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What Are Subscription Websites (And Why Are They Important)?

5 Mins read

Subscription-based businesses have been around for a long time. However, streaming services and other online subscriptions have disrupted traditional business models by giving consumers more options to choose from.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the leading digital subscription services and what makes them so successful. We’ll also explain why the subscription model is here to stay in an increasingly digital market.

What Are Subscription Websites?

Even before the days of the internet, people were familiar with traditional subscriptions like magazines and newspapers.

At the most basic level, a subscription could be any product or service you make regular payments to access.

With a coffee subscription, you’ll get a box of coffee beans each month. With a shaving subscription, they’ll send you razors and shaving cream.

As consumers continue to move online, businesses are finding more and more ways to sell them subscriptions.

Why Are Subscription Websites Important?

Subscription websites have grown dramatically over the last few years for several reasons.

First, digital subscriptions are easy for customers to work with. While earlier subscriptions were usually canceled via snail mail or over the phone, today’s subscriptions can be managed online. Canceling or editing the subscription is as easy as logging in and making a few clicks.

Providers also pull in new subscribers by giving them access to free trials or demos.

If you’re on the fence about Hulu, for example, you can simply start with a 30-day trial. That will give you more than enough time to decide before committing.

Finally, digital subscriptions streamline the process for both buyers and sellers.

From the provider’s perspective, subscriptions offer consistent, predictable revenue. The subscriber count might fluctuate from one month to the next, but it will usually stay in the same ballpark.

It’s much easier for companies to sell you subscriptions than to keep selling you new products. This minimizes marketing and sales costs, helping the provider maximize margins.

On the other hand, subscriptions also make sense for consumers. Instead of making repeat purchases, they can simply rely on the subscription for what they need.

Dollar Shave Club is a perfect example of the power of the subscription model. Buying the same products over and over was clearly an inefficient practice. However, it was once the only way for most people to get razor blades.

What About Streaming Services?

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are one of the main kinds of subscription website.

Today, Netflix alone now has more than 200 million subscribers.

The streaming video market grew by more than 15 times between 2011 and 2021. While anything could happen in the future, it’s a good bet that streaming will only continue to become more popular.

streaming subscription market growth 2011-2021

Streaming services have many of the same advantages of other subscription platforms.

At the same time, customers have also moved to streaming for some unique reasons.

With so much content out there, most consumers don’t want to pay for each individual show or movie.

Instead, they would rather pay a set monthly fee for unlimited access to their favorite content.

In the same way, companies want regular income instead of unpredictable revenue from individual sales or rentals.

What Are the Top Subscription Websites?


With respect to video streaming services, Netflix has been the industry leader since it announced streaming in 2007.

The platform has faced tough competition from alternatives like Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Max. Still, it has a strong lead over those competitors and other smaller platforms.

While Netflix initially focused on third-party movies and shows, original content has been key to its continuing dominance.

Netflix somehow released more than 100 different films in 2021 alone. That doesn’t even include its long list of 2021 original series including the incredibly popular Squid Game.


Spotify is the king of streaming services in general, with an active user count of over 400 million.

It offers an intuitive interface, impressive content library, and Duo and Family accounts that accommodate groups of up to six.

That said, Spotify’s share price tumbled by roughly 50% between November 2021 and March 2022.

Its poor performance is due to a combination of stiff competition and plateauing subscriber counts.

Spotify is also dealing with the fallout from its recent controversy with Joe Rogan.

Prime Video

Amazon’s Prime Video is another major subscription website.

There are a total of 200 million Amazon Prime subscribers worldwide. While every Prime subscription comes with Prime Video, only some Prime subscribers actually use Prime Video.

Prime Video is slightly different from other streaming services. Subscribers can access some content for free, but Amazon also offers premium shows and movies.

Even if you’re not a Prime member, you can still rent and buy premium content through Prime Video.

Disney Plus

Disney Plus burst onto the scene in late 2019 and is now one of the most popular streaming services. By March 2021, it had already reached an audience of over 100 million people.

With Disney’s unmatched library of content, it was only a matter of time before they moved into streaming.

Even so, Disney hasn’t been satisfied with relying on old classics. Since the platform’s launch, Disney has developed originals like The Mandalorian to keep customers coming back.

Disney Plus provides affordable pricing at just $7.99 per month. It also stands out due to its generous approach to password sharing.

Netflix and Spotify both limit subscribers to a default of one stream at a time. On the other hand, Disney Plus members can stream on up to four devices at once. They can also create seven unique profiles and download content on as many as ten devices.


Disney Plus focuses on an exclusive library of first-party content, while Prime Video comes with every Amazon Prime membership. That makes Hulu the closest subscription service to Netflix.

While it’s far behind Netflix in terms of scale, Hulu is still focusing on original content. The Handmaid’s Tale and Letterkenny are just two of the most successful recent examples.

Hulu has also benefited from being acquired by Disney in 2019. It is now available through the Disney Bundle, which comes with Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus.


With customers moving to streaming in favor of cable, it was inevitable that cable channels would have to follow.

HBO Max is HBO’s attempt to connect with a traditional TV audience outside of the traditional TV model.

HBO has a deep selection of movies plus original shows like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos.

This is just one example of how the subscription business model is forcing even established brands to adjust their strategies.

Final Thoughts

Subscription services are more convenient than ever in the digital age.

From newspapers and magazines to shows, movies, music, and podcasts, consumers are getting content through their computers and phones.

While subscription fees can add up quickly, you can save money by sharing a single account with other users. Each platform has its own rules, but subscriptions usually allow at least some account sharing.

The Gowd marketplace makes it easy to find people who are interested in sharing subscriptions securely.

Check out our website to see how much you could save on your favorite digital subscriptions.

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