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

Five on Friday: Furloughs, Free Content and Cool Apps to Try

Featuring Tribune Publishing, NPR and YouTube

TGIF. We made it through another week of the corornavirus pandemic, and we are starting to see some positive signs that our new normal is making a difference. Meanwhile, subscription companies are either thriving or barely surviving. In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, Tribune Publishing is the latest media company to offer furloughs and severance packages for voluntary separations, NPR is heading into steep cuts, and YouTube creators are taking a huge hit as AdSense rates decline by at least 20%. Also this week, we bring you five “must have” work apps to try, and we share which streaming companies are offering free content – and Subscription Insider staff’s favorite TV and movie picks!

Tribune Publishing Implements Unpaid Furloughs for Nonunion Staff

It seems that the layoffs, furloughs and severance packages for newspapers is never ending. Earlier this month, Tribune Publishing, who owns Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, The Virginian-Pilot, the New York Daily News and other papers, implemented permanent salary reductions. These pay cuts ranged between 2% and 10% and impacted nonunion employees with a base salary of $67,000 or more. Even executives and the board of directors received pay reductions.

But wait, there’s more. Tribune Publishing has now announced three-week, unpaid furloughs to be taken in one-week increments between and May and July, reports the Chicago Tribune. The furloughed employees will still receive health benefits during their furloughs. Impacted employees include nonunion employees who make between $40,000 and $67,000 per year.

In a memo to employees, CEO Terry Jimenez wrote, “Despite strong engagement with our journalism, the impact on advertising has been profound. Statewide stay-at-home orders have been extended beyond initial government orders, and as a result, we will need to take additional measures to ensure the financial stability of the company.”

In addition to these changes, the company is pursuing potential cost savings among its union employees.

NPR Expects Budget Shortfall of $30M to $45M

Newspapers aren’t the only media organizations getting hit hard with impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. National Public Radio will be making significant cuts as well, reports Market Watch. According to a memo to staff, NPR is anticipating a budget shortfall between $30 million and $45 million through its 2021 fiscal year. Companies cannot afford to sponsor NPR right now, and donations are drying up as donors reevaluate their financial priorities given the current economy. With one-third of its revenue coming from corporate sponsorships, this is painful.

In a statement, NPR said, “NPR is taking a significant budget hit because of the economic lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have a profit motive or shareholders to serve like commercial media, so all of our resources go toward public service. We will continue manage our budgets closely across the organization – our main priority is to preserve jobs. During this pandemic and beyond, NPR will continue to provide an essential public service to audiences across platforms.”

NPR chief executive John Lansing will take a 25% pay cut. Other NPR executives will see pay cuts ranging between 10% and 15%, says The New York Times. At this point, other measures are being considered, but not finite decisions have been made. According to an email to staff, Lansing said NPR would have a better idea by mid-May or June would steps they’ll need to take to sustain the company through the pandemic and its subsequent effects.

AdSense Rates on YouTube Down by Double Digits for Many Creators

Like so many others in creative fields, YouTube creators are reporting big drops in revenue. In this case, the drops are being seen in the forms of CMP, the amount an advertiser is willing to pay per 1,000 impressions. Last week, YouTube creator Hank Green called on his peers to share their CPMs, numbers that are usually kept private, to compare notes. Many are seeing big drops in their CPMs, reports Tubefilter.

Green, for example, is seeing a drop of 28% across his three channels (Crash Course, SciShow and SciShowKids). At an average price of $4.75, this is the lowest Green has seen since January 2013. At the same time, viewership is up, which helps to offset his losses.

Here are some responses he received via Twitter:

According to Tubefilter, Green said creators will likely look to other revenue streams which could include YouTube Premium and Patreon.

5 “Must Have” Apps to Help You Work from Home

Image: Bigstock Photo

Coda is an application that brings words, data and teams together. Coda allows you to have all your documents, spreadsheets, and your workflow apps to get everything done seamlessly. No more switching apps, dealing with your start menu, or your task bar. Companies like Square and Figma both speak highly of Coda. Another feature Coda allows users to work from the same data samples, but in the way of work users prefer. If someone prefers to type things out, and someone else prefers to mind map, they can both use the same data. It also allows users to push reminders and data to other apps, like Slack, Gmail and other online tools. Coda offers a free tier, but users get more features with a paid subscription. Coda has four paid tiers, starting at $10 a month per user. Coda also offers special pricing for bigger organizations.

Airtable is another option to bring words and data together. Airtable, like Coda, allows users to organize their work how they want to. They have a calendar feature to allow users to see their task list day by day, and users can change that interface as desired. Airtable is ideal for creative teams, marketing, project management and communications. Companies like Medium, Shopify and Expedia all use Airtable. Much like Coda, they have a free tier and subscription tiers, starting at $10 per user per month. Perks of a paid subscription include larger attachment space, revision history and a dedicated customer success manager.

GitHub is a platform for developers that allows developers to host and review code, manage projects and build software. Companies like AirBnb, Walmart and Spotify use GitHub, which is now owned by Microsoft. The platform allows developers to write better code, because it allows for a more seamless conversation between coders. GitHub also promises code security, which can allow problems before they happen. GitHub uses a freemium model with a free tier and a subscription tier that starts at $4 per user per month.

Flock is another team communication app. Apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams are on the rise, and Flock is gaining in popularity. The app allows you to have instant conversations with coworkers, make video calls, stay on track with your apps, and integrate with over 50 apps. Using the freemium model, Flock offers three tiers with the subscription tiers starting at $4.50 per user per month; their pro tier comes with a 30-day free trial.

Want to get your work done faster? Try Droplr. Users can get screenshots and screen recordings instantly. The app also allows users to save everything to the cloud, offers flexibility across devices, and allows users to share with coworkers instantly. Users can also annotate their work. Nike, AirBNB and eBay have all used Droplr. Like Flock, they offer a 30-day free trial. Their paid subscription tiers start at $5 per user per month.

In case you are running out of TV shows or movies to stream, here is a quick rundown of some the streaming video services that are offering free options during the coronavirus pandemic. Some offer free trials, free tiers or temporarily free content.

Amazon Prime Video – free one-month trial

Freebies on Streaming Video + Subscription Insider’s Favorite Movie Picks for the Weekend

CBS All Access – one month free

Apple TVsome programming free

Roku Home Together – compiling a lot of free services

Quibi – 90-day free trial

Kanopy – documentaries and films

Netflix – free month

Peacockfree to Comcast & Xfinity customers

Plex – live TV for three months

Here is what the Subscription Insider team is watching and where:

June Foret: Netflix favorites Hook and The Talented Mr. Ripley

Seth Clampett: Hulu, season 1 of Killing Eve and guilty pleasures like Mean Girls and the Fast and the Furious.

Kathy Greenler Sexton: Kathy is all in on the new Disney+. Favorites include Frozen II, Star Wars and Onward.

Sean Sexton: Sean loves Mel Brooks’ classics, as well as Airplane, Space Balls and the Three Stooges, wherever he can find them.

Dana Neuts: I subscribe to Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix, but tend to watch Netflix more than any other service. My favorite “classics” are Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Groundhog Day, because doesn’t the pandemic feel like the same day over and over??? I am also watching season 2 of Big Little Lies, on HBO for free with my Comcast subscription right now.

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