Online printing and promo company Vistaprint has launched its own subscription box for small businesses – Promobox, a monthly box of customized products with your company logo on them. For $24.99 a month, businesses will get a selection of three to five products custom designed for them, including postcards, embroidered polo shirts, tote bags, mugs, pens, rack cards, smartphone cases, t-shirts, note cards, banners, flyers, pre-inked stamps, window decals and more.
Last week Luma, maker of mesh home WiFi systems, launched Luma Guardian, a subscription-based service that manages home network privacy, security, performance and support. Developed in partnership with Webroot, Luma touts the new service as “the world’s first personal IT team.” With a 30-day free trial, Luma Guardian is available for $5 a month for the first year through the free Luma app in the App Store or Google Play. Luma has not said what costs after the first year will be.
On July 18, streaming music service Spotify got hit with two more copyright lawsuits, filed in Tennessee Middle District Court in Nashville, by two independent publishers, says The Tennessean. According to The Tennessean, the lawsuits allege that Spotify failed to obtain the necessary licenses for thousands of songs and has, therefore, been illegally streaming them to its listeners. The lawsuits are asking for the maximum allowed of $150,000 for each unlicensed work which would be in the $365 million range if Spotify is determined to have violated copyright law.
Last Thursday Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced its fourth quarter results for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, including total revenue of $23.3 billion, operating income of $5.3 billion, net income of $6.5 billion and diluted earnings per share of $0.83. All figures reported are GAAP. The company credits its growing cloud business for its strong fourth quarter results, citing a commercial cloud annualized revenue run rate (ARR) in excess of $18.9 billion. The company’s goal is to achieve a commercial cloud ARR of $20 billion in fiscal 2018.
In this week’s subscription headlines, WWE is considering overseas opportunities to grow its revenue, Dungeons & Dragons goes digital, and Boston Globe’s CEO of seven months has stepped down, effective immediately. Also this week, Google’s new product could pose a threat to LinkedIn, creators who lost revenue during the so-called ‘Adpocalypse’ are fighting back with a class action lawsuit, and Apple adds PayPal support for purchases made through iTunes and the App Store.
Last week eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Shopify (NYSE: SHOP, TSX: SHOP) announced a new partnership, creating a new sales channel to expand merchant reach. In the fall of 2017, Shopify merchants will be able to list and sell their products on eBay directly from their Shopify accounts, giving them access to more than 169 million active eBay buyers. eBay also benefits with its shoppers getting additional products from Shopify merchants. The platform will first be available to merchants selling in the United States with the U.S. dollar as their currency.
Last week the Chicago Sun-Times reported that an investment group led by former Chicago alderman Edwin Eisendrath has acquired the newspaper and the Chicago Reader. This ends a bid by Tronc, formerly Tribune Publishing, who tried to acquire the Sun-Times’ parent company, Wrapports Holdings in May. Tronc owns Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times’ long-time rival, creating anti-trust concerns by the Department of Justice that Tronc would own both major newspapers in one of the few cities that still maintains two newspapers.
Last Tuesday Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) held its third annual Prime Day with 30 hours of special deals exclusively for Amazon Prime members. Amazon reports that it was the biggest day ever in Amazon history, surpassing previous records set by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Tens of millions of Prime members made purchases on Prime Day, more than a 50 percent increase over the 2016 event. In addition, Prime Day 2017 grew 60 percent over last year’s event, and more members joined on July 11 than on any single day previously.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) released its second quarter financials yesterday, reporting total revenue of $2.79 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 32.3 percent. This includes Netflix DVD sales. Total streaming revenue was $2.67 billion, representing year-over-year growth of 35.8 percent. From a membership perspective, Netflix membership grew from 99 million members to 104 million with international members now accounting for 50.1 percent of total membership.
Last week Digiday reported that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) is testing paid subscriptions for publishers through Instant Articles. While details have not been released publicly by Facebook, Digiday said that the paid subscriptions will likely support publishers who use metered paywalls or freemium models. The goal would be to support publishers like The New York Times, The Economist and the Wall Street Journal who would offer some content for free, and put the rest behind a paywall, requiring a subscription to access. According to Digiday, publishers will be able to control the pricing, and they will get access to subscriber data available in Facebook.
In this week’s subscription news, news outlets are trying to negotiate with Google and Facebook over ads, Jump launches a subscription service for indie games, and the number of Amazon's U.S. Prime members could surpass total pay TV households next year. Also this week, PostUp is launching a dynamic paywall solution for publishers, Stripe is adding support for digital payment services in China, and the White House threatens that critical coverage by CNN might cost them the Time Warner merger.
Last week we reported Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) plan to reorganize the company to refocus its efforts on its growing cloud business. The announcement was made to Microsoft staff in an internal memo last week, but the memo did not include any mention of staffing changes, which had been rumored by news outlets including Bloomberg the previous week. Microsoft has now confirmed that thousands of employees will be laid off, reports TechCrunch.The restructuring plan will divide Microsoft’s customer base into two segments: enterprise customers and small, medium and corporate (SMC) customers.
In a large scale, online display of solidarity, dozens of online and e-commerce companies including Amazon, Vimeo, Reddit, OK Cupid, Mozilla, the ACLU, Etsy, AdBlock, Medium, Dropbox, Redfin, Spotify and Yelp banded together yesterday - July 12 - for an “Internet-Wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.”
Business Insider reports that yesterday sites that joined the effort displayed prominent alerts on their homepage – banner ads, sidebar ads, videos, images, blog posts, etc. – to…
Last week Vitamin Packs announced the launch of its personalized vitamin subscription service. Using a proprietary algorithm called Sage, the company customizes daily Vitamin Packs using subscriber input about their body, lifestyle and nutrition habits, health goals and current medications, aligning science, data and technology to provide a personalized solution to health-conscious consumers. The Sage algorithm considers more than 650 potential medical interactions to recommend supplements for individual subscribers.
In a blog post from SoundCloud co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung last week, SoundCloud announced it would cut 173 jobs and consolidate its team into its Berlin and New York offices, closing its London and San Francisco offices. The job cuts represent approximately 41 percent of the company’s workforce of 420 employees, reported Business Insider. Ljung said the company needs to cut costs and grow advertising and subscription revenue to reach profitability and to remain in control of the streaming music platform’s future.