Subscription or none: Good content deserves to be paid for The future of premium content consumption will depend on solving its access, enabling frictionless payments, and providing choice to consumers

The rise of digital subscriptions for Indian news publishers is a fairly new phenomenon – a shift that started almost a decade ago in the US. The New York Times (NYT) is a pioneer with over seven million paying subscribers. The Financial Times (FT), a US-based business daily, has over a million subscribers

India followed the US, hoping to replicate the same success that NYT and FT have. But, that’s going to be almost impossible for Indian publishers. The biggest reason is low spending capacity. The average consumption expenditure is just ₹2,909 per person per month amongst urban Indians, and ₹1,524 ppm in rural areas. Compare that to subscriptions, it costs at least for Rs 200, and can go up to Rs 500, or more, for a month.

But, that doesn’t mean that Indians aren’t ready to pay online. For over a decade, ecommerce and digital payments have paved the path to digital payments and its familiarity. There are over 250 million people buying goods online, and around 450 million making payments through platforms like Paytm and PhonePe. But, they only buy and pay for what they want. 

Ecommerce enabled choices, a wider selection and convenience. Payment companies did the same thing. 

Content – whether it is news or videos or music – will have to follow the same pattern, if content providers have to unlock a large revenue potential. Millions will pay for what they want, if not forced to dole out large amounts for subscriptions. A recent report, by Boston Consulting Group, shows that 59 per cent of Indians (who take subscriptions) are not willing to pay the same amount or more. 

While some content platforms have enabled pay-per-view for their own content, that doesn’t really solve the bigger problem, of multiple subscriptions, multiple payments, and multiple logins and passwords, and limitless access. 

Growth in revenue directly from users, for content, will be spearheaded and fastened with the use of technology – where easy access is granted to everyone through unification of content platforms, convenience through universal payment mechanism, and choice to pay for what they want. 

TSB will enable all of this, with its universal login, universal payment platform, easy payments (faster than UPI), and enabling choice and a wider selection for consumers. 

We will be launching soon, for YOU.