Media firms turn to online subscription

Gordon Rawling
06 Apr 2011


We are seeing organizations across the sector quietly working together in coopetition for survival. ‘YouView’ is a great example. UK terrestrial TV organizations are all working together in a bid to remain viable in this age of digital convergence, where customers can watch one of hundreds of television channels over the internet, on a phone, in a park, at the click of a button.

With so many links in the new media-consumption chain, how can traditional media content providers profitably survive? Media fragmentation and increased availability of content across multiple channels has led to greater consumer choice and higher expectations for personalized content to be delivered over any device at any time.

Media companies are currently experimenting with how to finance and provide such services as, without personal data, there can be no personalized offerings. The debate rages around how to gather this profitably, appropriately and securely, with paywalls being introduced for online newspapers while other media are discussing the benefits of micro-payments as against long-term subscriptions. The chosen system cannot alienate users, and none has yet been found to be superior to another.

Research house Vanson Bourne recently found that nearly half (46%) of Europe-based media companies can’t process straightforward subscription payments easily. Only 16% are able to provide insight into individual customers’ behavior to ensure products and services are targeted effectively. While media firms tackle these challenges, one thing is for sure -- if organizations are not able to collect, process and understand customer data to drive profit, they will not prosper.

Some companies see the need for a balancing act between user registration, personalized content and partnerships with potential competitors to deliver users what they want.

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