Last week, San Francisco-based food delivery startup Postmates Inc. filed confidentially for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports the Wall Street Journal. Postmates has not specified a time frame to complete the IPO, nor the size or price range they are targeting. Postmates confirmed the filing in a brief February 7 statement. Postmates said the IPO will begin after the SEC has completed its standard review.
T-Mobile believes there is a place for it in the streaming video market. In fact, they hope to compete with the likes of Amazon Channels who offers a buffet of streaming subscription channels accessible from a single dashboard. T-Mobile announced its plans during a February 7 earnings call to report its fourth quarter and 2018 financials.
Tableau’s subscription transition continues to be successful for the data analytics company, according to the company’s February 5 earnings report for the fourth quarter and full year 2018. Tableau reports total annual recurring revenue of $840.9 million, a 41 percent increase year-over-year. More than half of that – $443.2 million – was subscription annual recurring revenue, a 127 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2017 – quite an impressive growth rate!
Starting March 1, Spotify users under the free service tier will not be able to listen for free if they use ad blockers, reports CNET. The streaming music service is taking a hard line against users who aren’t willing to give a little of their time to see ads in exchange for free music. To stop this imbalance, Spotify is updating its terms of service to clarify its position on ad blockers and similar tools and to let users know they can shut down the accounts of violators.
Lexus is the latest auto manufacturer to dip its toe in the subscription waters, though they aren’t calling their new program a subscription, per se. Last week, Lexus announced a new, full-service Lexus Complete Lease program which mirrors many auto subscriptions. Lexus Complete Lease is a two-year lease with a 20,000-mile cap, and the payment includes the lease cost, maintenance, insurance and connected services like SiriusXM and Lexus Enform Remote Destination Assist in one bundled monthly payment.
Being based in Boston, we have to take a moment to congratulate the New England Patriots on yet another Super Bowl win – congrats! Now onto the subscription news for the week – FabFitFun is the latest subscription startup to raise funds for expansion, Penske Media buys the remaining share of Rolling Stone magazine, and IKEA is looking at furniture subscriptions. Also this week, Spotify is considering buying a podcast company and Fujitsu launches the first scanner subscription service.
Being in the matchmaking business is apparently profitable, at least if you are Match Group. The parent company of dating sites Tinder, OKCupid and PlentyofFish reported its fourth quarter and full year 2018 results on Wednesday with impressive results. Total revenue in the fourth quarter grew 21 percent year-over-year, driven by 17 percent average subscriber growth and 4 percent growth in average revenue per user. Average subscribers grew to 8.2 million, compared to 7.0 million in Q4 2017.
The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) finished 2018 strong with significant digital growth in the fourth quarter. In its Q4 and 2018 full year financial report Wednesday, The New York Times reported big gains in digital subscription growth, digital advertising revenue and total digital subscriptions. Mark Thompson, president and CEO, of The New York Times Company commented on the company’s results.“A strong quarter capped a strong year for The New York Times. We added 265,000 net new digital subscriptions in Q4, the biggest gain since the months immediately following the 2016 election..."
On Monday, Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) announced that its board of directors had unanimously rejected an unsolicited $1.4 billion buyout offer from Digital First Media, a hedge-fund-backed media company officially known as MNG Enterprises, Inc. Gannett, who owns USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and the IndyStar newspapers, among others, said Digital First’s proposal to acquire the company and its assets for $12.00 per share was not credible, it undervalued the company, and the proposal was not in the best interests of the company or its shareholders.
Last week, digital subscription reading subscription service Scribd hit a big milestone – it surpassed more than 1 million members from around the world. The service first launched in 2007 as an open publishing platform where users could upload documents and share other online content with other users. In 2013, Scribd developed an eBook digital reading subscription service where readers had unlimited access to content. The model has evolved over time as Scribd experimented with different subscription models and content offerings, adding magazines and newspapers, reducing its catalog of romance titles and removing comics.
Amazon finished 2018 strong, reporting net sales of $72.4 billion for the fourth quarter, compared to $60.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, representing a 20 percent increase. For the full year, net sales increased 31 percent to $232.9 billion, compared to $177.9 billion in 2017. Net income for the fourth quarter was $3.0 billion, or $6.04 per diluted share, compared to $1.9 billion, or $3.75 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2018. Net income for the year was $10.1 billion, or $20.14 per diluted share, compared to $3.0 billion, or $6.15 per diluted share, in 2017.
This week’s subscription headlines run the gamut from magazines and Microsoft to media and Metallica. Check out these subscription stories including the merger of Eating Well and Cooking Light, Google Chrome’s attack on ad blockers and Cadillac bringing back its subscription service, but with a new twist. Also this week, Metallica’s live catalog is available via subscription, WarnerMedia shuts down the investment arm that focused on digital media startups, and Slack faces a growing challenge from Microsoft.
Microsoft’s commercial cloud business grew 48 percent to $9.0 billion in the company’s second quarter of fiscal year 2019. This was just one of the tech giant’s highlights from its January 30 earnings report. The company reported revenue of $32.5 billion, a 12 percent increase year-over-year; operating income of $10.3 billion, an 18 percent increase year-over-year; and net income of $8.4 billion (GAAP), or diluted earnings per share of $1.08 (GAAP).
On Tuesday, Apple [NASDAQ: AAPL] reported mixed results in its first quarter financials for fiscal year 2019. The company had $84.3 billion in quarterly revenue, a 5 percent decline year-over-year, missing the company’s estimates for the quarter. The company’s earnings, however, hit a new record for the company at $20.0 billion, or $4.18 diluted earnings per share, a 7.5 percent increase year-over-year. On the January 29 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed the revenue decline compared to guidance to four factors: different iPhone launch timing, foreign exchange rates, supply constraints on some products and changing economic conditions in emerging markets, particularly in Greater China.
There’s no free lunch. Soon, there will be no free Condé Nast magazines either. The Wall Street Journal reports that the magazine publisher will put all of its titles behind a paywall by the end of the year. Three of its most popular magazines – The New Yorker, Wired and Vanity Fair – are already behind metered paywalls. Readers can view up to four articles before hitting the paywall. Vogue, GQ, Allure, Bon Appetit, Self, Teen Vogue, Ars Technica and Them are among the affected magazines.