Amazon can boast that this year’s Thanksgiving shopping weekend was the best in company history, but they are failing on their one and two-day delivery promise to Prime members, reports Recode. Customers are sharing their complaints on social media, like this exchange between Jamie Williams and Amazon Help on December 3. Williams said delivery time for his package is longer than stated, and Amazon replied that extended delivery times can be expected during the holidays.
The Gatehouse-Gannett merger is complete, and the new combined company announced the first round of layoffs last week on #LoveMyNewspaperDay, reports Poynter. Though it is not clear where all of the cuts are from, Poynter said that they include both newsroom and non-newsroom jobs. On Twitter, Andrew Pantazi, a reporter for The Florida Times-Union and president and co-chair of the Times-Union Guild, has been tracking the Gannett layoffs. According to a self-reporting Google doc, as of 7:40 p.m. PST yesterday, 215 jobs have been eliminated, including 29 at The Indianapolis Star, 35 at “corporate,” 11 at ThriveHive, and 11 at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, to name a few.
In this week's subscription headlines, Peloton stock falls after lowering its subscription app pricing (and after its unpopular ad), The Washington Post debuts a Spanish-language podcast, and Liverpool FC launches premium subscription content on YouTube. Also this week, BMW drops CarPlay annual subscriptions, Workday beats Wall Street estimates, and attorneys general urge FTC to stop deceptive marketing practices.
On the eve of The Information’s sixth birthday, the technology news publisher launched a new app, Tech Top 10 by The Information, for $29.99 a year, or $2.99 a month. Available for iOS and Android, the app includes the top 10 technology stories as well as breaking news alerts, a calendar of upcoming events and more. This app will supplement The Information’s primary subscription, available for $400 a year, which includes tech stories readers won’t find elsewhere, exclusive articles, conference calls, newsletters and more.
CBS Corporation reported record revenue of $3.30 billion for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $3.26 billion for the same period last year. Third quarter revenue represents a 1% increase year-over-year. The company also reported that affiliate and subscription free revenue grew by 12% during the quarter, driven by increases in fees from CBS affiliated television stations, retransmission revenues and growth in the company’s direct-to-streaming services revenue.
Cyber Monday 2019 yielded record sales of $9.4 billion, a 19% increase over 2018, says Forbes. Amazon did its fair share of sales, making Cyber Monday 2019 the single biggest shopping day in company history. Though the company didn’t share specific sales totals, they noted that customers worldwide purchased hundreds of millions of products between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. Among the top purchased items were Amazon devices, including the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa voice remote, Kindle devices and Fire tablets, also breaking company records.
Last week, Fisker Inc. announced its plans to enter the vehicle subscription market. The company will offer consumers early access to the Fisker Ocean, an all-electric luxury SUV, via subscription for $379 a month. Prospective subscribers can reserve their Fisker Ocean now for $250, which is fully refundable. Unfortunately, eager drivers will have to wait until 2022 to take delivery on their cars. Much like a lease, subscribers will have to make a down payment of $2,999 before receiving their vehicles. Customers with approved credit also have the option to finance the down payment.
What’s better than good ‘ol Texas BBQ brisket and pork ribs? Getting them delivered right to your door. Popular Texas restaurant Salt Lick is making that dream come true with its own monthly subscription service, reports Restaurant Business. For $89.25 a month, subscribers will receive a selection of Salt Lick branded barbecue meats, sauces and merchandise. Among the world-famous Texas treats are brisket, sausage, turkey and other Salt Lick-worthy meats that will be fully cooked before being shipped overnight or via two-day delivery. Starting January 14, 2020, the subscription boxes will be shipped the fourth Tuesday of each month.
Scribd has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The 12-year-old eBook company announced on Monday it has raised $58 million in equity financing in a funding round led by Spectrum Equity. Scribd will use the investment to further its growth and product innovation, enhance operations and support the company’s mission to change how the world reads. “We’re excited to partner with Spectrum Equity, a firm with deep expertise in high growth subscription businesses..."
Last week, PayPal announced it plans to buy shopping and rewards platform Honey Science Corporation (Honey) for $4 billion to expand its ecommerce capabilities. TechCrunch reports that the $4 billion price tag will be paid in mostly cash. The acquisition, which is PayPal’s largest to date, will accelerate growth for both companies, allowing them to provide enhanced shopping experiences for customers while driving sales and conversions for merchants.
Just in time for holiday shopping, Harry & David has announced a new food subscription service which delivers tasty treats directly to subscribers’ or gift recipients’ doors each month. This new, pay-as-you-go subscription service features the gourmet company’s most popular sweet and savory treats, including Moose Munch Premium Popcorn and Chocolate Decadence Cake. Shoppers can also choose one of Harry & David’s five new curated “discovery boxes,” each available for $29.99. These boxes are themed Sweets, Variety, Pantry, Fruit and Premium Popcorn and offer a rotating selection each month.
In this week’s 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.
Journalists at the Toronto Star don’t have a lot to be thankful for this year. Torstar, parent company of the Toronto Star, announced Tuesday it is shuttering five StarMetro commuter newspapers next month, resulting in the loss of 73 editorial, advertising and distribution jobs. The Canadian cities of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax will get their last editions of StarMetro on December 20, reports CBC News. Bob Hepburn, a representative for Torstar, told CBC News that commuters aren’t reading print newspapers anymore. They are getting their news on digital devices instead. The decline in print advertising also contributed to this decision.
London-based Perlego, a textbook subscription service serving 28 countries in the European Union, has raised $9 million (£7 million) in Series A funding. Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC and Thomas Leysen participated in the funding round, along with existing investors ADV, Simon Franks and Alex Chesterman. To date, the three-year-old textbook provider has raised about $15 million, reports EdSurge. The company says it will use the new capital to expand into new European markets and improve its non-English content.
Amazon is not content to have higher-than-average sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. It wants to cash in on the eagerness of holiday shoppers by offering thousands of deals. Starting this Friday, November 22, Amazon’s Black Friday deals week begins with more “deals of the day” and bigger discounts on including everything from kids’ toys and electronics to fashion and kitchen products. The deals will continue through Black Friday, November 29.