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walter biscardiBlog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 12:36:28 pm

This editorial was originally printed in Issue 3 of the WalterBiscardi.com newsletter.

It's been a few weeks since the announcement from Adobe that henceforth all new software will only be available via the Creative Cloud subscription service. No doubt you've seen and heard the outcry from folks who want to continue to "own the software."

As my good buddy Aharon Rabinowitz said so eloquently in his blog, "YOU DO NOT, NOR EVER HAVE, OWNED YOUR ADOBE SOFTWARE. You have licensed it." Yes it's all semantics since you DID have a box with software in it, or you downloaded software which you backed up and kept somewhere in your files. As long as you have the serial number, you can launch that software at will. But you never actually "owned the software."

There's definitely the comfort factor of "holding the box" and knowing that the software is there ready to be used at any given time. But what good is that box when the software turns obsolete because the current OS will no longer support it? At that point you have two choices; keep running an older computer system so you can keep using that software or you upgrade so you can run the software on the latest and greatest systems. I don't know about you, but I tend to upgrade my computers at least every three years and running old software on a new computer kind of defeats the purpose.

The subscription model actually makes very good sense for the software industry. The biggest thing is that the industry is no longer driven by the need to keep holding back "key new features" until select times of the year to coincide with events like IBC and NAB. Think about how many times we start speculating in January or July about "I really hope Adobe / Avid / Apple / Autodesk releases these new features I really want at NAB / IBC!" And then the companies keep telling us to "hold tight until NAB/IBC to see what's new." With the subscription based model, it behooves the software company to continuously roll out new features to keep the subscriber base happy and feeling like they're getting their money's worth. I very much like this idea of constant evolution instead of arbitrarily holding stuff back to have a fatter press release at a convention.

Look whether you like the Adobe model or not, you better believe it's coming to all software eventually. It makes sense both economically and from a distribution standpoint. Steady income for the company over the year and distribute new features on the fly. It's not a question of "if" the other software manufacturers will go subscription, but "when."

If there's one lesson the others can learn from Adobe is to make sure to give a 'one year warning' as in "this will be the final year to purchase a license, after that, it's all subscription." To just come out and say "As of today, it's all subscription" was a bit of a dick move by Adobe, but with the success of the Cloud over the first year, the writing on the wall was pretty obvious to most folks.

So love it or hate it, I would not be surprised to see a subscription based model for all our software within the next 5 years.


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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 2:00:28 pm

[walter biscardi] "So love it or hate it, I would not be surprised to see a subscription based model for all our software within the next 5 years."

As someone who would be quite willing to subscribe to CC if only PPro had a better multi-cam function I beg to differ.

Do you really think Microsoft Office is going subscription, that basic consumers, many of whom never buy updates, are going to be paying monthly fees for all of their software? I don't think so. I don't think their is any chance of consumer software going subscription. Professional software is another matter.

In our field Adobe, Audtodesk, Avid - yes they might be able to get away with it if they own a compelling enough product, but there is a reason the industry moved away from physical dongles, and while it's in the interest of suppliers to try and reinstate internet dongles, market competition and customer resistance will mitigate against it.

Adobe looks like it is willing to loose market share to increase profits and cash flow, but those lost customers are going to one of their competitors. Whether it is Avid, Lightworks, Edius or some company none of us have heard of yet, someone is going to want to build market share by offering perpetual licenses and will succeed when they do. The market does not go only in one direction, that's why they call it free.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Mark SuszkoRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 2:21:57 pm

Herb, I'm certain that Microsoft would LOVE to do this (put all product on the cloud as rentware), but I think what's holding it back is a single standard for micropayments to enable rent-on-the-fly. Like the App store. Whatever the model, it has to be transparent and simple for the user. Microsfot has tried this before, with mixed results, but "software as service" really needs universal and mobile high speed/ high bandwidth so that it can be "omnipresent", and we don't yet have that everywhere.

I'm going to stand by my prediction that Adobe will see a rise in the number of people trying to crack or circumvent the licensing, and a huge pool of previous versions are going to get shared around. I think it's also going to be a small stimulus to the freeware/shareware community, as people who resent what's happening look around for alternatives.

Walter points out: it's legal, probably inevitable. I think there will be unintended consequences.


