The second quarter was a momentous one for Tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC), the owner of the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel and other media properties. Among the second quarter highlights was a 3.9 percent increase in total revenue and 89 percent growth in digital-only subscribers, bringing total digital-only subscribers to 212,000 at the end of the second quarter.
Dana Neuts is Subscription Insider's Senior Staff Writer, covering our daily subscription news as well as member features, case studies, and reports.
Dana is also a writer, editor, marketing professional, speaker and the publisher of iLoveKent.net. Her work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, The Seattle Times, Seattle Business, 425 Business, 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, Northwest Travel and more. She is the immediate past president of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her specialties include business writing, community news, senior issues, travel and, of course, subscriptions!
Last week, Kaplan Test Prep and Cengage announced a new partnership, bringing free test prep and live academic support to Cengage Unlimited subscribers. At the outset of the partnership, the test prep offerings include GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, DAT and Praxis. In addition, Cengage Unlimited subscribers will get free access to Kaplan’s HelpSuite, giving them academic support for physics, chemistry and organic chemistry.
On the heels of a fresh round of financial reports, subscription companies are saturating the news headlines. In this week’s round-up, DC Entertainment is opening its streaming subscription for pre-orders on Google Play, YouTube offers cash to creators to use and promote new features, Unified Payments launches a subscription-based payment processing service, and Spotify tests unlimited, skippable audio ads.
This is a good time to be in the online dating business. Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH) reported its second quarter financial results last week, including total revenue of $421 million, a 36 percent increase year-over-year. This increase was driven by 27 percent average subscriber growth and 8 percent growth in average revenue per user (ARPU). The company’s Tinder dating app along grew by 299,000 new subscribers to 3.8 million at the end of the second quarter.
Before you head out for one of the last weekends of summer, we’ve got some great Five on Friday articles for you. Security Boulevard explains the costs of SaaS data loss, Chief Executive shares the sins of the customer experience, Shopify offers Instagram post ideas, CBS News reports how theaters are trying a three-screen approach to battle Netflix, and VentureBeat explores how blockchain fights ad blindness.
Yesterday, MoviePass raised its rates from $9.95 to $14.95 per month per subscriber, just two weeks after running out of money and securing a $5 million emergency loan from a hedge fund. This is one of about a half dozen pricing changes – we’ve lost count – over the last year or so, causing concern that MoviePass doesn’t have a good handle on its business model. Running out of operating funds wasn’t MoviePass’s only recent mistake, however. The site experienced an outage the weekend Marvel’s Ant-man was released, frustrating moviegoing subscribers.
The wait is almost over. Nintendo of America announced last week that it will finally launch its much-awaited online subscription service in the second half of September. After the launch, a subscription will be needed to play multiplayer games like Splatoon 2, ARMS, Mario Tennis Aces and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe online, reports Newsweek. Single player and local multiplayer games will continue to operate as they do now. Nintendo has also revealed pricing for the new subscription service:
Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) ended last week on a high note, releasing its fiscal 2018 full year and fourth quarter results on Friday. For the fourth quarter, Meredith reported total revenue from continuing operations of $788 million, a 77 percent increase year-over-year. Earnings from continuing operations were $17 million, down from $43 million for the same period last year. However, adjusted EBITDA was $160 million, a 76 percent increase year-over-year.
Another blockbuster merger is in trouble. On Thursday morning, Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) announced that it was backing out of a $3.9 billion deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group and filing suit against the company for breach of contract. In the lawsuit filed in a Chancery, Delaware court, Tribune seeks compensation for losses incurred as a result of material breaches in the merger agreement between the two companies, including Sinclair’s promise to obtain regulatory approval as soon as possible and divesting stations in specific markets to facilitate that approval.
In this week’s subscription headlines, The Verge reports that Amazon is working on a new Prime Video interface for mobile, Tableau’s transition to the subscription model is working, and Apple’s Tim Cook drops hints about Apple’s plans for video. Also this week, Warner Music acquires Uproxx, FX makes its ad-free FX+ platform available to all subscribers, and Rooster Teeth creates a $2.5 million development fund for animation creators.