Author Topic: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?  (Read 635 times)

Smokystache

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Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« on: August 10, 2017, 10:19:06 AM »
TL/DR version: I want to sell videos to businesses, but some donít have wifi. Do I stick with a smaller customer base and insist on internet delivery to use a subscription model or expand my customer base by providing the videos on flashdrives?

The (fictitious) product: Letís say I have a series of videos that talk about car safety and maintenance topics. Iíd like to market these videos to car repair shops to show in their waiting rooms. Letís assume that Iíve already validated the concept and some repair shops see value in the videos and are willing to pay for them. My role/job is to create professional looking videos with engaging content and the shop uses their own TV/screen on which to play the video. 

Pricing Model & Delivery:
Hereís the problem. In an ideal world, Iíd like to sell this based on an annual subscription model. Using made up numbers, the shop pays $495 each year to access the videos which are delivered through internet access. Using a username/password, the shop logs in and plays the video on their screen/tv from the internet. When the year is up, I have the power to remove the video if the shop doesnít extend their subscription.

The other advantage of internet delivery is that I can update the videos at any time, add/revise content, and can easily customize the videos (e.g., include the shopís logo or other information to make the videos more customized to each shop).

I also sell printed materials that match the videos (e.g. pamphlets, booklets, advertising, etc.). Because the printed materials help drive sales, they are very popular. It would be rare that someone would want the video, but not want any printed materials too.


The Problem:
But letís say my research tells me that only about 40% of shops are set up with wifi. If I stick with my internet delivery/subscription model, I am immediately reducing my pool of potential customers by 60%.

A Possible Solution & complications:
One solution is to create the video for the shop and send it to them on a flash/thumb drive. They plug the drive into a TVís USB port and play the video from the flash drive (some TVs have this ability Ė cost, maintenance of TV is up to shop Ė I donít want to get in the hardware business).
This opens up all shops as potential customers Ė which is great. But I can no longer use my annual subscription model for those customers. There is nothing stopping them from using the video file on the flashdrive for the next 20 years. In fact, there is nothing stopping them from copying the video and giving it to their cousin in the next town over and letting him use the videos too.

Other possible solutions:
A) have different pricing for annual subscriptions and a much higher price for providing the video on a flash/thumb drive. (e.g. Make subscription be $495 per year, and flash drive version is $2495, but you can use it forever (with no updates). Problem is that shops that donít have wifi and would need the flashdrive tend to be smaller shops with smaller budgets and I may effectively price myself out of consideration.

B) The "Trust You" Option: I could merely state that regardless of how they receive the information (either online or through flashdrive), that it is an annual subscription model and send reminders to everyone when their year is up. I expect some shops will be honest and some wonít.

C) The Restrict Printed Products Option: Building from Option B, another solution is to sell everything on an annual subscription model, but I restrict sales of printed materials (brochures, etc.) to customers that are up-to-date on their annual subscriptions. That is, if you havenít updated your video subscription in 2 years, then I wonít sell you pamphlets and other materials until you do update your video subscription (of course, this is only for those customers who get the flashdrives Ė I can shut down the wireless customers easily).

D) Screw it option: Just go with wireless. The shops that have wifi probably are bigger operations with bigger budgets and they will likely be my best customers anyway. I emphasize that the subscription/internet model provides them with instant updates when new material is available and I can even have ďplatinumĒ options where I provide additional customizations/modules for higher prices.  This assumes that customers will view the subscription/internet model as having higher value (They think that anything downloaded from the internet must be worth more than something I get sent to me on a flash drive).


Do you see any other options? Factors Iím not considering?

HipGnosis

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 10:17:12 AM »
Why are you assuming that a Co that doesn't have WiFi doesn't have internet?!?
WiFi is just a shortrange connection to an internet source. 
Many companies have very fast internet but don't have WiFi for security reasons.

ixtap

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 10:23:19 AM »
+1 on the WiFi vs internet.

Seems like customization would be easier on a hard copy, as you would want everyone's online access to go trough the same server.

You could also build in obsolescence; say have a 2017 be a prominent part of the video, or add in phrases like, in this election year.

