In this week’s subscription news, The Athletic submits podcasts to Apple and Spotify, Visa and Mastercard say “no” to Facebook’s Libra digital currency project, and Crain Communications ends its print magazine. Also this week, Harry Potter fans can spend $75 a year on a new subscription service, former Denver City Council candidates launch a newspaper, and the Washington Post’s TV app is not about watching – it’s about reading.
The holidays are just around the corner, and appliance maker LG and BuzzFeed’s Tasty want to make seasonal baking easier with their new, co-branded LG | Tasty Cookie Club. Cookie club members receive step-by-step recipes and natural, organic, pre-measured baking ingredients, so they can recreate delicious cookies using their LG ProBake Convection ovens, the official oven of the Tasty kitchen. The Cookie Kits are delivered quarterly and will include seasonal recipes, including the following:
Netflix had a strong third quarter, boasting total revenue of $5.2 billion, a 31.1% increase year-over-year. The company also reported solid membership growth of 6.8 million in paid net additions, down slightly from Netflix’s forecast of 7.0 million, but an increase over Q3 2018’s paid net adds of 6.1 million members. The Q3 membership increase was 12%, a record for Netflix in the third quarter. Netflix now has 158.33 million paid global memberships, a 21.4% increase year-over-year.
At Google’s Pixel 4 event yesterday, the company announced changes to it Nest Aware subscriptions, plans that provide support for Google Nest Cams and Nest Hello doorbells. Currently, users of the Nest Aware subscription service have to pay for each individual camera, reports Engadget. Starting next year, customers will pay one fee, regardless of how many cameras they have and can purchase the new Nest Aware support plans in the Google Store. The plans are automatically renewable. For new customers and for customers upgrading from a 1st gen Nest, there is a 30-day free trial available.
On October 10, Comcast angered basic cable subscribers who were fans of Turner Classic Movies by removing the popular cable network from its basic subscription package. Fans who want to watch TCM, a collection of movies mostly from the 1930s through the 1960s, will have to upgrade to a more expensive sports entertainment package to get access to the channel. They will now have to have a minimum package of 140 channels, plus pay $9.99 more a month for the sports entertainment package, to get access to the commercial-free TCM, said AJC.com.
Mercato, an online eCommerce platform for independent grocers and specialty food stores, is leveling the playing field for grocery delivery. The company just launched Mercato Green, a membership service that offers unlimited, free, same-day grocery delivery from more than 750 independently-owned food retailers like Green Grocer in Chicago, Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Windmill Farms in San Diego, Lifethyme Market in New York City, and the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles.
Subscription headlines this week cover everything from video games and payments to basketball and layoffs. This week, we are featuring Digital Trends’ story on PlayStation 4 Cross-play, which is now ready for developers, and The New York Times’ article on why PayPal is pulling out of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. Also this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers are trying a monthly ticket subscription to attract fans, Group Nine buys PopSugar, and Maine’s Journal Tribune calls it quits after 135 years.
The Department of Justice has given New Media Investment Group, parent of GateHouse Media, and Gannett Co., Inc., owner of more than 100 local media brands, the green light to merge in a cash and stock deal worth $1.4 billion, reports Fox Business. New Media is buying Gannett for $12.06 per share. The companies are still awaiting approval from European regulators and stockholders. New Media and Gannett both have special meetings to vote on deal set for November 14. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.
What’s better than owning an adorable, cuddly critter from Build-A-Bear? Having an official Cubscription By Build-A-Bear delivered to your home every four months. Each shipment includes a new, 12-inch stuffed animal and six to eight custom, exclusive Build-A-Bear items not available in stores. Items include accessories for the furry friend, along with kids’ clothing, accessories and Build-A-Bear extras (notebooks, stationery, crafts, tumblers, posters, pens, etc.).
As Disney nears the launch of its own streaming network, Disney+, next month the company is blocking Netflix ads on Disney-owned networks ABC and Freeform, says the Hollywood Reporter. It sounds like Disney will still allow Netflix ads on ESPN, perhaps because there is no competing content between the two companies. Disney-owned network FX will not be affected, because FX did not accept Netflix ads prior to this change.
Digital publisher Maven now manages Sports Illustrated for Authentic Brands Group, and one of its manager’s first moves was to cut staff by more than one-fourth last Thursday. The company cut more than 40 jobs out of a total staff of 150, reports The New York Times. To replace the sports coverage those staff members provided, Maven will work with 200 contractors instead.
A month after discontinuing the sale of print newspapers at 8,600 stores, Starbucks is offering customers and publishers a compromise. At company-owned Starbucks locations in the U.S., coffee customers will be able get free digital access to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), USA Today, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and New York Daily News for a limited time. Starbucks did not say how long the offer would last. The company will also offer special pricing for print and digital subscriptions to WSJ.
In this week’s subscription headlines, we’ve got everything from operational failures to technology wins for publishers. Here are few of the week’s highlights: Rent the Runway stopped accepting new subscribers because of warehouse issues and delayed orders, YouTube Music replaces Google Play Music on Android devices, and GateHouse and Gannett passed a key regulatory hurdle. Also this week, Uber is adding more services, AT&T vows to hang onto DirecTV despite subscriber losses, and ‘Rachael Ray Everyday’ is going to a quarterly, newsstand-only magazine.
Clothing rental service Rent the Runway is experiencing serious operational problems, causing delays in orders. As a result of the problems, the company said it will not accept new event rental requests with delivery dates prior to October 15 and, for now, it is not taking on new subscribers. Current subscribers can expect one- to two-day delays on its orders, reports Vox/Recode.
If you can’t get enough of live cooking shows or on-demand instructional videos, you might be excited to hear about the first-of-its-kind live, interactive streaming video service to come to a device near you. Discovery, Inc. is dishing up ‘Food Network Kitchen,’ for $6.99 a month, or $59.99 a year, following a 90-day free trial. Subscribers who sign up during the promotional period will pay just $47.99 a year. The new streaming service that will feature over 25 weekly live and interactive cooking programs and 800+ instructional videos you can watch at your leisure. It looks like the Food Network Kitchen will use a freemium model, offering select videos and recipes for free.