The danger of subscription services, the paywall era trap

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Showmax free without a subscription. Image used for illustration purpose only. Image does not align with the contents of the article.

Paywalls or subscription services are the now, – as corporations move towards catering to users with ad-free options while also maintaining the products traditional pedigree, as a means to retain and pacify occurring transformation.

You see it everywhere, X, formally known as Twitter with its small deliberate movements towards their paid version, X Premium.

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TikTok is also working on offering a paid for subscription service which may cost around $4.99, all to give the option of no ads.

The paywall is here, and most South African publications have started aggressively canvassing for more subscribers.

The benefit 

The subscription service is fast transforming the way users access and explore content, but the overall impact has some unintended pitfalls.

The upshots are easily pinpointable as subscription services often offer exclusive and high-quality content, which includes streaming shows, news articles, and educational resources and at the top of it all, an add-free experience.

On top of the ability to personalize subscription options by customizing content recommendations based on your preferences, other benefits include access to exclusive content and priority treatment.

The pitfall

The first pitfall is that accumulated subscription services can be expensive.

The looming issue is fragmented content causing a digital divide and limiting access to valuable information including entertainment.

Users who cannot pay will continue to receive below-par service in the form of limited access to content and information.

A major downside for users globally will be the controlled information restricted to only a certain group.

A limited range of perspectives will be a result as information will only be available to a select few with like minds.

User fragmentation

This ultimately means a challenge formed online due to a limited range of perspectives and information as a result of paid-for gatekeeping.

The conclusion

The domino impact of subscription services will be complex.

Users gain access to high-quality, ad-free content but stand to lose their information freedom, their voice, and are more likely to be impacted by the rising costs and limited accessibility to certain services.

The age of subscriptions is here and it remains the users’ discretion to weigh options and make sound decisions before clicking the subscribe button more likely to carry you into a whirlwind of comfortable features that will be very hard to let go.

Also read: Why was he slapped if Will Smith and Jada separated? We ask ChatGPT

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