Proud Foot

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 11:39:13 AM »
How often will the new videos be produced? If new ones are produced every year then you could have only the related materials offered at the same time. This would help shops keep up to date if they do not do the subscription model. By offering a hard copy of the videos you could reach more shops who may not be able to afford the example of $495 per year but could do $700 with the plan of using it for 2 years and then ordering the latest videos.  If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.

robartsd

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 12:47:11 PM »
If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.
Read only does not prevent copying. If you can read you can copy.

Ideally the shop just has to turn on the TV when they open each day and your videos start playing. The shop would need hardware to connect to your stream (smart TVs can connect to major sources, but wouldn't connect to your subscription service). You might as well design the hardware so that it can play local videos. Customize the files so that they are specific to the shop (adds value and prevents "sharing"). If the shop stops subscribing, take back the device. Make an unscheduled follow up visit after taking back the device to ensure that your videos are not in use - if they are, sue. I'd probably use a RasberryPi powered by the TV's USB port and configured to start playing on startup. If connected to a network, it could check for updates on your server and update local content, minimizing the needed bandwidth.

Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 01:11:16 PM »
Why are you assuming that a Co that doesn't have WiFi doesn't have internet?!?
WiFi is just a shortrange connection to an internet source. 
Many companies have very fast internet but don't have WiFi for security reasons.

I should have been more specific. I assume that every shop has internet access. However, my guess is that ~60% of shops don't have wireless internet set up and/or wouldn't be willing to purchase a screen/TV that could receive the wireless signal (which would allow the screen to play the video from the internet.

Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 01:12:35 PM »
+1 on the WiFi vs internet.

Seems like customization would be easier on a hard copy, as you would want everyone's online access to go trough the same server.

You could also build in obsolescence; say have a 2017 be a prominent part of the video, or add in phrases like, in this election year.

This is a good note - I had thought about adding the year to each video - but the election year phrase shows me that there are several possible ways to do that.

ixtap

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 01:14:33 PM »
If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.
Read only does not prevent copying. If you can read you can copy.

Ideally the shop just has to turn on the TV when they open each day and your videos start playing. The shop would need hardware to connect to your stream (smart TVs can connect to major sources, but wouldn't connect to your subscription service). You might as well design the hardware so that it can play local videos. Customize the files so that they are specific to the shop (adds value and prevents "sharing"). If the shop stops subscribing, take back the device. Make an unscheduled follow up visit after taking back the device to ensure that your videos are not in use - if they are, sue. I'd probably use a RasberryPi powered by the TV's USB port and configured to start playing on startup. If connected to a network, it could check for updates on your server and update local content, minimizing the needed bandwidth.

Many TV USB ports do not provide enough power for a Pi. In order for this to function, you  would need to provide the TV, as well, in order to meet your requirements.

Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 01:17:49 PM »
If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.
Read only does not prevent copying. If you can read you can copy.

Ideally the shop just has to turn on the TV when they open each day and your videos start playing. The shop would need hardware to connect to your stream (smart TVs can connect to major sources, but wouldn't connect to your subscription service). You might as well design the hardware so that it can play local videos. Customize the files so that they are specific to the shop (adds value and prevents "sharing"). If the shop stops subscribing, take back the device. Make an unscheduled follow up visit after taking back the device to ensure that your videos are not in use - if they are, sue. I'd probably use a RasberryPi powered by the TV's USB port and configured to start playing on startup. If connected to a network, it could check for updates on your server and update local content, minimizing the needed bandwidth.

I'm assuming that smart TVs could connect to a website (unique web address for each shop that they could bookmark and find easily) and simply play the video in full-screen mode. Is this a correct assumption?

I think you are correct that the easiest thing for the shop would be for me to provide the device, but I don't want to get into the hardware side of things. I'm worried about shipping, breaking (my fault/their fault?), return, etc. This might work really well if all the customers were within an easy drive, but I'm actually targeting businesses across the entire US/Canada.

ixtap

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 01:26:39 PM »
If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.
Read only does not prevent copying. If you can read you can copy.

