Upgrading to Storyline 3

Just so I can get things straight when advising clients on buying Storyline here is my current take on where Articulate are at:

To get the whole suite of tools Articulate 360 (including the responsive Rise) is 'good value' at $999 dollars annually but less good value if you don't use all those tools on a regular basis. 

If you (or your organisation) is reluctant to move to a 'subscriber' model then you can now buy a 'perpetual license' of Storyline 3 for $1,398. OK so it costs $399 more but you don't need to spend any more after that unless you want to upgrade to the next version. Storyline 3  is effectively Storyline 360 freed of the subscriber model.

Speaking of upgrades you have two key choices: upgrade to Storyline 3 from Storyline 2 for $699 or upgrade from Storyline 2 to Articulate 360 for the tempting sum of $599 but don't forget that in 12 months time you will have to pay out $999 and then every 12 months after that. If you take the latter option then you'd better use the 'add-on' tools a fair amount. Rise is probably the most valuable add-on and that is likely to be improved considerably over the next 12 months or so.

One thing I find frustrating is that there is no 'pay monthly' subscriber option as there is with Adobe Captivate - this provides a great way for freelancers and smaller organisations especially to buy and use software.

Is there a plan to introduce a more affordable monthly subscriber pricing model?

13 Replies
Ray Cole

I strongly second the request for a monthly payment plan. For the better part of the last decade, I've taught classes at my local university's Instructional Technologies program. I always encourage students to use Storyline for their projects, but they rarely do, opting instead to use the much more clunky tool from Articulate's main competitor. Why? Because that competitor offers a month-to-month payment plan. Students have a very hard time coming up with a large sum of money all at once. So unless they happen to be employed somewhere where their employer purchases Storyline for them, they don't end up using Storyline in my classes. They want to, but they don't because the payment options are unaffordable.

The same is true for early-career professionals in our industry and those who are making the shift to freelancing for the first time. It is hard to come up with ~$1,000 in a lump sum; it is much easier to come up with 1/12th that amount each month.

Please, Articulate, offer a month-to-month payment plan. You are needlessly losing a generation of students to your competition by not doing so. And maybe a large number of professionals, too.


John Curran

I'm assuming that competitor is Adobe Captivate Ray? And actually Adobe's plan is even more attractive in that it doesn't divide the perpetual payment by 12 but actually discounts it as well. In the UK we pay £30 per month where as the perpetual license is £1,147 (that would equate to £95 per month if it were just divided by 12). I assume that Adobe takes account of the fact that over a three year period the two payment options would generate a similar revenue.

Ray Cole

Hi John,

Yes, my students mostly opt for Captivate. And of course, once students acquire and learn the competition's tools, there is little incentive for them to switch, since nothing is easier than using what you already know how to use.

Good point about the monthly price actually being less than 1/12th the full price.

Articulate has a really tremendously great product in Storyline. Now we need a subscription payment plan that will put it in front of as many instructional designers as possible. The current subscription model is not serving that purpose very well, in my opinion.


Peter Anderson

Hey, John. Hi, Ray. 

We can certainly appreciate how much of a factor cost plays in your decision-making process, and we know we aren't the cheapest option out there. But we do think we're the best, and we've always offered generous educational discounts to the students, teachers, and faculty of the schools who want to use our products. I'm happy to tell you more about those discounts if you'd like; they generally start at 50%.

When we rolled out Articulate 360, we made the decision to only offer an annual subscription, but we're always listening to what you want, so thanks for letting us know a monthly payout would help.

I'm compelled to mention, though, that despite billing you monthly, our competitor only offers an annual obligation with an early cancellation penalty if you aren't able to continue with the monthly payments. It's a side of the subscription business that we've decided to approach a little more cautiously. 

And I love your take on our landscape, John. I think you nailed it. We're happy we can still offer our most powerful authoring tools to those folks who don't see Articulate 360 as a fit, and we're proud to keep supporting that perpetual side of the business. 

If there's anything else you'd like to talk about in more detail, my team and I are always here for you: success@articulate.com.

Ray Cole

Hi Peter,

I acknowledge that the competition still asks for a 1-year commitment. You could do the same. The key is the monthly payment plan which lowers the barrier to entry for students and new users, and flattens the cash-flow spikes for the rest of us.

And you'll get no argument from me that your tools are the best. They are. :-)



John Curran

Peter...glad that I nailed it! Thanks for your comment and yes Adobe do include a 'commitment' clause but the exit penalty isn't too onerous. I personally believe that Storyline in all its guises is worth the extra investment but people new to e-learning authoring tools are often a little more price sensitive...and if there was a monthly subscription model the barrier to entry would be much lower and I think they would actually buy more individual licenses in the long run - especially Team licenses if that were part of the subscription deal. 

Peter Burn

I too struggle with either upgrade to SL3 when my contract is up or continue with subscription.  I suspect I will just do the upgrade.  I get vastly superior cutout people (Industrial) from my Captivate subscription and have never used anything but SL 360 out of the package.  My main service contract runs to December 31 2018 with a multinational oil company who supports SL2 only.  So that is what I use, getting my cutout people etc. from my Captivate subscription.  They are thinking of upgrading to SL3, another reason for me to follow suit.

The 360 Power Point plug in is not something I would ever use, nor is Rise of much interest.  Review is not as useful as the Trevantis Review Link I pay for monthly and I have Captivate Prime for LMS testing.