Why does everyone hate “VIP inflation”?

As a senior user of Himalayan, after so many years, the first time I encountered the situation where the page was crowded.

On August 13th, Himalaya FM and more than ten brands jointly launched the "Buy 1 Get 13" membership activity . iOS users only need to pay 268 yuan (Android 218 yuan) to get Himalaya FM, iQiyi, Tencent Video, One-year VIP rights for products such as NetEase Cloud Music and JD.com. Not long ago, this popular event officially ended.

▲ The event page was once "paralyzed"

Almost a month later, a video content practitioner said when reviewing the case: "At first, we thought it was a gimmick. It might be buying Himalaya FM's 1 year VIP and giving other brands 1 month's VIP for drainage." Himalaya has launched a super big move this time, and a considerable part of the VIP rights of other products are for one year.

How big is the super big move

▲ Over 100,000 copies sold in 1 hour

Take NetEase Cloud Music as an example. The original price of the vinyl VIP annual card on the iOS side is 240 yuan, and the discounted price is 178 yuan. The continuous annual subscription price is 108 yuan. The price of Tencent Video VIP Annual Card is 198 yuan on the web side, and the gold VIP member on the iqiyi web side is 198 yuan. JD iOS PLUS members have a preferential price of 149 yuan.

In this comparison, the 268 yuan "Buy 1 Get 13" membership activity launched by Himalaya FM on the iOS side can be said to be quite worthwhile, and it is normal for the activity page to be crowded.

It's really rare for so many brands to make such a big deal at a loss. Interestingly, just a few days after the event started, the CEO of iQiyi publicly announced that iQiyi provides users with high-quality content, and the membership price is too low. Similar views have been mentioned by the person in charge of many content platforms.

While frantically discounting and shouting price increases, what happened to the VIPs?

"Discounted" VIP

▲ IQIYI Gold VIP member privileges

As soon as I heard that I was about to write an article on VIP, several colleagues immediately provided me with a wealth of materials using Tucao.

After the VIP, there is a gold VIP, and after a gold VIP, there is a super VIP. I seriously doubt that there will be any diamond VIP or crown VIP.

It is said that VIP is free of ads, and then it becomes free of title ads, and then ads are inserted in the middle of the video. VIP free in-stream advertising? Sorry, please upgrade Super VIP.

Buying VIPs is to be able to watch paid resources. As a result, new popular TV shows have to be paid in advance, which is a bit ugly.

I remember that the VIP of music before can download the VIP music to listen offline. When I renew, click on download, prompting me to download and open another member.

In the past, music VIPs could listen to singers’ new songs, but now many of them have to charge, and VIPs are not privileged at all.

In the spit, a bucket of KFC family bucket was wiped out by us. According to this spit rhythm, it is estimated that a few more buckets will be enough.

VIP price discount is a conventional promotion method, but now VIP services are also discounted along with the price.

"Isn't this VIP inflation?" said the colleague who still had tomato sauce on his lips.

Why is VIP inflation?

▲ All member types of iQiyi

VIP is a very small point of our big economy.

Everything is inflated, such as food, drink, and housing. It is almost impossible to buy at the prices of the year.

For example, when we were young, we thought that fifty cents was a huge sum of money and could buy several kinds of snacks. For children nowadays, there are very few snacks available for fifty cents.

VIP is not like other products. For example, this package of snacks sells for 5 yuan today and 6 yuan tomorrow. As long as it does not exceed the price bureau’s regulations, it is also possible to sell 7 yuan the day after tomorrow. Consumer behavior occurs in a relatively short period of time. If there are no food safety issues later, the connection between the two parties will actually be terminated the moment the consumer leaves the store. Therefore, the price adjustment has no effect on the current customers. The same customer comes to shop again and finds that the price of things has increased. It will not be too difficult to accept.

However, after purchasing a VIP, it is a long-term continuous content consumption behavior. During the entire process of users enjoying the VIP, the cost of the operator is also rising. In other words, the content operator needs to use the money earned yesterday to cover today's cost. Unless paying users grow rapidly, this business model is difficult to balance in the highly competitive content industry . This is because when consumers buy, the operators must come up with sincere prices to compete. For example, the CEO of iQiyi said in an interview: "There has been no price increase for so many years, mainly because of competition."

▲ Simplified diagram of the buyout system content payment model, using yesterday's money to cover today's cost

In order to maintain its own competitiveness, the subsequent investment of content operators will generally be further increased. To solve the loss problem in an ideal way, the selling price of VIPs should be continuously increased. This adjustment should be dynamic, such as 12 yuan this month, 15 yuan next month, and 18 yuan next month.

But here comes the problem. Many people buy their VIP for a period of time, such as three months, six months, one year, etc. That is to say , the moment the consumer buys, the operator loses the bargaining price within the user’s VIP period Right .

What's more frightening is that content operators are caught in a vicious circle. In order to get more people to pay, they have to pay again and again to create explosive IP content, and if they follow the previous VIP payment strategy, the cost cannot be recovered. Because the market is changing, and the content production is an extremely long process from proposal to finalization to production to final launch. It is difficult to predict when the money is collected half a year ago that there will be several huge investments in half a year or a year later. New project.

