Five on Friday: Facebook, France and Food
Featuring SiriusXM, Pandora, Google, Amazon and Instagram
If you are tired of hearing about hearings, trials and college admissions, then this Five on Friday is for you. In this week’s edition, Mark Zuckerberg lays out his privacy-focused vision for Facebook, Digital Music News reveals SiriusXM’s plan for its $3.5 billion acquisition – Pandora, France wants to tax tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook, Food Navigator USA talks about the challenges of selling meal kits in stores versus subscription box distribution, and Shopify shares five apps you should be using to grow your Instagram following.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Pledges Massive Privacy Overhaul
Following scandal after scandal, serious privacy concerns and pending fines, Mark Zuckerberg is taking a good, hard look at Facebook and what’s next. In a March 6 post, the Facebook founder said he believes the future lies in a communications platform that is privacy-focused, whether that is one-on-one through private messaging or through small group conversations. He believes there will still be a place for public social networks, but also that a privacy-first platform is needed.
“I understand that many people don't think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform -- because frankly we don't currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we've historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we've repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories,” Zuckerberg said.
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about,” added Zuckerberg.
He said a privacy-focused platform will be based on several principles including:
- Private interactions – control over who and how we communicate
- Encryption – secure, private communication
- Reducing permanence – information isn’t forever saved
- Safety – keeping users safe within a platform’s limitations
- Interoperability – communicating across platforms
- Secure data storage – protecting sensitive information
For more on Zuckerberg’s vision for a privacy-focused future, read his in-depth March 6 post.
How SiriusXM is Capitalizing on $3.5B Acquisition of Pandora
Following a $3.5 billion all-stock acquisition last fall, SiriusXM now owns Pandora Radio, but what are they going to do with it? According to Digital Music News, the company is going to create “the world’s largest audio-entertainment company.” To accomplish that, SiriusXM will leverage Pandora’s existing audience and exclusive content and programming for both its ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique bundles of audio content.
The company has also created a dedicated content team at Pandora to be led by Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein, who is also leading SiriusXM’s content team. The Pandora content team will create content including original music, sports and talk as well as new full-time channels, shows, podcasts, playlists and more.
"We now have two great platforms to work with, and to offer that to artists and content creators," Greenstein said. "Because we have dedicated teams at both Pandora and SiriusXM that are experts in programming, and now the Pandora audience and experience, it allows us to take programming elements that make SiriusXM great and make them available to the Pandora audience."
In a Billboard article, Greenstein indicated that listeners may be able to attract celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Jenny McCarthy to the brand, because they have a much more flexible platform and a far wider audience.
“We are still two brands and support both fully,” Greenstein said. "But there is so much that can be done by sharing and making available content that before the acquisition was unavailable to both platforms."
France Could Impose 3 Percent Tax on Large Tech Firms
Last week, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire revealed plans to impose a 3 percent tax on French revenue from tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook, reports the Associated Press. The idea is that multinational companies like those based in the U.S. pay very little in taxes to the French government, despite their significant international presence. If the proposal passes, France will be the first European country to impose such a tax.
AP reports that the new tax will impact digital companies who offer online services or sell consumer data and who have global revenue of more than 750 million euros, or about $848 million, and French revenue of more than 25 million euros, or about $28 million. The new tax will raise an estimated $500 million euros a year, or $566 million. Of the 30 companies impacted, most are based in the U.S., but there are a few in China and Europe who will also be subject to the new tax.
“This is about justice. These digital giants use our personal data, make huge profits out of these data…then transfer the money somewhere else without paying their fair amount of taxes,” said Le Maire.
The Computer and Communications Industry Association opposes the proposed tax.
“So-called digital companies are, contrary to claims, not under-taxed and they should not be arbitrarily targeted,” said Christian Borggreen, CCIA Europe’s vice president.
The Challenges of Buying Meal Kits In-store Versus Subscribing
Have you been to a Whole Foods, Costco or Kroger store and seen a line of pre-made meal kits waiting for you? Though not new, this is an alternative way for meal kit companies to distribute their products in addition to the subscription meal kit approach.
According to Food Navigator USA, last year in-store meal kit purchases hit $93 million in revenue, with 187 new meal kit items for high-profile brands. Household purchases of meal kits are also rising. Nielsen Homescan says that 14.3 million U.S. households bought meal kits in the last half of 2018, a significant increase from 3.8 million in 2017.
Despite these numbers, there are inherent challenges to offering in-store meal kits that subscription meal kit services don’t have. For example, shelf-life is a big issue for in-store sales. The food must be fresh, and grocery stores have to have adequate storage and display space for fresh meal kits.
Subscription meal kits, however, can do more “on demand” purchasing, and they have a better idea of how many of their meal kits are being purchased (e.g., subscriptions + trials), so they can purchase just the right amount of inventory which translates into less waste. Pricing can also be a challenge, but meal kit consumers tend to be more affluent, so convenience can outweigh potential objections about cost.
What’s next? More experimentation with products, price points, meal kit variety and shelf life. Learn more about the challenges and successes of in-store meal kit sales on FoodNavigator-USA.com.
5 “Must Have” Apps to Increase Your Instagram Followers
Did you know that Instagram has more than half a billion daily active users? How would you like to get a share of those for your subscription company? In a January 2 Shopify blog post, Kevin Donnelly shares 20 “must have” apps to grow your following. Here are five we want to try:
- Snapseed: This photo editing app goes beyond Instagram’s built-in filters to let you apply edits and effects to different parts of your photo to get it exactly the way you want. You can also save groups of filters as a template, says Donnelly, so your whole feed can have a consistent look.
- Canva: We love Canva for social media posts, including Instagram. It comes with a lot of free templates, designs and fonts, as well as premium options. This is a great way to add text to a photo, create a template with multiple images and to build stories that grab your attention.
- Repost: Want to share someone else’s post? Repost is for you! This free app helps you share user-generated content, while giving credit to the original poster. This tool is great for content creation. Available for iOS and Android.
- HootSuite: HootSuite is a popular social media scheduling tool. HootSuite allows users to schedule their posts in advance and then reminds users when to push those posts out. If you have an Instagram Business account, the posts will go live automatically at the predetermined time. HootSuite is a freemium tool, so there is a free option but it is limited. It has paid pro plans, starting at $19 a month.
- Autohash: Hashtags are critical to the success of any Instagram account. In fact, the more, the merrier. Try Autohash to find the best hashtags to use or to identify popular hashtags like #dogsofinstagram, #foodart or #fashionista.
For 15 more ideas, read Donnelly’s original post, “Instagram Tools: 20 Essential Apps for Growing Your Following on Instagram” on Shopify.