After months of speculation, NBCUniversal allows Peacock to strut its stuff, revealing new details about the streaming service. Peacock will be a free, premium, ad-supported streaming video on-demand service. It will feature subscription tiers and offer over 600 movies and 400 TV series. In addition, Peacock fans can access live and on-demand news, sports, late night and reality programming, including fan favorites like Law and Order, Kevin Hart, Jimmy Fallon and the Summer Olympics. Xfinity X1 and Flex customers will get early bird access to Peacock April 15. Peacock will be available nationally on July 15.
If you are tired of political volleyball, check out this week’s subscription headlines. In this week’s news, YouTube TV announces new channels and new features, Facebook won’t stop political adv targeting or false claims under the new rules, and Netflix tests cheaper, mobile-only subscriptions. Also this week, Dwell launches a digital subscription as it names a new CEO, Mastercard launches its first music single, and Apple News reportedly expanded 18%, boasting 100 million daily users.
To cut costs, Tribune Publishing offered voluntary buyout packages to employees with eight or more years of service on Monday, reports the Chicago Tribune. The buyouts are available to qualifying employees at all of Tribune Publishing’s nine newspapers: Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, South Florida SunSentinel, Hartford Courant, The Virginian-Pilot, the New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel, Daily Press and The (Allentown, Pennsylvania) Morning Call.
ClassPass, the seven-year-old fitness and wellness marketplace, announced last week that it has raised $285 million in Series E funding. The funding round was led by L Catterton and Apax Digital and included additional investment by current investor Temasek. ClassPass said in the announcement that it would use the new funding to expand its international presence and to focus on growing its corporate wellness sales program. According to TechCrunch, ClassPass has raised close to $550 million to date and is now valued at $1 billion, giving it the coveted status of unicorn.
McClatchy is taking the 2020 presidential race seriously, and the publisher wants to make its mark with local coverage. To prove it, McClatchy has created a standalone subscription product, Impact2020, for “political obsessives” who want to examine the Democratic candidates, issues of the day, and the latest political news in a whole new way. Launched in November exactly one year before the election, Impact2020 (Powered by McClatchy DC) curates election coverage across McClatchy’s 30 newsrooms located in 14 states across the U.S. with reporters and editors in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas, among others. White House correspondents will also contribute to the coverage.
ast week, Digital Air Strike announced record 2019 results at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. The technology company reported record subscription growth of 32% compared to 2018, its highest year ever. In addition to being a featured panelist at the Automotive News Shift event, Digital Air Strike was named one of Arizona’s 20 biggest software companies alongside other tech companies like Axway, GoDaddy, Truyo and Cerner. The technology company offers a range of digital, social media response, consumer engagement and reputation management solutions, working with more than 5,000 car dealerships and other businesses in the U.S., Canada and abroad.
Starting off the new year strong, Procter & Gamble announced its plans to acquire the subscription-based, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Billie Inc. Billie, who calls itself the “new body brand,” will complement P&G’s growing female grooming product line which also includes Venus, Braun and Joy. The two-year-old, award-winning Billie offers premium personal care products for women including razors, shaving cream, body wash and body lotion. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In this week's subscription headlines, Netflix starts the New Year without 'Friends," McClatchy's financial distress has the company considering a sale, and Disney+ customers are canceling subscriptions after the Mandalorian season ends. Also this week, Comcast and Starz strike a deal, streaming channels score Golden Globes nominations, and Amazon's Twitch generated more revenue than YouTube gaming in 2019.
The numbers aren’t all in yet, but SiriusXM’s preliminary results show the company did exceptionally well in 2019. In fact, their total subscriber base has reached a record-high 34.9 million, including the addition of 1.063 million net self-pay subscribers. This brings the total number of SiriusXM self-pay subscribers to 30 million, exceeding the company’s initial guidance for subscribers. The company also expects to exceed its full year 2019 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. It will report its complete fourth quarter and full-year 2019 financial results on February 4, 2020.
Just when you thought the streaming wars were confined to AVOD and SVOD services, TiVo (NASDAQ: TIVO) adds a new wrinkle. Cord cutters now have a new way to access their favorite shows. This week, at CES 2020, TiVo announced the launch of its new TiVo Stream 4K streaming player. The device will allow viewers to access streaming subscription services like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV as well as ad-supported free services seamlessly.
The McClatchy Company announced last week that it plans to freeze certain nonqualified supplemental executive retirement benefits for “a small number” of pension plan participants as the company tries to stabilize a dire financial situation. The announcement was a follow-up to the company’s third quarter earnings report in which the company said it requested a waiver from the Internal Revenue Service for defined benefit pension plan obligations for 2019, 2020 and 2021. The IRS denied the request.
Sixteen months after its launch, education and technology company Cengage has sold 2 million Cengage Unlimited subscriptions, saving college students an estimated $125 million in digital textbooks, ebooks, study guides and other online resources. The subscription program is expected to save students a total of $160 million by the end of the current academic year. The subscriptions are all-inclusive. For one flat-rate, students get unlimited access to Cengage’s full library of online materials for a term, ranging from four months to two years.
Google News is getting out of the digital magazine subscription business, reports The Verge. Readers who subscribe to print-replica magazines via Google News will no longer be able to do so, or to renew existing subscriptions, effective immediately. Google notified subscribers via email of the change and informed them that they would receive a refund of their last payment. When they receive their refund will depend on how they paid for their subscriptions. Subscribers can check the status of their refund in their Google Payments account, says Android Police.
Happy New Year from our family to yours! We hope your 2020 is off to a great start. In the subscription world, Flickr owner SmugMug makes a desperate plea to subscribers, Starbucks is having success offering digital news to customers, and Coca-Cola Company’s new subscription service sells out in just three hours. Also this week, Sports Illustrated needs a public relations makeover, Microsoft’s next Xbox may be the most expensive console ever, and Facebook is readying itself for battle against California’s new data privacy law.
Uber and Postmates started out the week with a bang by suing the State of California in federal court to stop the implementation of the state’s new freelance law, Assembly Bill 5, requiring the reclassification of independent contractors. Under certain circumstances, those contractors must be considered employees. The New York Times reported that Uber and Postmates requested an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect January 1, 2020, as scheduled. Two drivers – Lydia Olson and Miguel Perez – are part of the lawsuit.