Subscription Insider announced today its Call for Speakers for Subscription Show 2019. Subscription Show 2019, an industry conference focused on the business of subscriptions, will be hosted at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, MA, Nov. 4-6, 2019. Subscription Insider will be accepting speaker proposals through February 1, 2019.
Phishing scams, new focuses and fury dominate the subscription headlines this week: phishing hackers are targeting PayPal accounts, Politico has a new FDA-focused subscription that will cost as much as $75,000 a year, and angry HP customers take to Twitter to rant about HP demanding people sign up for monthly ink subscriptions. Also, Apple is looking at acquiring MGM, BBC will be making cuts as it shifts its focus to digital news, and Penguin Random House pulls certain titles from their unlimited-reading subscription service.
Last week, it became official. The Disney-Fox deal is now a done deal with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) completing its acquisition of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox for a cool $71 billion. In a news release, Disney called this the "unprecedented collection of high-quality creative content, stellar talent and cutting-edge technologies" that will allow the company to expedite its direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming strategy and expand its presence to new audiences. It's DTC offerings include ESPN+, ownership in Hulu and Disney +, its yet-to-be-launched streaming video-on-demand service coming later this year.
Acquisitions appear to be in the air this month. Last week, Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE: CL) announced it plans to acquire Hello Products LLC, a premium oral care brand that sells a variety of dental products for everyone from three-month-old infants and toddlers to teens and adults. Available in the United States, Hello sells toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, dental floss, teething gel and other products in retail stores, online and via subscription. Their products use natural ingredients and are not tested on animals.
ast week, Digital Air Strike announced record 2019 results at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The technology company reported record subscription growth of 32% compared to 2018, its highest year ever. In addition to being a featured panelist at the Automotive News Shift event, Digital Air Strike was named one of Arizonas 20 biggest software companies alongside other tech companies like Axway, GoDaddy, Truyo and Cerner. The technology company offers a range of digital, social media response, consumer engagement and reputation management solutions, working with more than 5,000 car dealerships and other businesses in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
Billionaire Warren Buffet is selling BH Media Group, which owns 31 daily and 47 weekly newspapers, to Lee Enterprises Inc. for $140 million in cash. This represents the first major newspaper condensation of 2020. Lee provides news, information and advertising in 50 markets in 21 states. The company boasts 300+ weekly publications, 1.1 million newspaper subscribers and 73 million monthly digital views. Berkshire Hathaway is providing approximately $576 million in long-term financing to Lee at a 9% annual interest rate. The proceeds from this loan will pay for the acquisition, refinance approximately $400 million of Lees debt, and provide cash to terminate Lees revolving line of credit.
Yesterday Workday, Inc. (NASDAQ: WDAY), an enterprise cloud application provider for the finance and human resource industries, reported strong subscription growth in its fiscal 2019 second quarter ended July 31, 2018. The company brought in subscription revenue of $565.7 million, a 30.2 percent increase year-over-year, and reported a subscription revenue backlog of $5.5 billion, a 26 percent increase year-over-year.
In the ever-changing world of publishing, a new deal emerges as Vox Media agrees to acquire New York Media, the owner of the biweekly New York Magazine and related media assets - The Cut, Grub Street, Intelligencer, The Strategist and Vulture. Pamela Wasserstein, CEO of New York Media, has been looking for a buyer for the last year, reports The New York Times. She began talks with Vox this summer. Wasserstein will remain with the company, serving as president of Vox Media and as a member of the Vox Media board.
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 week's subscription news, The New York Times lays off 68 staff, Amazon acquires Zoox, and Mercedes may cancel its vehicle subscription service.