How is VIP inflation?

▲ Paid advanced on-demand

After giving a considerable amount of rights, it is difficult to promote the price increase of VIP.

If you say "Hey, now the cost has increased, and you need to add extra money from the fifth month" to a user who has purchased a VIP for a year, it is estimated that the 12315 call will be blown.

And what if VIPs are weakened in disguise ? For example, before the video start and end ads can be exempted, it can only be exempted from the introductory ads, and cannot be exempted from the introductory ads. It is estimated that the spit on Weibo can drown the content operators. For example, some apps have done the cancellation of some privileges, and finally paid Users scold, free users scold, and passersby scold.

Since VIP makes users very happy, then add some points that make users unhappy, and then charge more expensive fees to solve the new unhappy points, wouldn't it be "good"? This is the "golden idea" of some content operators.

Therefore, adding advertisements to the content has become one of the most advantageous options-VIP privileges have not changed. What has changed is the addition of interstitial ads. Interstitial ads must be exempted with a new package, "perfect"!

How to cover today's costs with the money collected today? The content created by the new project is paid and on-demand!

And music VIP is also this routine. From the beginning of the old and new VIPs, you can only listen to the previous VIP tracks. From being downloadable at any time and permanently stored for repeated offline listening, it becomes the downloadable offline listening during the VIP period. But the VIP expires as soon as it expires, even if the downloaded song lies in the app intact.

There is also a routine that makes people hard to guard against. For example, I recently recharged an audio app’s VIP. Indeed, the on-screen advertisement was eliminated, and the advertisement at the beginning of the audio disappeared, but within 3 seconds after opening the audio app, the carousel picture It is automatically expanded to display a dynamic video ad on the entire screen, and it cannot be skipped manually like open screen wide, and this type of ad has never been shown in the few years I have not recharged the VIP .

But on the other hand, if the content operators want to make money for new large projects, if they still cover the cost with the money of the previous users to purchase VIPs, and in the end there is only a blood loss, then these high-cost projects must be charged extra, ahead of time. New advertisements have been added to promote new types of VIP recharge and other means, even if they are scolded, it is better to be scolded than bankrupt.

What exactly are you buying a VIP?

▲ iQiyi is listed on NASDAQ

When you buy a VIP, the content operator actually only wants you to unlock its past.

What does that mean? The moment you buy it, it means that most of your content consumption in the future will be from previous resources, such as TV shows a few years ago, movies more than ten years ago, etc. When new scarce resources come out, you have to Pay for it.

So this is the biggest contradiction between users and content operators. What the content operators actually think is that we provide you with long-term old resources plus some new resources that are not scarce. What users think is that I can enjoy it with peace of mind. "Before" and "Future".

You see, there is a contradiction.

Users will scold the content operators for being ugly. I have already paid for it once, so why do you still charge me?

The content operators have a hard time saying that each new project has more investment than one, and the operating cost is higher year by year. The money collected in front cannot cover the higher and higher costs now, and the annual loss, if not telling stories in the capital market, Can't hold on at all.

This contradiction appears to be unsolvable at present and will continue forever.

Is the VIP price increase reliable?

▲ Many people love Netflix's payment model

Not long ago, the CEO of iQiyi said: "Our monthly membership fee is 19.8 yuan/month. This is the result of my discussion with Yang Xianghua nine years ago… This price is still too low."

I believe that many content practitioners have seen the contradiction. The best solution is to calculate a more reasonable VIP package price, which can cover the investment of the next year or so and a certain percentage of profit. Then the content provider Shen Focus on polishing the content and enter a virtuous circle .

For example, the original one-year VIP was priced at 180 yuan. Based on the input and cost of the previous years, the annual VIP would have to be sold for 380 yuan to cover the next input cost. Then a VIP of about 400 yuan was set for sale.

But there are several problems here. First of all, when a competitor still sets a price of 180 yuan, and raises the price to 400 yuan, it is obviously not competitive. Whether it can survive the moment is a question.

Secondly, does the 400 yuan charge guarantee that the long-term costs can be covered? not necessarily. When the market changes, it may be necessary to increase investment, or the size of the market suddenly shrinks, and investment shrinks. It may not need 400 yuan to make a profit, but it will be difficult to adjust the price later to maintain competitiveness. The users are all offended.

At present, many content operators have given this kind of high-priced VIP option. For example, the Star Diamond VIP members launched by iQiyi can enjoy free advance on-demand and enjoy all resources within the time limit.

With the increasing awareness of content copyright, future content consumption must go in the direction of "big VIP" . Pay a higher fee to enjoy all resources, including the past and the future. There are not so many yaozi and The routine is in it, and at the same time more affordable VIPs will also exist to satisfy different users.

It’s just that consumers’ trust in merchants has long been riddled with holes. This requires merchants to take the initiative to "heal" with practical actions and full sincerity. Do not increase the price. The cost is covered. After the super VIP, the solar system VIP is created. Even the VIP of the galaxy came to "second harvest" .

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Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo