As the media world continues to focus on instant access and mobility, consumers are choosing subscription services to rent movies, TV shows, games, and music instead of purchasing them. Since the advent of the digital revolution, consumers seem to place a higher demand on access to media, rather than actually owning it. Media subscription services are more popular than ever, and qSample decided to find out why people choose the services that they do.
A survey of over 500 consumers was fielded during the first weeks of June to gauge perception, attitude, and preferences on the subject of media subscriptions. The results indicated that price and variety were the leading factors in how consumers value subscriptions. While, “more options”, was the reason that 34 percent valued those services, 38 percent picked their subscription based on price. This could suggest that consumers are much more interested in options and price, than in image, service quality, and other factors. Our survey showed that 63 percent of media subscribers pay less than $20 for their services each month, or roughly $1.50 per day. That’s less than most people pay for coffee each morning. The survey also indicated that 89 percent of consumers use subscription services at least once per week. This would suggest that the vast majority are actually paying $1.50-$5 per week for each day they use their subscription, and up to $9 each week for the days that they’re not using those services.
Consumers preferred the subscription pricing system over all others. In fact, 57 percent chose subscriptions over the free (paid for by sponsors/ads), pay what you want, and freemium pricing systems. This could be due to the simplicity of subscriptions, a lower price point, or even the negative attitudes that people typically adopt towards commercials. It’s more likely that this is indication of the consumer’s increasing desire for access to media, instead of ownership.
Sponsors and advertisements do play a key role in how many people view media. 43 percent of consumers surveyed felt advertisements devalue TV and Movies. Another 24 percent thought that ads and sponsors devalue games and music, while 29 percent felt that advertisements didn’t lower the value of media at all.
Consumers use their subscriptions on many devices, but even with advancements in smartphone and tablet technology, our survey showed that 28 percent still prefer laptops. Unsurprisingly, digital was the most popular format, and it was also the most used, but 27 percent indicated that they still use physical subscription options such as CD’s and DVD’s which are mailed to them.
Google Play was perceived as having the highest value for audiophiles, but Spotify was only used by 6 percent. It was valued highly by just 4 percent. Interestingly, Netflix was chosen for having the most value, not just for TV watchers, but in the entire category of media subscription services. According to the survey, 56 percent felt that Netflix offered the highest value over all. Amazon Video on Demand was a distant second with only 10 percent, and only 5 percent preferred Redbox. An equal number of Gamers chose Playstation Plus and Xbox Live as the service with the most value, which may indicated that Microsoft is recovering from the difficult launch of the Xbox One.
This is the age of access. Technology has grown at a staggering rate, and consumers are no longer demanding to own their media as they did before. People embrace the subscription system for its ease and simplicity, but price and options are the factors that can make or break a subscription company. No one understands this better than Netflix, the king of the industry, but for competitors, innovation and insight into what the consumer really wants could overthrow Netflix’s rule. Let’s not forget what happened to Blockbuster. No one can stay on top unless they know their consumers.