Report: Digital Subscription Services Hold Steady

From digital news to e-learning, a majority of subscription-based services are holding their own amid the ongoing health crisis.

That’s according to new findings from subscription software company Zuora, which analyzed how the pandemic impacted subscription acquisition rates among approximately 700 businesses in March.    

Compared to the previous 12 months leading up to March, 53% of businesses did not see a significant impact to their subscriber acquisition rates.  

Among the remaining businesses, nearly one-quarter (22.5%) actually saw their subscription growth rates accelerate, with 12.8% experiencing slowing growth, while 11.4% witnessed subscriber churn outpace acquisition rates.

Businesses that saw an acceleration in their subscription growth rates include OTT video streaming services, publishers of digital news and media, e-leaning providers, and makers of communications software.



Standing out among this group, the subscription growth rate for OTT video streaming companies spiked by 700% in March, compared to the category’s growth rate over the previous 12 months.

“As people shelter-at-home, streaming services for entertainment have seen a spike in subscription growth with a huge surge in new sign-ups,” Tien Tzuo, founder and CEO of Zuora, notes in the new report.

To be fair, Tzuo added that many OTT video streaming services are boosting their subscription rates by offering extended free trials, and other promotions. The same applies to publishers of digital news and media, many of which are temporarily taking down their paywalls.

Partly as a result, the subscription growth rate for digital news and media subscriptions grew by 300%, during the analyzed period.

Those businesses seeing limited impact as a result of the COVID-19 crisis include providers of B2B and B2C software, and information services. Those witnessing a decline in subscription growth include makers of consumer IoT, business IoT services, and software for small businesses.

Finally, those businesses seeing their subscription rates decline include businesses in hard-hit industries, such as travel and hospitality, and sports-related services.
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