing so many services.
Anil Malhotra, Bango's co-founder underscores the simplicity angle:
“Subscription users don’t want less choice, they want less admin. They’re tired of managing multiple services and multiple accounts, and paying multiple bills. What’s needed is not fewer subscription services, it’s a way to bundle all those subscriptions together. We need to focus on creating all-in-one solutions that give users the best prices, provide flexibility over bills and put subscribers first.”
What does this tell radio managers and strategists? First, the window of opportunity may be closing. While no U.S. stations that I know of have rolled out a subscription program, unlike Bauer Media in Europe, the chance to do so successfully is fading.
Instead, it appears to be about making things easier for consumers. For public and Christian stations soliciting donations and membership, perhaps it's a matter of bundling benefits. So when someone contributes to a certain threshold, they not only become a member but can save 10% at the local grocery store chain or perhaps a digital subscription to the local newspaper.
For commercial stations, it might be as easy as reviewing contests to ensure their methodologies are as simple as possible. It's always been smart to craft giveaways with as few “hoops” as possible. I continue to hear unnecessarily complicated contests, featuring too many rules and requiring more attention from listeners than may be realistic.
Consumers are spent – literally and figuratively. They're tired of being forced to pay for virtually everything in their lives. As some of you know, auto companies are looking for more ways to monetize their cars and trucks – after the sale. That means paying a monthly fee for basic conveniences like heated seats. That's what BMW has launched in some countries, but not yet in the States. For $18/month, you can enjoy the apparent luxury of having your butt warmed while you drive. (When will they start charging every time you open the sunroof?)
They call them microtransactions. But in reality, they are macro headaches for consumers. After years of paying for content from multiple creators, they need a break. And yet, more and more conveniences are becoming premium products.
Did I happen to mention broadcast radio is free? That's still a main reason why nearly six in ten (59%) core radio listeners continue to tune in.