Subscription Company Updates: Hulu, New York Times, Rdio and more

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Subscription News: Subscription Company Updates: Hulu

Source: Pixabay

The majority of Hulu subscribers are willing to sit through limited ads, the New York Times is changing its commenting system, and Nickelodeon adds eight new series to its popular subscription kids app. Here are those updates, along with the latest news on Facebook’s Instant Articles and Rdio’s demise.

 New York Times

Source: Hulu

Hulu: In Sept. 2015, Hulu added an ad-free tier to its subscription options. For $11.99 a month, subscribers can enjoy a commercial-free streaming video experience, a $4.00 upsell from the basic version. Last week Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said that complaints about advertising were too much of a negative, says The Hollywood Reporter. “We felt that giving consumers choice between a limited commercials plan and a no-commercials plan is another way to monetize the content,” Hopkins said. “Consumers were going to give us a little bit more money for their time, or they’ll save money and give us their time to interrupt it for advertising.”

Hopkins added that the vast majority of customers opt for the limited-ads option, but complaints have dropped dramatically since offering the ad-free tier. We guess the old adage “put your money where your money is” holds true here. The company’s revenue is split about 50/50 between subscriptions and revenue, and Hopkins said the dual revenue streams are “a powerful advantage” for the company.

 Rdio and more

Source: New York Times

New York Times: Like other media outlets, the New York Times is straddling the reader commentary divide – allow comments or not. Many outlets, like Reuters, have discontinued comments in favor of discourse on social media, primarily because comments are so hard to moderate and monitor. The New York Times is working on a more automated system of commenting, reports Margaret Sullivanon the New York Times’ Public Editor’s Journal. The changes will include the following:

  • Human beings will not have to moderate every unverified comment.
  • Everybody will have a certain level of verification.
  • Comments written by “longtime, proven commenters” will be posted without a moderator’s approval.
  • As many as twice the number of articles – currently at 23 per day – will be available for comments.
  • A few stories will be moderated by hand, most likely the biggest news stories of the day, including breaking news.

Subscription News: Subscription Company Updates: Hulu

Facebook: In May 2015, Facebook launched a test of its article platform, Instant Articles. The platform was rolled out to all iPhone users in late October, says the Wall Street Journal, and there is a question about direct traffic to publishers. Will Facebook’s news algorithms favor its own links over those going to external sites? In an interview with NiemanLab’s Laura Hazard Owen, Michael Reckhow, product manager for Instant Articles, Reckhow explained the early findings.

“It’s really early in terms of understanding how people interact with Instant Articles, and we’ll continue to learn a lot. But the first thing we’re seeing is that people are more likely to share these articles, compared to articles on the mobile web, because Instant Articles load faster; the majority load in under a second, and that means people are getting to the content immediately,” Reckhow told NiemanLab.

In a recent article by Mathew Ingram for Fortune where he discusses the death of the hyperlink, Ingram contends that there is a risk to news outlets when Facebook “becomes the default source of news for large numbers of people, and they eventually stop associating that news with the outlet that actually created it.”

While Instant Article is in its infancy, it looks like publishers need to decide if the additional exposure on Facebook via the social network’s publishing platform is worth the risk of losing organic and traditionally linked traffic.

 New York Times

Source: Nickelodeon

Noggin: In March 2015, Nickelodeon launched Noggin, a streaming video subscription service for preschoolers. For $5.99 a month, kids from 2 to 6 can watch an ad-free app with Nick Jr. favorites like Blue’s Clues, Franklin the Turtle and Little Bear. Last Friday Nickelodeon announced that it is adding Noggin to new platforms with the launch on Android and Apple TV. They are also adding eight library preschool series including Go, Diego, Go, bringing the total number of series to 16.

Nickelodeon says that Noggin is a companion product to the Nick Jr. app, and since March, Noggin has consistently ranked at the top of the charts in the Education and Kids categories in the Apple App store. Go, Nickelodeon, Go!

 Rdio and more

Source: Rdio

Rdio: Last week we reported that Pandora is planning to acquire the assets of competitor Rdio for $75 million. Rdio will eventually shut down in all markets, but details were not released at the time of the deal. According to MoarGreek, Rdio will cancel all pro subscriptions on their next billing date, and those accounts would be transitioned to free accounts. Subscribers will get full use of their pro subscription until their next billing cycle. After that, they can listen to the ad-supported version of Rdio until the service goes offline.

Assuming the bankruptcy court approves the company’s dissolution, Rdio subscribers and fans will need to find their streaming music elsewhere.