In this weeks subscription headlines, McClatchy is struggling financially, forcing it to explore creative options - including a possible sale; meal kit subscription service Plated is serving its last meal at the end of this month; and Android malware disguises itself as an ad blocker, wreaking havoc on those who have downloaded it. Also this week, Hulu will raise its live TV price by $10 a month, Disney+ content warnings have offended some subscribers, and GateHouse and Gannett shareholders approve the mega-merger.
This has been an amazing week as we held our first three-day Subscription Show. That didnt stop the subscription news world though. Here are some of the latest subscription headlines: Sprout Social files to go public, Apple hinted at a subscription-based iPhone, and Zuoras stock is lacking. Also in the news, EA games are returning to stream, NBC might offer Peacock free, and Netflix is getting into the podcasting business.
On the inaugural day of the first-ever Subscription Show 2019 by Subscription Insider, industry professionals met to network and learn from their peers and from industry experts. Here's the recap.
Taking a break from the MLS conference semi-finals, the World Series or the kick-off of the NBA season? We've got some interesting subscription features for you. McClatchy lays off 30 employees as it continues its digital transformation, Meredith Corp sells the MONEY brand to Ad Practitioners LLC, and American Press Institute shares examples of how publishers have successfully retained subscribers through engagement. Also this week, Netflix is raising $2 billion in debt to pay for content, and the Financial Times adds consultancy to its list of services to help other publishers learn from their paywall success. Last week, in an email to staff, McClatchy president and CEO Craig Forman outlined big changes coming to the organization as it continues its digital transformation, reports Poynter. The changes include leadership shifts and changes to functional areas (News, Finance, Customer and Product, and Operations). They also include layoffs of about 30 employees, or 1% of staff. None of the layoffs will come from reporting positions.
In this weeks subscription news, The Athletic submits podcasts to Apple and Spotify, Visa and Mastercard say no to Facebooks Libra digital currency project, and Crain Communications ends its print magazine. Also this week, Harry Potter fans can spend $75 a year on a new subscription service, former Denver City Council candidates launch a newspaper, and the Washington Posts TV app is not about watching - its about reading.
We are busy preparing for our big Subscription Show next month, but that didn't stop us from preparing a feature-filled Five on Friday for you. This week, Delta Airlines gets into the subscription business, Scribe launches a subscription greeting card service with the help of artists, EU regulators have concerns about Apple Pay's possible anticompetitive behavior, Hulu adds like and dislike buttons to personalize suggestions and, everyone's favorite feature, LinkedIn shares top subscription jobs.
Subscription management platform Recurly is wrapping up September in style. Last week the San Francisco-based startup announced it raised $19.5 million in Series C funding. This brings its total venture capital raised to date to $39.1 million, according to Crunchbase. The latest funding round was led by F-Prime Capital with additional investments from Silicon Valley Bank, Polaris Partners and Greycroft.
The subscription world was a little quieter this week, but there is still plenty of interesting news to be had. Amazon waves its mobile game flag to give free loot to Prime subscribers, Spot gives subscription injury insurance a shot, and Luminary announces new titles in its fall line-up. Also this week, Twitch acquires Internet Gaming Database, GoCardless comes to the U.S., and Spotify revamps its app for artists.
Payments startup Stripe is doing a lot more than payments these days. Last week the fintech company announced it raised $250 million in its latest funding round that includes Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst and Sequoia, all previous investors. Founded in 2010, the companys total in venture capital raised to date is $1 billion which also includes investors like Visa, Kleiner Perkins and CapitalG. As a result of this Series F round of funding, Stripe has been valued at $35 billion, an increase of $15 billion in the last year, reports Business Insider. The company does not have any immediate plans to take the company public.
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission got a preliminary injunction against AH Media Group for fraudulent subscription practices, including free trial offers and negative option subscriptions. The preliminary injunction prevents AH Media from misrepresenting their free trial offers, enrolling them in subscriptions without permission, billing customers without permission, and making it very difficult for customers to cancel their subscriptions or get refunds.