The success of Netflix is a significant lesson for any business operating in the subscriptions industry. Alongside Spotify and even new products from iTunes, digital services are now very much operating in a subscription atmosphere. The overall consumer trend is towards renting and instant access, not owning data or content.
Which is why it’s not surprising to see similar deals happening elsewhere. Oyster, a New York-based start-up building the Netflix version of a library, has just received a new $US14 million funding round, according to the New York Times.
The business works by having customers pay $US9.95 per month, which then gives them access to hundreds of thousands of books on an iPhone or iPad. Already one of the big five publishers, HarperCollins, is signed up, but the other four are still yet to be convinced. Multiple smaller publishers have signed up as well.
As the industry continues to move more heavily towards eBooks, this type of Netflix-esque service could have significant traction. But it also serves as a sign for how digital content will be packaged and sold in the future. As consumers begin to grow less attached to physical objects, enterprises must respond by providing better value.
Subscription services are hardly new, but their popularity in entertainment serves as a significant lesson. As the always-on consumer demands different types of models for content, businesses will have to adapt not only in how products are structured, but in an environment where content is expected to be access instantaneously – and for a decent price.
Facebook’s new reading app
The number of aggregation services on various App Stores has exploded in recent years. From apps like Flipboard to Instapaper and Pocket, these apps are built on the idea of saving content for a later time and then present it in an interesting way.
Which is why Facebook is rumoured to be launching a similar service this month. According to Recode, the product comes from the same team which built the iconic Facebook News Feed and will be designed to boost readership – and presumably, advertising views.
All will depend on how much customisation will be permitted within the app itself, but certainly there has been a trend towards these types of aggregation services and monetisation. Pinterest is ripe for a catalogue-style monetisation model while Flipboard has already instituted a model whereby readers can buy products through the app itself.
The question remains whether users simply want another reader service to aggregate data. Actually implementing tools they will use to buy products, search for new information and provide value will be the bigger challenge.