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Why loyal binge-watchers are good for business

Sunday, March 17, 2024

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A few years ago, I worked with a moderately successful subscription site. Digging into the subscriber data, I noted an odd behavior amongst a seemingly disloyal loyal fan base.

These people would sign up for a subscription, spend a month trawling the archives, and then quit.

Sounds normal.

But ... they would return to the site a few months later and repeat the process. Some could be seen repeating this behavior over almost the entire lifespan of the subscription paywall.

We'd already tagged the "buy a subscription, download everything and run" brigade "Raiders." These we tagged as "Loyal Raiders."

(Before you ask, no amount of loyalty nudges would do anything to keep them on site. This was a definite course of action they were committed to.)

This will make me unpopular in some circles, but Loyal Raiding is a healthy behavior we shouldn't discourage. Owning a Netflix subscription AND a Disney+ AND an Amazon Prime (etc) subscription is an expensive hobby. Frankly, there aren't enough hours in the day to enjoy it all at once. Focusing on one service at a time makes economic and entertainment sense. Better to subscribe for a month to binge your favorite Netflix series and then do the same to Disney+ next month.

Yes, you might miss out on that immediate hit of seeing it as it lands. You might also be left a little adrift of certain memes and conversations that follow the immediate release. Yet the way Fandom works, you will always find people willing to share in the joy or horror of your new experience years after it was first released.

For subscription service execs looking to turn Loyal Raiders into Loyal Subscribers, don't. The subscription company tried and failed. Each new barrier and nudge pushed more of them away, never to return.

Better to accept these customers are showing their loyalty in their own way and thank them for their custom.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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