Five on Friday: Restaurants, Reels and Ruffled Feathers

Restaurants see subscription success, Sling TV accepts crypto, Winter Olympics ruffle Peacock’s feathers.

Happy March, Subscription Insiders! In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, PYMNTS shows that restaurant subscription services are seeing success due, in part, to increased customer loyalty, and Facebook launches Reels on a global scale with new functionality and monetization options for creators. Also, Sling TV is now accepting seven forms of cryptocurrency for payments, Peacock closes the door on lackluster viewing of the 2022 Winter Olympics, and LinkedIn shares some of the top subscription jobs available.

Restaurants likely to see subscription success

With the pandemic hitting, we saw subscriptions that we didn’t think we were going to see otherwise – in the food industry. For example, Taco Bell rolled out their Taco Lover’s Pass on a wider scale this year, and Panera reworked its popular coffee subscription service. More and more eyes are on the restaurant industry and how “quick service restaurants” (QSR) can potentially tap into the subscription industry to attract more loyal customers.

In a new report from PYMNTS, they discovered that four in ten consumers were open to restaurant subscription services. These patrons tend to be the most engaged of those that go and will go to that restaurant more frequently. If we take a look at Taco Bell’s Taco Lover’s Pass, they are offering subscribers one free taco a day per month. Panera’s subscription, now called the Unlimited Sip Club, offers subscribers unlimited iced and hot coffee, as well as hot tea for $8.99 per month. Pret a Manger has a coffee subscription too, but has gotten themselves in hot water after price raises, as well as making items famously unavailable. They have some work to do before their service can be considered successful.

If you take a more in depth look at PYMNT’s findings, you can see why restaurants are finding subscription success. Customers that sign up for subscription services from their favorite restaurants are 78% who are considered very or extremely loyal to their preferred QSRs. According to PYMNTS’ research, 78% of restaurant subscribers are “very” or “extremely” loyal to their favorite restaurants. A win-win for all involved!

These are consumers who are actively going to get their free taco per day or their free coffee every two hours. Subscribers are representative of those that are dining at that particular QSR three times a week or more and are more attentive to the customer experience online and in-store. Did they get their extra hot sauce? Was their coffee the right temperature? Something is getting them to come back.

This report was not exclusive to quick service restaurants, and also took a look at table dining restaurants. Overall, 80% of table service restaurant subscribers have stated their loyalty to their favorite restaurant. Access of a restaurant subscription is also becoming more of a factor when diners are selecting a restaurant. PYMNTS also shared their findings in testing consumer loyalty. It was reported that restaurant subscription holders are twice as likely to use loyalty programs. Download the full report, co-sponsored by Paytronix, at PYMNTS.com.

Restaurants are seeing subscription success and loyal subscribers. Image source: Envato Elements

Facebook Reels launches globally with new functionality

Facebook Reels launched in the U.S. in September 2021 and have now launched to 150 countries worldwide. Reels launched as Meta’s way to compete with TikTok. The short-form video feature met with immediate success. With the Reels’ launch, they are also releasing ways for creators to be more creative and ways for them to monetize their content, according to TechCrunch.

Reels initially launched on Instagram in 2020, but was brought over to Facebook to create a better offense for TikTok. Meta reported that Reels was now its fastest-growing content format by far on both Facebook and Instagram. Currently, Reels monetizes at a different rate than other content formats, but Meta is hoping that will change with their new policies and implementations.

Reuters reported that Meta was expanding its program to pay creators bonuses, and was testing overlay ads for reels. These ads would use banners and stickers for creators to be able to earn revenue. Meta disclosed that it would also be rolling out full-screen ads between Reels soon and it would be rolling out updates for users that would allow them to make and see Facebook Reels in new places, like the Stories feature, Watch tab, and at the top of their news feed. In different countries, users will see suggested reels in their feed. They are also in talks to add a way for fans to be able to directly donate to creators, called Stars.

In addition to new monetization features, Meta will roll out new editing features for creators to try. Reels users will be able to “remix” others’ videos, as well as upload clips that are up to one minute long. Users will be able to save drafts and access new clipping tools in the coming months. These new features would make it easier for creators who publish longer videos to be able to try new formats, according to The Verge.

Facebook Reels have now launched globally. They include new features and new monetization options for creators. Image courtesy of Facebook.

Sling adds crypto payments for monthly subscriptions

AMC Theatres made waves when it announced it would accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for moviegoers, and it looks like more companies are following suit with this decision. Streaming service Sling TV looks like it is also embracing this payment method, and will now be accepting crypto payment support for monthly subscriptions. Sling is hoping this move will show their customers their flexibility, variety, and ease of use.

“Beginning this week, Sling TV subscribers can use cryptocurrency to pay for their monthly subscription. Through the payment provider Bitpay, users can now select and pay for their favorite digital streaming service with their preferred digital currency – whether it’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin,” said Sling in a February 18, 2022 press release.

