World of Warcraft Loses 800K Subscribers in 3 Months – Could the Same Happen to Your Site?

World of Warcraft, the massive multiplayer online game, lost 800,000 paying subscribers between April and June of this year, according to financials released by the game’s parent company Activision BlizzardThat drops the site’s total number of paying subscribers to 6.8 million, down from the 7.8 million it had on March 31.That’s definitely a precipitous drop, but Activision Blizzard says the downturn is seasonal; it had experienced a similar drop last year ahead of it release of a new expansion of the World of Warcraft game.The company hopes to lure old subscribers and new ones with its upcoming release of a new expansion “Warlords of Draenor,” which already has 1.5 million pre-orders.World of Warcraft’s resilience in a market that has all but moved away from digital subscription sales is commendable, but the seasonal downturns are something every subscription and paid content site should keep in mind. Unlike the pre-digital days, when newspapers and magazines saw nothing more severe that delivery suspension during popular vacation periods, nowadays consumers are likely to cancel subscription services all together for a period of time.Netflix saw an uptick in members with the release of its new season of Orange is the New Black, but since content production is not yet rapid enough to keep up with consumer demand (especially since Netflix is releasing an entire season for “binge watching”), the video streaming giant is bound to see a downturn in subscriber numbers as well.Subscription sites would be wise to keep seasonality in mind when forecasting revenues and profits. While subscription revenues definitely provide stability for premium content sites, just like everything else in our new media environment, they’re not as predictable as they used to be.

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