The Consumer Subscription Service Weirdness

Over the last few years we have seen a lot of change in the space of consumable media and revenue models — Software As A Service is now how a large number of business services are launched and run (at least in tech where I work); and now we are starting to see more and more consumer apps and services move to a subscription based model.

This switch seems like a great idea for mobile app devs; as it is a great recurring revenue that allows them to receive incentives to really invest in a product to make it great; as opposed to just focusing on getting the purchase and the install, or looking for a way to get more eyeballs for ads.

The problem that I have found with this as a consumer; is that we are still in a point where all personal app / web based subscriptions still come out of the same mental bucket. For example; when I pay for subscriptions in real life (like phone, internet, gym, etc) I view them as individual costs across multiple areas; not as a single bucket of costs that maxes out at a particular amount — I might try to optimize the cost of them individually, but I am unlikely to decide that I will stop having a gym membership because I would to up my phones data plan.

Apps and Subscription based websites are the opposite of this for me. In my head they all come out of the same bucket; so if you are a mobile running / fitness app that wants to charge $8 a month for your premium content; then you are essentially competing against Netflix for who has a better value proposition for my money.

One hack for this that has worked on me; is a yearly, non-auto repeat subscription (like Todoist); it takes a lot more social proof for me to buy than a monthly sub, but the total amount I spent for them is more than I would have spent if it was monthly.

What do you all think?

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