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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 2:53:45 pm

[Mark Suszko] " I'm certain that Microsoft would LOVE to do this "

Microsoft would love it but their customers wouldn't. Without a proprietary file structure software companies are not as free to force their customers into any particular behavior - too much competition. Try forcing my wife into paying monthly for software and even she will switch to something else, and she's still running Office 2000.

I don't think widespread adoption of subscription models will take place outside of niche markets.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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walter biscardiRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 2:27:46 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Do you really think Microsoft Office is going subscription, that basic consumers, many of whom never buy updates, are going to be paying monthly fees for all of their software? I don't think so. I don't think their is any chance of consumer software going subscription. Professional software is another matter."

You mean like Microsoft Office 365 current available for a yearly subscription? http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/home-premium/

Yep, Microsoft is already there.


[Herb Sevush] "As someone who would be quite willing to subscribe to CC if only PPro had a better multi-cam function I beg to differ."

Be sure to download the 30 day free trial when CC launches on June 17th. I think you'll like what they've done.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 2:48:41 pm

[walter biscardi] "You mean like Microsoft Office 365 current available for a yearly subscription? http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/home-premium/
Yep, Microsoft is already there."


That's an option Walter, not a requirement. Intuit has the same option for some of it's Quicken products. All well and good. But if MS Office ever becomes subscription only a HUGE part of it's base will move on - I can't think of a single home consumer who would be willing to pay monthly software fees. Most people cancel their virus protection software once the initial offering is over, let alone pay monthly for fee's for word processing or outlook.

[walter biscardi] "Be sure to download the 30 day free trial when CC launches on June 17th. I think you'll like what they've done."

I like a lot of what I've read and saw demo'd about PPro Next and was seriously considering switching, irregardless of CC, but unless they come up with something they haven't previewed at NAB I still find serious problems with their multi-cam feature. Compared to FCPX, Avid, FCP7, or even *edit (which was EOL'd 10 years ago) it still seems badly lacking.

I don't know who they are talking to about this feature, but it seems like they think switching angles on a locked piece of audio is as far as multi-cam goes. And it isn't. Someone should also tell them that flattening layers in Photoshop should not be something they want to emulate when it comes to creating a "single stream" timeline from a multi-cam timeline. It needs to be reversible, not one time only. And that's just for starters.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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walter biscardiRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 3:41:31 pm

[Herb Sevush] "That's an option Walter, not a requirement."

Creative Cloud was an option for a year as well.


[Herb Sevush] "But if MS Office ever becomes subscription only a HUGE part of it's base will move on - I can't think of a single home consumer who would be willing to pay monthly software fees. "

Completely conjecture on your part. These are the same consumers who pay monthly fees for just about everything else in their lives. As I said in my original post, give it 5 years and let's see what's left that you can actually "buy and own" in terms of software.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
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Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 3:55:29 pm

[walter biscardi] "Completely conjecture on your part."

Absolutely, purely anecdotal inferences.

[walter biscardi] "These are the same consumers who pay monthly fees for just about everything else in their lives"

Yes, but they grew up that way. They grew up paying monthly for phone, electric, car & mortgage payments. They grew up paying off monthly on their credit cards. But they also grew up with software as a one time expenditure, or as the case with most, a perk for buying the computer. Most people get their daily software basically for free. Free is a hard habit to break.

[walter biscardi] "give it 5 years and let's see what's left that you can actually "buy and own" in terms of software."

We'll meet on this corner and the loser buys a round for all.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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walter biscardiRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 4:00:30 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Yes, but they grew up that way. They grew up paying monthly for phone, electric, car & mortgage payments. They grew up paying off monthly on their credit cards. But they also grew up with software as a one time expenditure, or as the case with most, a perk for buying the computer. Most people get their daily software basically for free. Free is a hard habit to break."

That's how you and I grew up, owning a lot of stuff and paying for monthly things we absolutely needed to pay for.

Ah but look at the success of Netflix and Hulu Plus where you don't "own anything." You merely subscribe to watch moves and television shows at your leisure. Don't want the service anymore? Stop paying but start right back up anytime for $7.99/month. Those businesses are growing while DVD/BluRay sales are shrinking. That's the new generation of consumers. The subscribers.

Not a big leap to go to Software. Heck, XBox One says you're going to have to be online all the time to play their new console. Older games are going to require some sort of a payment in order to play them off a server.

Again, it's not "if" it's just "when" at this point.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 4:17:34 pm

[walter biscardi] "look at the success of Netflix and Hulu Plus where you don't "own anything." You merely subscribe to watch moves and television shows at your leisure."

