Streaming music companies have had uneven success shifting ad-supported listeners to more valuable paid monthly subscriptions, and this has created a drag on the entire digital music industry.
Paid-music streaming services account for a smaller share of revenue — and audience pool — than ad-supported versions.
We think penetration of paid subscription tiers have failed to achieve massive scale because the free ad-supported versions of the leading services — including Pandora internet radio, iTunes Radio, iHeart Radio, and Spotify — already offer deep music libraries.
In this new and exclusive report from BI Intelligence we look at how prominent players in five separate categories have tried to build a subscription-based revenue stream alongside ad-based businesses: the categories are video, music, news publishing, social networks/messaging, and dating apps.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Most companies operate on a “freemium model.” Subscriptions typically operate alongside an advertising business.
- Success in freemium boils down to offering a core audience exclusive value that can only be accessed beyond a paywall. The key is to target the most loyal audiences, and sell them on an expanded offering — bundles of features or content — that they find irresistible.
- Some publishers and apps have had mixed results with subscriptions, and vary in terms of how hard they have pushed them. Part of the problem is that ad-dependent companies are worried about limiting audience if they pack away too much value into a subscription tier.
- The proportion of paying subscribers within the total user base varies considerably across digital media industries. Each category is obviously different, and won’t face the same challenges and opportunities in dialling up the percentage of subscribers and subscription revenue. Here are some of the proportions of subscribers in apps’ user bases: Spotify (25%), WhatsApp (21%), Pandora (5%), Match Group (5%), The New York Times (3%), and LinkedIn (2%).
The report is full of charts, data, and case studies that can easily be downloaded and put to use.
In full, the report:
- Analyses the most common subscription-based digital media revenue models
- Explores the drivers that allows some subscription or freemium business models succeed
- Explains the revenue mix and business opportunity in several key digital media industries
- Outlines companies that have succeeded with subscription-based business models
NOW WATCH: Forget Kim Kardashian — the ‘butt selfie’ queen of Instagram is a 21-year-old from Long Island
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.