Yesterday, Scribd announced the launch of Scribd Originals, exclusive content from bestselling authors including Roxane Gay, Hilton Als, Peter Heller, Mark Seal, Paul Theroux and Garrett Graff, among others. In addition, Scribd Originals will include "experimental works" from different genres. Scribd describes these works as falling somewhere between magazines and full-length books, so there isn't a traditional marketplace for them. However, Scribd believes these works are ideal for ebooks and audiobooks.
ClassPass, the seven-year-old fitness and wellness marketplace, announced last week that it has raised $285 million in Series E funding. The funding round was led by L Catterton and Apax Digital and included additional investment by current investor Temasek. ClassPass said in the announcement that it would use the new funding to expand its international presence and to focus on growing its corporate wellness sales program. According to TechCrunch, ClassPass has raised close to $550 million to date and is now valued at $1 billion, giving it the coveted status of unicorn.
David Jackson and Gary Marx, investigative reporters for the Chicago Tribune, are desperately seeking a solution to a possible acquisition by Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that currently owns 32% of Tribune Publishing. In addition to the Chicago Tribune, the publisher owns The (New York) Daily News, The Baltimore (Maryland) Sun, The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant, The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel, The (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel, the Daily Press (Virginia), The Virginian-Pilot (Virginia) and The Morning Call (Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania). The New York Times published an op-ed piece by Jackson and Marx on January 19.
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.
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.
If you are tired of slow-loading websites and cookies tracking your every move online, Scroll now offers subscribers a different type of internet experience. For $4.99 a month, subscribers can access websites that load twice as fast and that have 80% fewer trackers. Subscribers can also browse and read completely ad-free on 300+ participating websites. Up to 70% of user subscription fees support partner websites, and Scroll keeps 30% to fund their operations.
Happy March! It is hard to believe that March is already here. We hope that means spring is just around the corner. While we wait to see if the groundhog was right, Variety explains why they believe subscriptions are the future of gaming, Broadcast Now tells us why Netflix is the SVOD to beat, The Spoon explores the future of third-party food delivery (hint: subscriptions), digital advertising is bigger than TV and print advertising, and Recode breaks down Apples rationale in asking news publishers for half their Apple News revenue - it wants to save journalism.
If your teams are already out of the NCAA tournament, we've got you covered with some riveting subscription headlines: Crunchyroll raises its monthly subscription price for the first time since its 2006 launch, and Pinterest files for an IPO.The New York Times and Washington Post pass on becoming part of Apple News. Also this week, Zuora adds five new patents for subscription services, Google starts a subscription lab for local publishers to develop paid content, and the new LA Times owner sets a goal of 5 million digital subscribers
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.