Subscription Fatigue — Why everybody loses (II)

Cosmin Ene
3 min readMar 12, 2023


You can’t build trust and loyalty by hitting people up with subscriptions.

You build trust and loyalty by giving people a choice of how to consume and pay for content. A subscription in its current form is not a choice — it is a condition. It turns an opportunity into a commitment. And most people don‘t want to commit. It is like marrying before the first date.

If publishers hit up consumers with paywalls, everytime they want to consume, they get tired of it. That’s subscription fatigue. (If we are being honest, we are all tired of it.)

It‘s a lose — lose — lose situation:

The consumer is frustrated. They leave the site and likely won‘t return, since 69% of consumers avoid sites which they remember have paywalls.

The publisher loses the chance to engage the consumer and make money. After all, 98% of an audience will never subscribe.

Democracy loses the chance to inform a member of society. And so, democracy slowly dies behind paywalls.

We all lose.

So, the next time you come across an article that you’re interested in, but it’s behind a paywall, remember that you’re not alone. The publishing industry needs to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. If they want to keep consumers engaged, they need to focus on user centricity and provide an experience that consumers will love.

As a publisher, look at it from the user’s perspective:

You can‘t lose a subscription you‘ll never get — but you can make money with the 98% who‘d never subscribe.

In my next article, we’ll explore what people actually do with their subscriptions. Stay tuned.

This is a series of articles that explores where creators and publishers are today — and where the media as we know it needs to go in the short term. I’ll provide solutions and concepts for how to change the status quo at the end of the series.

About Cosmin

Cosmin Ene has a wide spectrum of experience in monetization for content providers. For the last 8+ years he has worked with a broad swathe of publishers — from bloggers to local media to national and international publications — including the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, The Boston Globe, and Der Spiegel. Cosmin also has profound experience generating revenues from contributions for content creators and artists, having worked together with industry luminaries like Nick Knight. Recognizing that people’s digital content consumption habits have fundamentally transformed traditional business models, he advises publishers and content providers on how best to embrace user-centricity in order to remain profitable and to succeed in the 21st century.`



Cosmin Ene

Founder/CEO Supertab. All about giving users choice and making it easy for them to buy content.