What Is Subscription Fatigue & How You Can Thrive Despite Its Risk?

What Is Subscription Fatigue & How You Can Thrive Despite Its Risk?

Here’s your guide to subscription fatigue and how you can prevent that in the future

Written by: Rashmi

The subscription model has become the most prominent alternative to the advertisement model in the past few years. Publishers have now realized that they don’t have to make advertisers the sole suppliers of their bread and butter. However, this model has a slight hiccup – subscription fatigue.

If you are a publisher and want to move to the subscription model, you must know about the looming danger of subscription fatigue on your business. By addressing this problem at the right time, you might save yourself a lot of effort and revenue.


What Is Subscription Fatigue?

In an ideal world, readers pay for what they are reading, and the publishers’ businesses keep thriving. However, this is only a utopian model. In the real world, an average reader pays for only two or three publishers. After that, the reader will stop taking any more subscriptions in that niche, which is called subscription fatigue.

To understand it better, let’s take the example of financial news media. Any person with interests in the financial world will subscribe to one international financial news source and one national financial news source. At best, he or she might consider taking a subscription of an additional ‘secondary’ national finance news source. Anything above that is going to cost a lot when considered on an annual basis.

This poses a threat to publishers who are planning to move to the subscription model but cannot secure a place as a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ news source.

Digital Subscriptions
Digital Subscriptions

Mitigating The Risk

To mitigate the risk of having no subscribers, the publishers should have alternative revenue streams. Down below, you can find some ways how you can build additional revenue streams:

Hybrid Paywall

The digital advertising world is very vibrant and buoyant. By relying on only the subscription model, you might be missing on a lot of opportunities. So, to get the best of both worlds, you can create a hybrid paywall for your content. In this model, readers can consume a few articles for free, but they have to take the subscription to read the highest quality work.

This freemium model leaves enough room for you to show different types of advertisements on your content. Not only will the free articles help you in getting the advertisement revenue, but they will also help you collect data about readers’ habits. Over time, you will know what type of content is generating the most revenue.


Usually, subscription is provided in 3 months, 6 months, and yearly packages. Understandably, an average reader does not want to burn a hole in his/her wallet by taking more than 2-3 subscriptions. Some publishers offer 1-month packages, but that can lead to a high churn rate as readers do not bother to renew subscription packages every month.

So, the most reliable solution to this problem is micro-payments for articles. You can charge small amounts of money (hence the name micro-payments) for single articles. The important thing to be noticed here is that micro-payments usually work for really premium articles that are written by writers with high authority. For this reason, micro-payments can not become the sole revenue for your business.

Getting The Timing Right

Before you take the leap of faith of moving from the advertisement model to the subscription model, you need to ensure that your readers are ready to pay for your content. If you can know when your readers are ready, you will be saving a lot of hassle for your business.

You can move to the subscription model when you have built your brand among the readers. This usually takes time, and hence young companies are at a disadvantage here. If you do not want to wait years or even decades to build the brand, you can niche down your category and serve a smaller group of people.

To increase the quality of your content, you have to make sure that your content publishing workflow is frictionless. Our Bold CMS makes the publishing process seamless and thereby encourages the publishers to focus on the editorial side instead of the technical.