Consumer expectations are changing the way merchants run their business, and there’s no better example than Dish Network.  Dish CIO John Swieringa’s recent comments on how the company’s IT group “tries to be a source of innovation for the company, not just an IT shop”, highlights innovations occurring around the subscription model and the monetization of content.  The company has worked closely with Recurly to enable agile subscription billing for their exciting offerings at Sling TV.  And, in a short time, Dish’s approach to streaming video has seen great initial success with more than 250,000 sign ups.

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Viewing alternatives and changing consumer tastes and preferences have contributed to fast growth of subscription-based streaming video offerings that complement cable TV.  No category has seen more adoption of subscriptions than streaming video.  According to a March report from BI Intelligence, subscriptions drove 70% of revenue for digital video companies in 2014 with the rest coming from advertising. 

Building Value with Consumers With success comes competition.  While the subscriptions approach has helped to build momentum, it also helps foster innovation around brand value and targeted pricing.  As consumers become more comfortable with online subscriptions, premium services are offering innovative concepts including special bundles, pricing options, and targeted customer discounts among others.  The subscription model provides a platform for businesses to better meet the needs of consumers.

And the subscription model has also spurred the creative minds of hardware companies as well.  Primarily a hardware company, GoPro is tapping into an underutilized source of content: its customers.  The company is primed to become a media brand providing subscription services both on the content storage side for GoPro users and as a provider of content to consumers.  And Fitbit on the heels of its recent IPO is looking to grow services, going beyond just being a wearables company.

Winning over and keeping consumers has always been a complicated race, and the smart companies are betting on subscription.