Adobe photography promotion lures new subscribers, says survey

A Jefferies-CNET survey shows the Photoshop Photography Program drew new customers to the Creative Cloud subscriptions. Its $10 monthly fee is only a fifth of the full Creative Cloud price, though.

Nearly half of Creative Cloud subscribers who responded to a survey by CNET and Jefferies said they joined the subscription program with a promotion for Lightroom and Photoshop. The Photoshop Photography Program costs $10 per month but subscribers must sign up by Dec. 31.
Nearly half of Creative Cloud subscribers who responded to a survey by CNET and Jefferies said they joined the subscription program with a promotion for Lightroom and Photoshop. The Photoshop Photography Program costs $10 per month but subscribers must sign up by Dec. 31. CNET and Jefferies survey

It looks like Adobe Systems' Photoshop-Lightroom promotion attracted some new customers to the Creative Cloud subscription business.

In a survey with CNET and analyst firm Jefferies , 48 percent of Creative Cloud subscribers who signed up for the Photoshop Photography Program weren't Creative Cloud subscribers before.

Some of the 92 respondents who are Creative Cloud subscribers just changed subscriptions to the Photoshop Photography Program: 17 percent moved from a Photoshop-only subscription and 9 percent moved from the full Creative Cloud subscription, which costs $50 per month but offers Adobe's entire array of software.

"I like the more targeted photography product. The full subscription is a good deal for some, but I will only use the photography-related applications since I am a hobbyist," one survey respondent commented.

New subscribers are good news for Adobe, which reports quarterly financial results on Thursday and which has had a hard time convincing an outspoken group opposed to subscription software.

The company's stock has been linked strongly to growth in the number of subscribers, in particular since the company announced subscriptions are the only way to get new versions of its software aimed at creative professionals. It continues to sell perpetual licenses to Creative Suite 6 products, but those are gradually becoming more out of date as Creative Cloud updates arrive.

The Photoshop Photography Program promotion is open to anyone with a license to Creative Suite 3 products or their successors, but Adobe doubtless juiced the promotion during a Black Friday promotion that opened it to anyone , not just CS owners.

Adobe might even get a reasonably large chunk of brand-new customers through the promotion. Of the 74 respondents who signed up for the Photoshop Photography Program, 8 percent didn't use Adobe products at all beforehand.

Adobe is switching from perpetual licensed software, which costs a lot up front but works as long as people have a computer that'll run it, to subscriptions.
Adobe is switching from perpetual licensed software, which costs a lot up front but works as long as people have a computer that'll run it, to subscriptions. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe's transition from selling perpetual licenses to selling subscriptions is ahead of schedule , but plenty of Adobe customers don't like subscriptions . The new way means the company can offer updates frequently and as soon as they're ready instead of holding them back for a massive Creative Suite release. And for Adobe, it means a steady stream of income instead of bursts when customers make the big licensing payments for new releases.

Adobe's stock rose when it reported in September that it had signed up 1 million subscribers, a pace faster than it expected. The company's goals include 1.25 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2013 and 4 million by the end of fiscal 2015. So signing up more photography subscribers is desirable, even though they're not paying as much as the full Creative Cloud subscribers.

However, many customers don't like the idea of software that stops working when they stop paying, even if they get access to Adobe's full range of software while they do pay.

"I like not having to wait for updates," one survey respondent wrote. "I do worry about what might happen if a day comes where I can't afford a monthly subscription."

Adobe charges $50 per month for a full-year commitment to the full Creative Cloud software collection. It's possible to pay just for a single month's use, but that costs $75 per month.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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