Other cryptocurrencies that will be accepted include Bitcoin Cash, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, Shiba Inu Coin and 5 USD-pegged stablecoins. BitPay will only be available to users with an existing monthly subscription, and new users must pay with a traditional payment method to activate their account. After their first month, they then can switch using BitPay. Subscribers will be given the option to prepay for one to six months at a time. Once their prepaid period ends, the subscription will be billed to the payment method on file.

Dish, Sling’s parent company, also accepts crypto as a form of payment for its subscription services, and has been doing so since 2014. At the time, they partnered with Coinbase, and were using Coinbase’s Instant Exchange feature to exchange bitcoin into US dollars in real time. This allowed consumers flexibility, and allowed customers to access a wider variety of payment options.

Sling TV now accepts 7 types of cryptocurrency.
Sling TV now offers seven types of cryptocurrency. Image courtesy of Sling TV.

Winter Olympics ruffled Peacock’s feathers

This year Peacock had the privilege of hosting the Winter Olympics online. While the Olympics generally provide wide viewership, they may have fallen a little flat this year. This may have been due, in part, their being streamed on NBCUniversal’s Peacock TV. Viewership reports indicate this may not have been the best move.

NBC opened the Super Bowl with Winter Olympics action, then shifted to the football game, and back to Olympics coverage, according to CNN. Their message was clear: “Watch the Olympics.” NBC was able to promote their coverage of the global sporting event, as well as their own streaming service. Historically, CBS has hosted the Super Bowl, but NBC took over this year to boost interest in the Winter Games, which has been the weaker of the two Olympic events.

The Hollywood Reporter shows that the Winter Olympics has always been the less viewed Olympic Games. NBCUniversal has taken on the task of showing audience two different Olympic games in less than a year, due to the 2020 games in Tokyo being pushed back. Viewership has taken a drastic turn. 2018 viewership was at 23.92 million viewers for the first four days of the Olympics, whereas viewership was half that at only 12.03 million viewers for 2022. Should we put stock in these numbers? Maybe not. Peacock was not in existence in 2018, and not everyone watching the Olympic Games in 2018 has an active Peacock account currently.

In terms of ratings, NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua said the ratings were what they expected them to be, another report from The Hollywood Reporter said. Athletes in masks, a lack of spectators, and a lack of Olympics magic tend to put a damper on things. Other live sports have suffered the same fate.

Peacock has made strides when it comes to the Olympics, and the most recent one making all Olympic events available on Peacock, with no need for a cable subscription. In addition to this, they also reorganized their interface to make things more accessible.

Winter Olympics - Beijing 2022
Source: Bigstock Photos

Top Subscription Jobs

Senior Analyst/Data & Insights (Subscriber/Subscription Reporting)
The New York Times
New York, NY

Seeking analytical/engineering talent to turn passion for data and support of world-class journalism into tools and insights. The senior analyst collaborates with the internal tech and product teams to deliver tools and analyses that fuel subscription growth for the New York Times. This position requires a strategic and tactical viewpoint and strong problem solving skills. Responsibilities include designing, creating, and maintaining subscriber/subscription databases for reporting and analysis… Read more.

Senior PR Manager, Series Apple TV+
Apple
Culver City, CA

Imagine what you could do here. At Apple, we believe new ideas have a way of becoming extraordinary products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. You bring passion and dedication to your job and there’s no telling what you could accomplish. Apple seeks a Sr. PR Manager, Series for the Corporate Communications and Publicity team for Apple’s new original video subscription service, Apple TV+, featuring original shows, movies and documentaries from the world’s most creative storytellers. Read more.

Digital Retention & Loyalty Specialist
The Walt Disney Company
Washington, D.C.

Duties of this position include leading the execution of multi-channel engagement and retention campaigns focused on our subscribers, coordinating with cross-functional teams as appropriate; identifying digital opportunities to engage our customers along their journey to increase loyalty while decreasing churn; planning and creating consumer emails and newsletters to showcase subscriber benefits and value; and more. Read more.

Director of Content Strategy
Databook
U.S. (remote)

As the Director of Content Strategy you will be responsible for envisioning, architecting and executing a content strategy to attract, acquire, and engage our market. You will partner closely with the Director of Communications and Community to drive pro-content subscriptions and revenue. You will build a team of content managers, researchers and learning and development professionals and create an elite enterprise-selling curriculum that will educate and inspire a new generation of go-to-market professionals. Read more.

Associate Director, Audience Engagement
SiriusXM
New York, NY

SiriusXM is seeking an Associate Director, Audience Engagement to build and grow new social media communities for key SiriusXM verticals with the goal of creating awareness among and engaging potential listeners. This role will report to the Director, Social Media and will be responsible for crafting the vision, content and engagement strategy for a diverse portfolio of social handles ranging from Sports to Pop Culture with an eye towards continued growth and development. This person will be at the forefront of growing and transforming the new SiriusXM social brands into culture driving communities. Read more.

For more great subscription job opportunities, visit our Jobs page!

Source: Envato Elements

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