illustration of the number five, representing the five subscription business topics for this column, Five-on-Friday

Five on Friday: Digital Commerce, App Subscriptions and Streaming Content

Featuring 2Checkout, Apple, Quibi and CuriosityStream

In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, 2Checkout releases its 2020 global digital commerce benchmark study, Apple is focusing on streaming music and TV content (including Snoopy!), and streaming video subscription service CuriosityStream goes public. Also this week, we’ll share the sad news that short form video platform Quibi is shutting down and how much consumers are spending each month on app subscriptions, according to Adjust, a subscription-tracking service.

2Checkout Releases 2020 Global Digital Commerce Benchmark Study

Last week, 2Checkout released their 2020 global digital commerce benchmark survey which tracked trends in global online sales of software, SaaS, digital products and online services. The data was gathered on 2Checkout’s all-in-one monetization platform from January 2020 through June 2020. Here are highlights from that report:

Subscriptions represented 79.5% of total online sales of digital goods and services during the first half of 2020.
Subscriptions represented 79.5% of total online sales of digital goods and services during the first half of 2020, reports 2Checkout.
  • Subscriptions continue to be popular, now representing 79.5% of total online sales of digital goods and services, representing a 2.5% increase over 2019.
  • Visa and Mastercard are the top payment preferences globally, accounting for 63% of global online sales. PayPal followed at 23% and American Express at 4%.
  • In the U.S., the three most popular digital producers were financial services, endpoint security software and multimedia tools.
  • The United States, United Kingdom and France took the top three spots, respectively, as the largest eCommerce markets worldwide.
  • Italy had the top year-over-year growth at 50%, followed by Spain at 48%. 2Checkout attributes these significant increases to the aggressive lockdown stance these markets took at the beginning of the year.
  • The average eCommerce order value was $52, a $4 decrease compared to last year.
  • In the first half of 2020, merchants who used promotional tools generated 36% more revenue, a 3% increase over last year.
  • Merchants who utilized cross-selling and up-selling raised 15% of revenue from their campaigns.

Get more insights from 2Checkout from their digital commerce benchmark infographic available at

Apple Launches a 24-Hour Music Video Livestream, Snoopy to Join Apple TV+

On Monday, Apple premiered Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of select popular music videos, says Variety. Available only in the U.S., Apple Music TV will also feature exclusive new music videos, chart countdowns, curated blocks of music videos, live shows and events, and music video premieres at noon Eastern. Today, Apple Music TV will debut Joji’s “777” and Saint Jhn’s “Gorgeous.” So far, there is not a dedicated app for Apple Music TV, but the free livestream can be accessed by Apple device owners via the Browse tabs of the Apple Music and Apple TV apps.

TechCrunch, who did some initial testing of the service, said was not particularly impressed. They said the service was basic, but it is uncensored and ad free. There are no social media sharing options, and you can’t play the music in the background if you want to watch something else. TechCrunch compared it to a traditional TV broadcast, versus a music video experience like VEVO and YouTube offer.

Apple Music TV is a free, 24-hour curated music video channel now available in the United States.
Apple Music TV is a free, 24-hour curated music video channel now available in the U.S.

In related news, Apple announced a partnership with WildBrain for new original shows and specials, including much loved classic “Peanuts” specials featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang. This deal will also include a second season of “Snoopy in Space” which premiered on Apple TV+. Coming up for the fall and winter seasons are “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (October 30-November 1), “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (November 18-27) and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” starting December 4. Each Snoopy classic will be available briefly for free.

Snoopy and the gang find a new home on Apple TV+. Image courtesy of Apple.

Streaming Video Subscription Service CuriosityStream Goes Public

Premium streaming subscription service CuriosityStream has gone public under the symbol CURI. Launched in 2015 by Discovery Channel founder John S. Hendricks, CuriosityStream offers thousands of documentaries on demand to subscribers, starting at $2.99 a month (HD monthly). The streaming channel features programs like “Global Food,” “The Story of Europe,” “The History of Food,” “Ancient Earth,” and “Classic Cars,” and it can be accessed via Android, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Roku, Xbox One and other platforms.

According to Media Post, CuriosityStream has more than 13 million subscribers in more than 175 countries. The streaming video subscription service features over 3,000 titles, including 900 originals exclusive to the platform. The company plans to add more than 11,000 premium non-fiction titles over the next five years.

CuriosityStream announced its intention to go public on the NASDAQ exchange on August 11 through a merger with blank check company Software Acquisition Group Inc. Software Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), will buy CuriosityStream through a reverse merge for about $331 million, which includes debt. As of yesterday at 5:39 pm EDT, CuriosityStream stock was valued at $9.69 per share.

Streaming Video Subscription Service CuriosityStream Goes Public
Streaming video subscription service CuriosityStream goes public. Image courtesy of CuriosityStream.

Quibi Shuts Down After 6 Months

Short-form video streaming subscription service Quibi shuts down after just six months, says USA Today. With a $1.75 billion investment, Quibi launched the subscription service in April, just as the pandemic was taking hold. It featured bite-sized, 10-minute videos specifically for smartphones, and its shows featured celebrities like Anna Kendrick, Chrissy Teigen, Kevin Hart and Steven Spielberg.

Last month, we reported that Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman were looking for a buyer, but they apparently did not find one in time to save the sinking ship. In an open letter to employees, partners and investors, Katzenberg and Whitman shared the news.

“Although the circumstances were not right for Quibi to succeed as a standalone company, our team achieved much of what we set out to accomplish, and we are tremendously proud.”

While Quibi had an interesting concept, it was flawed from the start, USA Today speculates. First, the pandemic minimized the goal of the short-form video – providing brief content subscribers could watch while waiting for coffee or working out at the gym. With COVID-19 forcing so many to stay home, the need for short-form video never caught fire. USA Today called Quibi an “ill-advised, way overpriced and over-produced” service that no one wanted or needed.

In addition to Quibi’s missteps, TikTok and other video platforms (e.g., YouTube, Instagram Reels, etc.) were already doing what Quibi was trying to accomplish, but without the price tag or poor execution. Rest in peace, Quibi.

Adjust: Consumers Spend Just Under $21 a Month on App Subscriptions

According to Adjust, a subscription-tracking service, consumers spend an average of $20.78 per month on app subscriptions. Here are some additional data points about app subscriptions we found fascinating:

  • Subscription-based streaming apps were most frequently downloaded (30.7%), followed by gaming apps (9%) and news apps (4%).
  • Consumers spend an average of $33.58 per month for streaming and on-demand entertainment services.
  • The age group spending the most on streaming and on-demand services is 35 to 44 years of age at 76.3%.
  • Those ages 25 to 34 spend the most on subscription apps at $25.85 per month, while those 55 and over spend the least at $13.97 a month.
  • Consumers ages 45 to 54 spend the most at $38 per month, followed by consumers ages 25 to 34 who spend $36.2 per month.
  • More than 25% of millennials (born 1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (born 1996 and 2015) stopped paying for other services like the gym to buy subscription-based mobile apps.

For more statistics and insights from Adjust, read Dean Takahashi’s article, “Adjust: Americans Spend $20.78 a Month on App Subscriptions,” on  

Adjust reports consumers spend an average of $20.78 per month on app subscriptions.
Adjust reports consumers spend an average of $20.78 per month on app subscriptions. Image: Bigstock Photos

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