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Subscription Fatigue is a real thing

subscription fatigue

hI don’t know about you guys, but feel like I’m being fleeced every time I get my credit card bill. Between Netflix, Hulu, and Apple Music, I am starting to come down with a serious case of subscription fatigue— as in, I’m tired of paying all of these “little monthly charges” that add up to a lot.

That’s not even including a couple beauty subscriptions I’ve acquiesced to, and Photoshop, which used to be software that I owned, and now is something I have to rent. With new gaming and media platforms coming from Apple, Disney, and NBCUniversal, it seems clear that the my wallet is something everybody wants a recurring piece of.  

According to a recent Deloitte study, 47% of US consumers say they’re frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want. And all these streaming services know how to get us to keep paying: With exclusive content that you can’t find anywhere else (hence, the absurd sum of money that Netflix paid to keep Friends exclusive to their platform, or the Beychella documentary I can hardly wait to watch this weekend).

The study also revealed that the people subscribe to an average of three video streaming services, they’re growing frustrated with how many options there are, and how the costs are starting to mount. I’ll add to that: Once you’re hooked, it’s hard to get out… even if they start to creep the monthly fee up a dollar or two).

I know that it’s not only hurting my wallet, but it’s hurting industry as well. For example, the new Apple News+ announcement is like a dream come true for me— access to dozens of magazines for only $9.99/month. But I can’t help but feel like I’m putting nails in the coffin of a medium that I love. How can magazines survive if Apple cannibalizes their physical product with their subscription business? And then there’s music: We used to spend twenty dollars to purchase one album… now we can rent bazillions of songs for only ten dollars a month. It seems like a harbinger for what’s happening in TV, film and print… with video games next on the chopping block.

This past week I shot a bunch of videos for the cable industry (I’ll have links up soon to the videos we made for their website!) and they were all about cord cutting— trading your cable subscription for streaming devices and services. I can see the appeal: Yes, cable subscriptions are expensive, and often we’re paying for a ton of content we don’t watch. But do people who threaten to cancel their cable really know what they’re getting themselves into? By the time they pay all these monthly subscription charges, buy a streaming device and “over the top antenna” (necessary if you want to still watch local news and broadcast TV), and upgrade their internet connection… will they have spent more than they used to spend on cable?

I get that we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but it feels sad to me. Buying a CD or a DVD feels quaint and silly now, and we’ll never go back to “owning” our media. Still, I feel like I’m at my breaking point: How many subscription services can you afford, or are you willing to pay for? Are you getting subscription fatigue?

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