In this week’s subscription news, former Microsoft managers take on LinkedIn with a platform that pays users, AT&T helps partners to seize recurring revenue opportunities, and Amazon helps parents monitor their kids’ online activities. Also in the subscription headlines this week are The Times of London, Bloomberg Media, Facebook's Instant Articles,Google and messenger bots for Spotify.
After discussing its reinvention for a year, The Boston Globe is ready to move on its plans for a major transformation. On Monday, Boston Globe editor Brian McGrory outlined the company’s review and evaluation process and detailed some of the changes staff could anticipate. McGrory writes, "We’re ready to begin putting the pieces in place for a restructured newsroom. None of the changes detailed here will come as any surprise, though in total, they represent significant change..."
Last week Birchbox announced on social media that it has partnered with MAC cosmetics to bring the popular brand to the Birchbox Shop, and starting in May, MAC products will also be available in monthly subscription boxes, reports Bustle. MAC, which stands for Make-Up Art Cosmetics, will join Birchbox’s more than 800 brands, including Benefit Cosmetics, GlamGlow, Laura Mercier, Oribe, too cool for school, and TONYMOLY. “We are beyond thrilled to announce that MAC Cosmetics is available in the Shop on Birchbox.com!! We're so excited for you to explore tons of new products..."
Last week Condé Nast announced that it was expanding its relationship with Snap, Inc. (i.e., Snapchat), launching Snapchat Discover channels for GQ, Wired and SELF magazines in the hopes of wooing millennials to their brands. Starting in late April, Wired, GQ and SELF will publish weekly stories. Other media outlets using the Snapchat platform include The New York Times, Mashable, People, ESPN, Cosmopolitan, Buzz Feed, the Wall Street Journal and National Geographic.
Yesterday Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced its first quarter 2017 financials with $2.52 billion in revenue, compared to $1.81 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2016. In addition, the streaming video giant added 4.95 million net new members, bringing total memberships to 98.75 million. Other quarterly highlights include total revenue of $2.64 billion, compared to $1.96 billion, year-over-year (streaming represents $2.52 billion of the total; DVD rentals make up the difference.)
Earlier this year, Hulu announced that it had signed a deal with CBS to be among the networks included in its new live-streaming service coming later this year, though pricing was not known at that time. TechCrunch reports that Hulu will be priced at $39.99, according to unnamed sources. While the pricing has not been officially confirmed by Hulu, the expected $39.99 price tag includes ads, live network broadcasts, Hulu Originals like 11-22-63 and Shut Eye and Hulu’s on-demand library.
In this week’s subscription news, Min Online takes us inside The Economist’s plan to conquer America, Recurly launches a fraud management tool for subscription brands, and Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine gets axed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker because the editor was not willing to allow the administration to vet articles prior to publication. Also this week, we are reading about publishing platforms, how Instant Articles can drive subscriptions, and how ad blocking is hurting Slate.
The Atlantic is the latest publication to tell ad-blocking readers that they must whitelist their site or pay $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year for an ad-free experience, reports Digiday. This change will coincide with the magazine’s move to a more secure https site. Digiday says The Atlantic has been testing this change since October with a “soft wall” where ad-blocking readers could still access the site by closing a pop-up window. No more. The new policy was implemented Monday, April 10.
Last week Seattle-based SaaS provider Tableau (NYSE: DATA) announced it was changing its subscription pricing model for its products for new and existing customers. In an April 6 announcement, Dan Miller, Tableau’s new leader of worldwide sales, services and support, says the new model “signifies our ongoing commitment to help people more easily adopt and scale Tableau with greater flexibility.” The new model is effective immediately, and applies to all of its products – Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online. This recurring revenue model:
Last week Adblock Plus’s Parent Eyeo acquired Flattr, a micropayment and microdonation system. The two companies partnered last year to create a new Flattr as a way for consumers to automatically fund content they want to read using the Adblock Plus browser and the Flattr browser add-on. To set up automatic payments for content, a reader sets a monthly budget and Flattr’s algorithm distributes the “right amounts” to the “right sites” without the reader having to take any additional action like pushing a button or entering payment details. Then Flattr pays publishers, journalists and others for the content.
After months of teasing the public, YouTube has officially launched YouTube TV in five major metro markets – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Following a one-month free trial, subscribers in those cities will pay $35 a month to get access to live television and more than 50 networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, FX, USA, Disney Channel, Bravo and more. Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus are available as add-ons.
Last week Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) replaced its five-star rating system with a thumbs-up and thumbs-down system which it calls simpler and more intuitive. According to the announcement, a thumbs-up rating indicates you liked a particular show and want to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down says you didn’t like a show and you don’t want Netflix to suggest it to you again. The item is still searchable, but it won’t be served up on your home page.
In this week’s subscription news, Verizon is developing a digital TV sevice, Wired takes us inside Cheddar, and Android’s app revenue may overtake iOS in 2017. Also, this week AMI cuts jobs at newly-acquired Us Weekly, FT’s subscriptions see a boost from the U.S. election and Brexit, and Spotify helps grow paid music subscription revenue for 2016. We've got those stories and more on Subscription Insider.
Yesterday Taiwan-based HTC launched Viveport, a subscription service for virtual reality games and experiences. Following a one-month free trial, for $6.99 a month, VR fans can download up to five titles every month, including Mars Odyssey, Lumen, Stonehenge HR, Knock Out League, Arcade Artist, Apollo 11, Everest VR and more. HTC timed the launch to coincide with HTC Vive’s one-year anniversary which it called “Vive Day.” On Vive Day – April 5 – customers could get a free copy of Vive Studios’ VR Action game Arcade Saga, and new customers could save $100 on Vive.
On Monday, WWE (NYSE: WWE) announced that WWE Network, one of the early streaming video on-demand services, has hit a record number of subscribers. Following Sunday night’s WrestleMania, WWE Network now has 1.95 million total subscribers, a 7 percent increase after last year’s event on April 4, 2016. WWE Network now has approximately 1.45 million domestic subscribers, a 4 percent increase, and approximately 497,000 international subscribers, a 15 percent increase over subscriber totals the day after WrestleMania last year.