Just weeks after journalists from the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune receive separate honors from the 2017 Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) awards, parent-company Tronc announced in an employee meeting that it is laying off dozens of employees because of a change in the company’s business strategy. The layoffs include Tribune Interactive’s L.A.-based video and online content teams, which operated separately from the newspaper.
Movie and music fans can get two of their favorite forms of entertainment as part of a package for a limited time. At the 2018 Coachella Music Festival & Arts Festival last week, MoviePass and iHeartRadio announced a new, three-month promotion. Through this special deal, new subscribers to both platforms will receive access up to four 2-D movies monthly for three months via MoviePass and an extended, free three-month trial to iHeartRadio’s All Access on demand feature for $9.95 a month, billed quarterly.
TheOneRing.net (TORn), the largest fan site of author J.R.R. Tolkien, announced it is beta testing a subscription service in preparation of Amazon Prime’s launch of TORn Prime, an upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series. The site, which boasts more than 8,300 members, hosts discussion boards where members can discuss the author, their favorite books, characters like Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn, plot lines, top quotes and, of course, the new TV series when it goes live.
Friday the 13th was a lucky day for Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX). On Friday, the companies announced they are expanding their partnership. Comcast and Netflix originally partnered in 2016, adding access to Netflix on Comcast’s X1 cable box platform. Under the expanded partnership, Comcast customers will be able to add a Netflix subscription to new and existing Xfinity packages.
In this week’s subscription headlines, Fitbit’s multi-year transformation is testing the patience of investors, the Dutch newsletter platform Revue opens up subscription features, and Apple is ordered to pay a patent troll $500 million in an iMessage case. Also this week, The Seattle Times is making digital subscription growth everyone’s job, Billie secures $6 million in funding, and Netflix banks on the mass appeal of hip-hop in ‘Rapture.’
The Chicago-based online grocer Peapod is trying to improve customer retention and loyalty by offering new ways to save on groceries. On Wednesday, the company, which is owned by Ahold Delhaize USA, announced a suite of price reductions and special offers, along with a discounted subscription program called PodPass Midweek. Peapod, which has been in business for nearly 30 years, operates in 24 metro markets including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and the District of Columbia.
Just one week after its less-than-conventional IPO, Spotify (NYSE: SPOT) is planning a new version of the free tier of its streaming music service, reports Bloomberg. While Spotify will not make an official announcement with details until April 24, sources told Bloomberg that the new version will make the service easier for Spotify’s mobile users, giving them more control over which songs they hear on top playlists, similar to the company’s premium tier.
Two more automakers – BMW and Lexus – have announced they want to get in on the subscription economy, each with their own version of a car subscription service. BMW first revealed their plans during the Detroit Auto Show, but details were not disclosed at that time. BMW has now launched its pilot program, called Access by BMW, an exclusive service that gives members unlimited access to their choice of BMWs for one monthly fee which includes insurance, maintenance, taxes, car washes, detailing, personal delivery by a concierge and roadside assistance.
MyFitnessPal, owned by Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE: UA, UAA), notified users via email and in-app messaging that a data breach occurred at the company. According to the email sent to users, on March 25, 2018, MyFitnessPal learned that an unauthorized party acquired data from MyFitnessPal users during the month of February. The data included user names, email addresses and hashed passwords. MyFitnessPal said it is working with ‘leading data security firms’ to assist in the investigation, and they are coordinating their efforts with law enforcement.
Last week Golf Digest announced the launch of Golf Digest All-Access, a premium subscription with more than 200 original video lessons and classics. For $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, golfers get a print and digital subscription to Golf Digest, and they can watch their favorite golf pros as well as twice-weekly, live, interactive clinics with Michael Breed, chief digital instructor. Content is available on phones, laptops and TV screens with more content added
In this week’s subscription headlines, Turner Sports takes a swing at streaming pay-per-game offering, Twitch announces layoffs as it plans aggressive growth, and Canopy raises $30 million in Series B Funding. Also, this week, Lincoln is testing out a used-car subscription, subscription dating service Raya prioritizes trust over quantity, and Porsche Passport draws younger drivers than expected.
‘Alexa, play the Red Sox game,’ or ‘Alexa, turn on ESPN’ will soon be familiar choices for sports fans who are TuneIn Live subscribers. The company launched TuneIn Live, a premium radio subscription service available only for Amazon Alexa. With TuneIn Live, subscribers can play live broadcasts of MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL games, including play-by-play broadcasts, premium news stations, sports talk stations and more.
Last October DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH) told Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin it would add 250 jobs to Tulsa, a city that 600 DISH workers already called home. Last week, DISH shared that it would be cutting jobs in the customer experience center, not the sales center that opened last year, reports Tulsa World. DISH did not specify how many positions would be eliminated.
The familiar Snapchat ghost isn’t smiling now. In its latest round of downsizing, Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) – the owner of the popular Snapchat app – is cutting 100 employees on the advertising side of the house, reports Bloomberg News. These employee cuts are in addition to the reduction of 120 engineers earlier this month and two dozen content employees who were let go in January. They are part of a restructuring the company started during the fourth quarter of last year.
Last week Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), an open source solutions provider, delivered strong results in its fourth quarter and year-end financials for fiscal year 2018 ended February 28, 2018. Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $772 million, a 23 percent increase over the same period last year. Subscription revenue for Q4 was $683 million, a 22 percent increase year-over-year. Year-end deferred revenue was $2.6 billion, a 25 percent increase.