Ideally the shop just has to turn on the TV when they open each day and your videos start playing. The shop would need hardware to connect to your stream (smart TVs can connect to major sources, but wouldn't connect to your subscription service). You might as well design the hardware so that it can play local videos. Customize the files so that they are specific to the shop (adds value and prevents "sharing"). If the shop stops subscribing, take back the device. Make an unscheduled follow up visit after taking back the device to ensure that your videos are not in use - if they are, sue. I'd probably use a RasberryPi powered by the TV's USB port and configured to start playing on startup. If connected to a network, it could check for updates on your server and update local content, minimizing the needed bandwidth.

I'm assuming that smart TVs could connect to a website (unique web address for each shop that they could bookmark and find easily) and simply play the video in full-screen mode. Is this a correct assumption?

I think you are correct that the easiest thing for the shop would be for me to provide the device, but I don't want to get into the hardware side of things. I'm worried about shipping, breaking (my fault/their fault?), return, etc. This might work really well if all the customers were within an easy drive, but I'm actually targeting businesses across the entire US/Canada.

Not all smart TVs have a browser to access the web. Many (most?) use apps to access specific services. I believe Sony does provide a browser app, but Vizio, for example does not.

Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 03:07:02 PM »
If you worried about customers copying the material and sharing it with others you could make the flash drives be read only. I don't know how to do it myself but have received study materials on read only flash drives before.
Read only does not prevent copying. If you can read you can copy.

Ideally the shop just has to turn on the TV when they open each day and your videos start playing. The shop would need hardware to connect to your stream (smart TVs can connect to major sources, but wouldn't connect to your subscription service). You might as well design the hardware so that it can play local videos. Customize the files so that they are specific to the shop (adds value and prevents "sharing"). If the shop stops subscribing, take back the device. Make an unscheduled follow up visit after taking back the device to ensure that your videos are not in use - if they are, sue. I'd probably use a RasberryPi powered by the TV's USB port and configured to start playing on startup. If connected to a network, it could check for updates on your server and update local content, minimizing the needed bandwidth.

I'm assuming that smart TVs could connect to a website (unique web address for each shop that they could bookmark and find easily) and simply play the video in full-screen mode. Is this a correct assumption?

I think you are correct that the easiest thing for the shop would be for me to provide the device, but I don't want to get into the hardware side of things. I'm worried about shipping, breaking (my fault/their fault?), return, etc. This might work really well if all the customers were within an easy drive, but I'm actually targeting businesses across the entire US/Canada.

Not all smart TVs have a browser to access the web. Many (most?) use apps to access specific services. I believe Sony does provide a browser app, but Vizio, for example does not.


Thanks for the warning - I've just been researching this. So far, this is what I've got:
- Just because a TV has a USB ports/slots, does not mean it can play a video file from a flashdrive (some can, some can play music and pictures but not audio, and some USB ports are just for repair work
- Just because a TV is a "smart TV" does not mean that it has a browser that can access specific website - many are just preloaded with specific apps for Youtube, Netflix, etc.

It looks like current LG Tvs that have the WebOS can access any regular website with it's browser and the user interface looks pretty easy. Of course, I'll buy one and test it and then likely need to create a "how to" video where I walk people through the process of accessing their unique website and playing the video. Once they've found the website once, they can bookmark it for easy future access.

So to reduce confusion, I'll likely create a list of TVs that I know work with my system and warn people that other TVs may or may not work. A new LG TV that fits the criteria can be purchased for ~ $200 (32") or $300 (43"). I don't think that is a big concern if the customer see value in the videos creating new business.





robartsd

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 04:02:40 PM »
So your market is auto shops with TVs capable of playing video from a webpage and sufficient internet bandwidth. Shop may be albe to make their webpage on your service the homepage of the TV's browser to make startup as simple as possible.

You can expand to shops with TVs capable of playing videos from USB - customize so the video doesn't fit at a different shop (this would probably a logo or clip that is show between each video segment), collect the flash drive at end of subscription, check back to ensure no unlicensed usage. Use a flash drive large enough to loop the video in the file if the TV does not have a repeat mode.

What other industries might benefit from custom video content in waiting areas?