Which is an extension of the DVD rental business. Movies are like that - owning them was always a weird proposition. An almost universal experience is when someone owns a movie on DVD, never puts it on, but then if the movie shows up on when your channel surfing, you'll watch the whole thing, commercials and all. Netflix is like adding a channel to your cable subscription - it feels pretty comfortable.

[walter biscardi] " it's not "if" it's just "when" at this point."

I think it much more likely that users will migrate to Cloud apps rather than monthly subscriptions- Google docs for free rather than a monthly subscription for Office.

5 years and counting.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Mark SuszkoRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 6:26:03 pm

All I know for now is that it throws a huge wrench into my organization's purchasing department and procurement process. They may come to like it eventually, but right now they don't have a procedure to deal with this for various apps across literally thousands of seats, and they are not going to like having to set up their own authentication servers in every office just to manage if cloud subs are active or not from day to day.

You gotta make it simple and easy, as WELL as cheap.


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walter biscardiRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 30, 2013 at 2:37:30 pm

[Mark Suszko] "You gotta make it simple and easy, as WELL as cheap."

The Enterprise level of the Creative Cloud is supposed to make that process easier to manage by essentially have all the subscriptions managed by a central person or people. According to Dennis Radeke at the Atlanta Cutters meeting last night, that version of the Cloud is still be ironed out and they are working directly with Enterprise level clients like CNN to create the appropriate balance between the client needs and the Cloud subscription model.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Bill DavisRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 6:43:06 pm

Two things.

My conditioning has traditionally been that I own whatever is mission critical to earn my living - and I rent what I need for a particular job. It's how I've assembled my equipment packages for decades. When I find a piece of rental gear that I'm renting too much, smart business tells me to stop renting and buy it. Yes, that's mostly hardware, but I don't see any significant gap between the necessity of hardware and software in this computer saturated era. That a company feels it's OK to force me into a perpetual rental cycle tells me one thing and one thing only. In the executive suite, they've laser focused on the the need to satisfy Wall Street over their customers. Period. I get that. But I'm free to respond to it as well.

The other thing is something I bring up here a lot. Which is the amazing breadth of customers that use these programs that are NOT like you or me. Just in this CC debate, I've heard the voices of classroom teachers, retired individuals, event shooters, trainers, and a whole range of others that are WAY outside my corporate video production package experience or the "I edit for broadcast or movies" demographic. Each of these constituencies are affected differently by the forced perpetual subscription model.

Thats the huge take away for me.

Adobe seems to think that the only user worth satisfying is an imaginary business user who can budget for a new monthly payment without blinking and without either having to go through something like an endless school district purchasing approval process to get ANYTHING for a classroom - or a solo designer who has to worry about what will happen in December with even a $50 monthly hit might affect the holiday presents budget for his or her kids.

I honestly feel that there are few CEOs who think like that. Largely because they simply have little or no clue about how real people live real lives.

I'm sure somebody did a price verses demand curve presentation for the Adobe CEO before this happened. (At least I damn well hope so and it wasn't just someone in the executive suite or on the golf course listening to their buddy from the Power Company crowing about how having customers tied to a perpetual monthly checking account dip was just SO darn profitable!)

Let's face it, we know what we've experienced. And I suspect that the people who run large enterprises have a pretty narrow view of life outside their immediate view.

As do we all, I suppose.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Herb SevushRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 30, 2013 at 2:15:28 pm

My takeaway from the whole FCPX / CC movement is that both companies are trying to redefine their markets but in polar opposite ways.

Apple wanted to target a larger audience for lower priced general purpose editing while Adobe is culling it's list, willing to loose customer's who do not upgrade often and target a core audience of customers who are interested in the complete Adobe package - a smaller but more profitable customer base.

Broadcasting versus narrow casting.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Tom DaigonRe: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 29, 2013 at 11:41:12 pm

27,000+ folks dont like the lack of options in @Adobe CC licensing.Statistically that represents A LOT more people.

https://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-incorporated-eliminate-the-m...

Tom Daigon
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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 30, 2013 at 8:47:22 am

Hey All,

With all due respect, I'm very happy with the subscription to the Adobe Cloud - the biggest expense was to buy all the "Classroom in a Book" for all those new cloud toys that Adobe has given me at a much smaller price than what it would otherwise have cost me.

