The McClatchy Company announced last week that it plans to freeze certain nonqualified supplemental executive retirement benefits for a small number of pension plan participants as the company tries to stabilize a dire financial situation. The announcement was a follow-up to the companys third quarter earnings report in which the company said it requested a waiver from the Internal Revenue Service for defined benefit pension plan obligations for 2019, 2020 and 2021. The IRS denied the request.
One of the things we enjoy most about the subscription industry is that it is always evolving. We love watching the trends, the course corrections and the innovation that come with the industry as it matures too. That's why this week we are focusing on our subscription predictions for 2020: streaming video on demand, newspaper and magazine publishing, vehicle subscriptions, subscription boxes and regulations that affect subscription companies (e.g., privacy laws, business practices, etc.).
Uber and Postmates started out the week with a bang by suing the State of California in federal court to stop the implementation of the states new freelance law, Assembly Bill 5, requiring the reclassification of independent contractors. Under certain circumstances, those contractors must be considered employees. The New York Times reported that Uber and Postmates requested an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect January 1, 2020, as scheduled. Two drivers - Lydia Olson and Miguel Perez - are part of the lawsuit.
Looking back at 2019, we covered hundreds of subscription launches, mergers, subscription closures, financial triumphs and disasters, and much more. In this week's Five on Friday, we're going to take a look at the top five subscription stories of the year. Disney+ lands the mouse some serious cheddar, Apple tries to strike gold with subscriptions but doesn't find it, MoviePass finally fizzles out, broke and embarrassed, the government goes after subscription scams, and the GateHouse/Gannett merger creates a newspaper powerhouse that will be hard to compete with in the next decade.
Christmas came early for former subscribers of UrthBox snack boxes. Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission mailed 2,221 refund checks totaling more than $84,000 in refunds to customers who were misled by a free trial offer. The customers thought they were signing up for a free snack box after paying a nominal shipping and handling fee but, instead, UrthBox signed them for a six-month subscription if they didnt opt out in time.
We are less than a week away from the Christmas holiday, and the subscription news keeps coming. In today's edition of Five on Friday, DoNotPay raises $4.6 million in funding and launches a virtual credit card that cancels free subscription trials. Also this week, Coca-Cola launches a beverage subscription to a limited number of subscribers, the FTC considers an injunction against Facebook's app integrations, Apple Arcade adds an annual subscription payment option, and we share customer service stats to help you plan for 2020.
Two streaming video pirates are getting coal in their Christmas stockings this year. Four months after their indictment by a grand jury, two Las Vegas men pleaded guilty to video piracy, copyright infringement and money laundering. Eight men total were charged with operating Jetflicks and iStreamItAll, headquartered in Las Vegas. The two men who pleaded guilty - Darryl Julius Polo, aka djppimp, and Luis Angel Villarino - could receive reduced sentences as a result of the plea and by agreeing to fully cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
VISA has issued new rules concerning the acceptance, disclosure and notice obligations of merchants conducting free trial offers and introductory or promotional offers that convert to paid programs. Lisa B. Dubrow, Esq. explains these changes that go into effect on April 18, 2020.
Last Thursday New York Attorney General Letitia James won more than $16 million in restitution, penalties and legal costs in a magazine and newspaper subscription scam lawsuit. James represented more than 68,000 New York residents who had been scammed by a network of New York and Oregon companies, some operating under the name Orbital Publishing Group, Inc., who fraudulently solicited magazine and newspaper subscriptions. The New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and permanently barred the fraudulent network of companies from mailing unauthorized and deceptive subscription offers going forward.
In this week's subscription headlines, Peloton stock falls after lowering its subscription app pricing (and after its unpopular ad), The Washington Post debuts a Spanish-language podcast, and Liverpool FC launches premium subscription content on YouTube. Also this week, BMW drops CarPlay annual subscriptions, Workday beats Wall Street estimates, and attorneys general urge FTC to stop deceptive marketing practices.