ElleFiji

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 05:05:50 PM »
I work in small businesses, and sometimes vendor gifts are how we get fancier stuff. For example, a vendor gifted us a large "tv" (picture frame) that we display a slideshow of ads to businesses. Another business in town gave a bunch of clinics TVs with infotainment/fun facts loaded, and sells ads to related businesses.

I don't drive/go to autoshops, but my guess is that the little guys aren't buying TVs for the waiting room, unless there is a bigger benefit for them. Have you sat down with some of the guys running small shops to talk about if they'd buy into the subscription?
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Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 06:24:00 PM »
This, in addition to the previous helpful comments, is why I love this forum.

So your market is auto shops with TVs capable of playing video from a webpage and sufficient internet bandwidth. Shop may be albe to make their webpage on your service the homepage of the TV's browser to make startup as simple as possible.

Simple, effective - why didn't I think of it?

Quote
You can expand to shops with TVs capable of playing videos from USB - customize so the video doesn't fit at a different shop (this would probably a logo or clip that is show between each video segment), collect the flash drive at end of subscription, check back to ensure no unlicensed usage. Use a flash drive large enough to loop the video in the file if the TV does not have a repeat mode.

What other industries might benefit from custom video content in waiting areas?

I'm aiming at a very specific niche where I am viewed as an external expert (the repair shop example fits well enough to get advice, but my real field is very different) - but it's a good idea to think about fields/businesses that are similar. You've just given me an idea that this would also work in a different field (for this example, we could say a car detailing waiting area).


Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 06:28:37 PM »
I work in small businesses, and sometimes vendor gifts are how we get fancier stuff. For example, a vendor gifted us a large "tv" (picture frame) that we display a slideshow of ads to businesses. Another business in town gave a bunch of clinics TVs with infotainment/fun facts loaded, and sells ads to related businesses.

I don't drive/go to autoshops, but my guess is that the little guys aren't buying TVs for the waiting room, unless there is a bigger benefit for them. Have you sat down with some of the guys running small shops to talk about if they'd buy into the subscription?

You're right, I need to do some more research on various size businesses within my niche. Based on my original post, I'm leaning toward Option C.

I'll see the "bronze" version on a flash drive and I won't sell you any printed materials (which help convert sales) unless your annual license is active. The bronze version will have some basic customization to make it so that it can't be shared with other businesses. The Silver and Gold options will require you to have wifi and a smart TV - this allows me control over making them stay current on their license, but I can also advertise it as a significant value-added product and continual updates with new modules, features and greater customization.

You've also given me an idea that if this works, then I can move to the second step and bring in advertisers that want to provide a message to the same customers that the owner of the facility wouldn't mind showing.

Thanks All!!

robartsd

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 10:53:57 AM »
The TV does not have to connect over WIFI, a hard wired internet connection would be more reliable. Of course thats entirely in your client's realm of decision making. I'd de-emphasize WiFi by listing the requirement as "internet connected TV".  To help your clients determine if their setup is compatible with your streaming service, you could simply provide them a web page that streams videos about your service using the exact technology that you uses to provide your service.

Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2017, 12:17:12 PM »
... I'd de-emphasize WiFi by listing the requirement as "internet connected TV"....

Excellent idea - I don't know the reality of every situation and it is possible that some businesses have at least one of the options:
a) wifi and have or would be willing to buy an Smart TV
b) hard-line internet connection to a tv
c) internet-connected computer paired to large monitor or TV
or other similar set ups that would allow them to play the video

Always good to mention all the options. Thanks!


katsiki

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2017, 06:07:12 PM »
You may want to consider a Roku device to avoid all of these compatibility questions.  You can even make your Roku channel and keep it private.  Roku will support nearly all TVs.
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Smokystache

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Re: Online subscription model when customers donít have wifi?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2017, 06:54:09 PM »
You may want to consider a Roku device to avoid all of these compatibility questions.  You can even make your Roku channel and keep it private.  Roku will support nearly all TVs.

You just blew my mind. After googling "private roku channel," it appears that this is a real possibility. It is probably investigate more once I have a proof of concept and some steady income, but that is a very interesting idea. Thanks!