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‘Fear of commitment’ stopping 40% digital subscribers in their tracks

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The boom in online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify has been one of the great success stories of the internet age. However, according to Worldpay’s latest Future of Digital Payments report a lot of consumers are not yet ready or are still unwilling to sign up – even if most are able.

With the number of digital content providers and subscription-based services continuing to grow steadily, it’s no surprise that a third of consumers have used online streaming services. Many people still have a fear of commitment when it comes to signing up for subscriptions however, with worries about value for money, ease of cancellation and security holding them back.

The Worldpay Future of Digital Payments Report surveyed 7,069 consumers across the UK, Germany, USA, China, India, Brazil and Japan in July and August 2015 with Morar Consulting.

The research found that 58% of consumers only want to pay for what they use and 47% say subscriptions can make it difficult to keep track of spending. More troubling, 39% don’t want to commit to an ongoing subscription and 34% of those who have signed up to a subscription service cancelled within six months.

The study also found that 30% believe subscriptions are bad value for money and that a quarter have concerns about the relative security of creating an account with an online subscription service, versus making a one-off payment.

Basic cost does not seem to be an issue, nor does the desire for digital content which continues to grow. However, the research found consumers would like to have greater control over the terms and conditions of their payments.

Kevin Dallas, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Global eCommerce  at Worldpay explains: “Subscription services for TV, music and movies are now hugely popular and avid users may be shocked to hear their value for money called into question, because those monthly subscriptions go a very long way if people are watching whole boxsets or several movies per month. But what this research found is laggards clearly need some convincing. To get everybody on board you need a greater range of customisable tariffs and payment options.”

Dallas adds: “Streaming and on-demand subscription models are quickly changing the way we consume content and shifting the balance of power in the entertainment and publishing industries over to consumers. While this market is only set to continue expanding, our research should serve as a flag to subscription providers that people are digging deeper into how they are being charged for content before signing up.

Consumers will become increasingly discerning as the market becomes more mature and subscription models become more flexible. Many content providers’ longevity will therefore hinge on their ability to structure services around peoples’ evolving expectations.”

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