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Subscription Billing for Media and Entertainment

The subscription business model is how media and entertainment organizations have transitioned to provide their digital services to gain a more regular, predictable income stream. However, the subscription model poses challenges, primarily in efficiently handling accounting and billing for subscriptions. Our benchmark research on recurring revenue finds that only one-quarter of organizations that have finance and accounting roles, and fewer than one-half overall, are satisfied with their subscription invoicing process. As for complaints about the process, over three-quarters of organizations said it requires too much effort.

Simple subscriptions (such as for a monthly magazine) are handled easily by any financial system. However, especially for media and entertainment organizations, today’s subscription business models are complicated by billing methods such as usage-based charges, promotions, new series and managing subscriber periods. Our research finds that a majority of media and entertainment companies use billing cycles that vary from monthly to quarterly or annually with activation dates that can be daily. Accounting for these variations can be further complicated because the data specifying the details of the subscription may be kept in multiple systems.


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About the Author

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Stephen Hurrell

VP and Research Director
Ventana Research

Stephen Hurrell is responsible for the overall research direction for the Office of Revenue at Ventana Research, including the areas of digital commerce, price and revenue management, product information management, sales enablement, revenue performance management and subscription management. His focus areas include product and CS leadership, data-driven applications in sales enablement, financial reporting and planning, and billing and monetization platforms.