Looking at the petition link created by Derek S. my opinion is that he is misinformed and haven't really thought it through either. The beauty of the cloud is that one can hire for a month or year or even just a single app - so why moan about it? Unless one is used to the free copies that the pirates have been handing out generously, to the cost of the rest of us. But running the latest photoshop for £17.58/month in comparison to buying the upgrade box annually is not that bad.

Correct me if I'm wrong; but there are nothing stopping anyone staying on CS 3, 4, 5 & 6 for however long they want to. And the client is not likely to notice which version of Photoshop or AE or PPro that you're using, and that the designer/operator are not likely re-invent their working practices and change output overnight either.

Anyway, for the nay-sayers there are some good myth busters here:
http://terrywhite.com/5-myths-about-adobe-creative-cloud/

Sadly there are a few of Adobe's competitors who has tried to put the boot in. One in particular comes to mind who used their marketing on-line magazine to ruffle a few feathers, including mine. As one can see from my recent Twitter stream (It is harsh, long and boring) - they lost my business for renewing their subscription based editing software and 18 years of endorsements, which in any sales environment is an amazing difficult task to do. At least the Cow is an open forum where we can share our thoughts :-)

PS: Walter, well done on a good well balanced blog.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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walter biscardiRe: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 30, 2013 at 2:34:18 pm

[Tom Daigon] "27,000+ folks dont like the lack of options in @Adobe CC licensing.Statistically that represents A LOT more people.
"


First off, we have no idea if that's really 27,000 people or if there are some individuals who create 100's of profiles to pad the numbers.

Second, I can pretty much say with 99% certainty after seeing the Adobe presentation last night at the Atlanta Cutters that Creative Cloud distribution is here to stay as is. So if that really is 27,000 who will not work with Adobe at all if the Cloud is the ONLY distribution method, they should definitely start exploring other options.

It is a shame because the new CC versions of the tools are greatly improved over the older CS6 tools, but as I did with Final Cut Pro X, if you're not happy, then move on and find the tool that best suits both your workflow needs and your budget.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

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Scott CumboRe: Blog: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on May 30, 2013 at 3:42:54 am

I personaly like adobe's subcription based software model. I think it's great to not have to worry about paid updates and having access additional programs that i may need only once in a blue moon or want to check out. For adobe it's smart because it'll cut down on people stealing their software. Now, I'm not a business owner, i work for a post house so i don't pay the bills, but if i was I would seriously consider switching to their software.

$600 a year is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Dale HershRe: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on Jun 10, 2013 at 11:37:41 am

Hopefully the interpretation of "it's not going anywhere" is that it will not be around in a year or so.

For some a subscription may make good sense, for others it is a terrible option. I don't want to have to subscribe for the rest of my life if I want to edit. Just the fact that Adobe has basically rammed this down our throat with no options is a sign that they know it would not be well accepted by many. CC has been poorly implemented, but obviously Adobe isn't too concerned about that.

I am not a professional, but I use CS for years to produce videos for work. I have always upgraded because I enjoy the new features, of which I really don't need most of them.

I understand a lot of where Adobe is coming from with CC, and most of it is good, but I don't want to have to pay forever.

Also I do own CS6. Semantics that you just own the license is really silly. I purchased the software and I can use it as long as I want, not as long as I keep paying.


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Wayne WilliamsRe: Subscription Based Software - it's not going anywhere
by on Jun 23, 2015 at 6:38:58 pm

All Ya... Its Summer of 2015. I've been FCP since 2003. Now it's my turn to move to CC. since I'm a big hobby, I wasn't able to replace my very old Mac (2008) when it smoked last fall. Did finish projects before it died, I saw it coming. Left it on for three months straight when it popped. Some time back Walter went off about FCP and his forced migration to Premiere. So now I get it. It's what's up. I'm now operating in OS 10.10.3. Bought a new Mac Book Pro race horse and switched to Premiere Pro CC. Like from another land. I got the books, the Lynda tutorials. What a mess. What I also managed this year was move from DVCam to Canon 70D. Bob Zelin was accurate over a year ago letting me know my tape stuff is junk. A thousand tapes on shelves is still accessible, that's good. Thank you Bob for the truth... HD files are awesome. Watch the media right now. And prelude ingest seams important. Cut it log it there. Used to chop a tape in a FCP sequence... I have to figure it out but sucks anyway ...whine

"Be who you are and say what you feel...Because those that matter...Don't mind...And those that mind...Don't matter..."
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