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  • Writer's pictureVijay Mohan

Why Hotstar has only 2 subscription plans - Combatting choice overload bias

Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed by too many options? It turns out that you're not alone. Psychologists call this phenomenon "choice overload", and it can have a negative impact on our decision-making process. In this blog post, we'll explore the concept of choice overload and why it's important for businesses like Hotstar to limit the number of options they offer.

What is the choice overload effect or bias?

Columbia University conducted a study, where a research team set up a jar sample booth at a retail store. Every few hours they switched the number of samples from 24 to a group of six. At the end of the study, they found that when there were 24 jams, 60% of the customers stopped to get a sample, and 3% bought one. But when there were 6 jams, only 40% of the customers stopped to check out the booth. But the interesting part was that 30% among them bought jam. This concluded that even though having lots of options attracted customers, it only gets a few of them to buy.

Having lots of choices can have the following negative effects:

  1. Makes customers feel anxious

  2. It can increase the cognitive load, making them spend more time in the decision-making process.

  3. Can result in inaction.

Why does choice overload happen?

In ancient history, only a few people had a say in important life decisions like, what job they should have, where they should work, or whether they should get married early.

But in the modern world, industrial and technological advancements have made it possible to manufacture and transport more and more products, resulting in a free economic system. And when you think about it, every modern human being’s survival depends on individualism, a need to be unique to stand out from the crowd.

This bias sometimes has an impact on our emotions, by decreasing our satisfaction with the choices we make and increasing the likelihood of regretting them.

How Hotstar uses choice overload effect?

Hotstar, the popular Indian streaming service, has taken this approach by offering only 2 subscription plans: a free plan and a premium plan. The premium plan offers access to a wider range of content, including live sports, and is priced affordably. By limiting the number of options, Hotstar is able to provide a more streamlined and user-friendly experience for its customers.

Real example of a choice overload you should avoid:

The pricing page of has the problem of choice overload.

There are at least 3-4 sub-options in each column, which brings to a total of 14 pricing options!

Combatting choice overload bias in your marketing strategy:

  1. Offer fewer options: It may seem weird to suggest reducing options in the age of personalization, but **P&G increased saw a 10% increase in revenue** after decreasing the varieties of Head & Shoulders.

  2. Make it easy to compare different options: If you are offering multiple pricing plans, make it easy for customers to compare the features and offerings.

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