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Review: Adobe's New Subscription Service

April, 2011

Adobe's New Subscription Service
A New Way to Have the Latest and Greatest

Review by Steve Douglas

I must admit that, at first, when hearing of Adobe's plan for a subscription option for photographic and video editing applications, I was a bit skeptical. I thought, why get an application only for a short time when you can have it for as long as you like. Then I thought of the practicality and economy of it and it started to click and make sense.

Some individual editors or companies may be working on one version of a particular application while another is working on a latter version. Suppose they need to share the project back and forth? This would mean that the one with the older version would have to buy the newer one when, financially, it may not be a good time. They may even have to pass on the project because their software did not meet the requirements or have the tools necessary within an older application version.

This is where a subscription service could save the day for individual or company alike. For those owners of Adobe's earlier CS versions, the subscription option allows them a quick and affordable jump to the current version. For editors new to Adobe applications, a subscription permits them to become familiar with any of the apps prior to committing to a possible fully licensed purchase.

As of April 11th, Adobe will be shipping their newest versions of many of their top editing software applications and suites available on With subscription based software, you will be allowed to download the latest version at any time without any extra charges beyond the subscription itself. This ensures you of always possessing the current versions without having to pony up for the full price of the individual application or suite.

Whether you temporarily need only an individual application or a full suite, you'll find most of what you need readily available via Adobe's new subscription service.

Adobe is offering two possible subscription choices adding further flexibility to your editing needs. The One-year plan requires that you remain a paid subscriber for at least the first year, though you can certainly cancel at any time thereafter, or further extend your subscription. The second option is to go on a month to month plan which, again ensures you of any 'latest' version, but also provides you with far less commitment as your business and editing needs change over time. Unfortunately, the subscription plan will not be available to either schools or government offices. Too bad, because public schools are in desperate financial straits and classes involved in the arts are being cut left and right. They deserve a break today.

Both the one year or month to month plans are charged to your credit cards each month and auto-renew by default unless you stop your subscription. They then can therefore be written off as an operational expense rather than a capital expense. On you can choose which product, plan or delivery method ( electronic download with or without a backup DVD), your billing information and subscription start dates. You then receive an email with a serial number and link to the download. During the install you would then enter your Adobe ID and serial number. Should you decide to cancel your subscription Adobe provides a 5 day grace period either to renew or to change your billing info, otherwise your access to the software would be discontinued. The computer has to be online when you install and serialize the application and on the first launch of the application. Once an application is serialized, the computer needs to be online once every 30 days to check for the status of the subscription. You can be completely offline for the remaining duration. The Adobe Application Manger will prompt you to go online if it needs to for some reason like the product could not be activated or the user was offline on day 30. Even if you are offline on day 30, you will still have the 5 day grace period to use the application and go online and verify the status of the subscription.

I guess what ultimately killed my initial skepticism was when I saw the pricing for Adobe software. The rates appear to be quite fair to me whether you are in need of a suite or just one application or two. Additionally, if you are going to use the month to month plan, the cost of an individual application could easily, and fairly, be added to the client's invoice.

Adobe hasn't held back on what they would or would not allow to be part of the subscription service. Almost everything is available.

I'm not completely sure of what has gotten into Adobe over the last year or so, but they certainly have stepped on the gas and are looking out of the box to better, not only their software, but to more fully meet the needs of their target audience, us.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 7 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve was a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. He is available for both private and group seminars for Final Cut Pro and leads underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to the Cocos Islands, Costa Rica, and Hawaii. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.

copyright © Steve Douglas 2011

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