Yesterday I wrote about the addictive qualities of Netflix, and how their formula is working on a personal level. Netflix seems to be a hit with others as well.

I heard about Netflix’s corporate success on a recent webinar I watched that promoted the benefits of subscription services. The presenter, Stu McLaren, was sharing information on the growth of membership sites and how recurring purchase plans have become the new form of commerce. It gives a whole new meaning to “it keeps going and going.”

Consider this diagram that he showed. In a span of seven years, Blockbuster went from $6 billion in sales to bankruptcy, while in that same period Netflix went from nearly nothing to almost $7 billion in sales. 

And it’s not just Netflix. Recurring memberships are now available in almost every product category: groceries, software, videos, music, razors, pet food, cosmetics, clothes, wine, flowers, beer — you name it. And an even greater number of membership sites revolve around on-line learning: how to become a better artist, how to train your dog, how to cook healthy meals in under 20 minutes, how to build membership sites, etc. etc. etc. 

Think of how your organization can capitalize on this new form of purchasing. Can you offer educational content in a subscription format? Do you have products or services that you can provide on an on-going basis? What about creating a community that others will pay to join?

Before you dismiss membership sites as a small market fad, take another look at the Netflix/Blockbuster graph and consider which line you choose to follow.

beth triplett

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