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What are the 5 Key Strategies to consider for Subscription Management?

8 min read

Subscription management entails handling your customer’s subscription lifecycle, which begins with initial trials, vouchers, subscription packages, and billing, and ends with customer service. While some companies prefer to build their custom tools, others outsource the entire operation to manage the subscription management process. When selecting vendors, it is essential to ensure that the vendors being evaluated have the necessary tools for you. Also, you should carefully deep dive into the details that are important for each stage of the user journey. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver a flawless user experience, and ease of use, to every customer. An error, either in registration flow or the overall management of a subscriber, could lead to churn. 

Vendors should be flexible and have well-thought-out processes in the underlying systems to enable a great user experience. A prominent example of being flexible is seamlessly allowing the customers to change tiers from one package to another if needed. Many subscription management vendors fail to provide this offering to their customers. 

There is no universal or standardized approach to building and managing a subscription platform. So how does one decide which route to consider? Companies need to continuously analyze the service to build a more complex commercial structure and understand how to leverage the service to their advantage for various subscription models. Here, we discuss five key strategies to explore and optimize your subscription platform.

Content

The level of variance within your content catalog, and the specific type(s) of content you offer, will influence the subscription model you provide for your customers. Answering a few simple questions such as: What is the willingness of a customer to pay for a service like yours compared to the range of services offered by Tier 1 companies like Netflix and Amazon? Does your content differentiate your service from your competitors through niche and/or exclusive genres/titles? How should the content be bundled? What would the pricing strategy be for various tiers/types of content (i.e. Live v.s. VoD, New Releases v.s. Classics)?

Features

How would each package differ in terms of the features provided? The two main things to consider for this question are end-user value perception and internal cost drivers. End-users value convenience and flexibility, as we humans always seek to make our lives as easy as possible; that’s how we are programmed. For instance, Netflix used the number of simultaneous users to differentiate its packages successfully.

The Tier 1 companies have set the precedent for what to expect when it comes to top-notch services. However, do you need to follow their steps? Not necessarily. Since the advanced features are a nice to have that initial subscribers don’t seek, you could offer a baseline package with minor features at a lower price to drive customers to a more limited service. Once you achieve your initial target number of subscribers, you could upsell and cross-sell features and functions.

Pricing and Plans

Several video service providers request complex models and make illustrious plans for their commercial setup. Setting a pricing plan can quickly get complicated, especially when many options are technically feasible today. Complex plans can confuse end-users and your internal team, and can make it difficult to create a strong marketing message. Therefore, the key to success with pricing and plans is to keep the customer communication, and subscription options, simple.

Consider Netflix, a global company that offers an easy-to-understand subscription model with a clear upselling opportunity. Netflix includes everything in each tier and then upsells different features and conveniences. One such convenience is an increased number of screens or devices you can use at the same time. Although, this is not only an added convenience for the end-user. This upsell actually serves Netflix favorably by encouraging more and more streaming to take place within their service.

Pricing plans also depend on the content you host and the type of audience you are attracting. If your catalog appeals to a broader audience, say to a family, then concurrent streams are more likely an interesting upsell. If you have a niche service that focuses on stunning visual content, then higher video quality could be something you offer to your customers. 

If you are just starting your service, we’d recommend keeping the pricing model simple, with one or two tiers and different layers of access. It is important to gain market share and confirm your overall business strategy before investing further in more complex features and premium tier options.

Value Creation

Creating value for your customers can be delicate in terms of content and functionality. To understand what distinct value to provide for your audience, conduct market research and create a value matrix of various content types and features. 

The first step is to identify your core audience and ask them to outline various areas of your offering in the matrix below. The criteria that end up in Differentiable Features (upper right box) are the factors/attributes for which your customers would have a high willingness to pay. 

The below matrix will enable you to easily figure out a pricing strategy. We have shared an example for your reference. When you are mapping out a scenario for this exercise, be explicit and conscious about what content is valuable for you so that users can help you make the distinction. For instance, if you own the national basketball rights in your country, mention it to your users.

*willingness to pay

Live

  • Basketball series
  • PGA tour
  • Concerts
  • BBC world 24/7 live channel
  • Exclusive programs

VOD

  • Movies
  • Clips
  • Series

Number of screens you can watch at the same time

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4
  • 8

Number of devices available for Offline content

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4
  • 8

Streaming hours per month

  • 10
  • 50
  • 100
  • 500

HD

  • HD
  • UHD

Personal profiles

  • Kid’s mode

Geographic Positioning

Does your service cater to the geographical region you are targeting? Are you interested in increasing exposure to attract global customers or more locally focused? What is the amount your users are willing to spend for your specific catalog and the features you provide? You can have great traction if your content is original, fun, and highly regionally specific. If you are targeting a particular geographic region, you may need to ensure that there is flexibility to change language settings depending on where your audience is based.

Accedo One can help you build an impactful video service with any subscription model you choose. Our team of experts can get your service to the market fast and provide you the ability to expand your platform by integrating new features depending on your customer needs. Accedo One gives you the ability to launch a video service while only paying for what you need, and enables you to grow and mature your service along the way based on data-driven insights.

Find out more about our powerful SaaS video platform here

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