The ‘Subscription Economy’ Is Growing, And It’s Bigger Than Just Media

Paidcontent, 2/18/11

Tien Tzuo is CEO of Zuora, a subscription-billing company based in Silicon Valley. Previously, he was the chief strategy officer and chief marketing officer at

One of the biggest news stories this past week has been Apple’s plan to offer various forms of content via subscription, as well as Google’s answer to it in the form of its One Pass service. Yet, while the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) announcements are grabbing headlines, there’s a much bigger story here that goes beyond just these two announcements.

We are seeing a larger shift to a subscription economy that means a lot not just for publishers but for all companies.

More and more, our lives are wrapped around subscriptions, and that’s not just in online media. You can now subscribe to software (e.g., entertainment (e.g. Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), cars (e.g. Zipcar), computing power and storage (e.g. Amazon)—you name it. The relationship between people and businesses, and the products and services they use, is no longer a one-time event.

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