Cord cutters pining away for Fox News will soon have the opportunity to watch the news channel and on-air personalities like Sean Hannity, Chris Wallace and Mark Fuhrman (yes, that Mark Fuhrman) without a cable subscription. The Fox News Channel is launching Fox Nation, a stand-alone streaming subscription service for superfans who crave more Fox News, reports The New York Times. Fox has not revealed the cost of the stand-alone streaming subscription service yet.
Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) had a good Valentine’s Day, reporting its fourth quarter financials on February 15. The cloud-based e-commerce platform reported strong financials, including total revenue of $222.8 million, a 71 percent increase year-over-year. Of that total, Subscription Solutions revenue was $93.9 million, representing a 67 percent increase. The Ontario-based company credits rapid growth in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for the big numbers. Merchant Solutions revenue was $128.9 million, a 74 percent increase, driven primarily by growth in the company’s Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV).
Earlier this month News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA) reported financials for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2018, for the period ended December 31, 2017. The company reported total revenue of $2.18 billion, a 3 percent increase over the same period last year. News Corp also reported an improvement in net loss, going from a net loss of $219 million the first quarter down to $66 million in the second quarter. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.24, compared to $0.19 for the same period last year.
After a rocky 2017 and the so-called adpocalypse, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki promises creators the streaming video platform cares about creators. In a February 1 blog post to creators, Wojcicki shares the company’s top five priorities for 2018 with ‘a spirit of openness, transparency and enthusiasm.’ Here is a synopsis of those priorities, including one critical to retaining creators on YouTube – addressing demonetization concerns.
In this week’s subscription news, Wired launches a paywall and gears up for long-form journalism, Ford’s Canvas subscription service hits 600 subscribers, and a report says that Disney’s new streaming service will omit R-rated content and let Netflix keep Marvel content. Also this week, we’re reading about Cinemark’s war on MoviePass, how Viacom is suffering from the rise in cord cutting, and Jeff Bezos is building an army of Prime members as the membership program continues to grow.
In a new twist on art collection, Washington, D.C. startup GoARTful, a gallery for the 21st century, lets members try out pieces of art in their home via subscription for $15 to $50 per month. After signing up, members choose between limited prints or original art from an artist’s studio, based on the member’s budget. Members can try different pieces to see what best fits their tastes and space and exchange it for another piece when they’re ready. Members also get the opportunity to join their local artist community to meet the artists and get free admission to exclusive art events in their area.
The only thing stronger than WWE’s host of celebrity wrestlers is its rock-solid financials, as evidenced by WWE’s fourth quarter and full-year 2017 financials, released last week. Among the highlights for the fourth quarter for WWE (NYSE: WWE) was record revenue of $211.6 million, an increase of 9 percent over the fourth quarter of 2016. The company reported net income of $4.8 million, or $0.06 per share, compared to $8.0 million, or $0.10 per share, for the same period last year.
Yesterday the Boston Herald announced that Digital First Media will acquire the newspaper for $11.9 million. Offering more than double the amount of two other bidders, Digital First Media beat out GateHouse Media who bid $4.5 million and Revolution Capital who bid $5.75 million at a 5-hour bankruptcy auction conducted by the bankruptcy law firm Brown Rudnick in Boston. The winning bid is subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, said the Herald. A hearing is set for Friday. The sale is expected to close by March 28.
While The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) reported a net loss of $57.8 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017, the company also experienced some impressive growth. Total revenue for Q4 was $484.1 million, or 10.1 percent higher, than $439.7 million in revenue reported for Q4 2016. Subscription revenue grew 19.2 percent, other revenues increased 12.0 percent, and advertising revenue decreased 1.3 percent.
The holiday season usually boosts Amazon’s bottom line, but 2017 was an exceptional year with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) reporting net sales of $60.5 billion, a 38 percent increase over $43.7 billion in net sales in Q4 2016. The company also reported net income of $1.9 billion, or $3.75 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter alone, more than double net income of $749 million, or $1.54 per diluted share reported in the fourth quarter of 2016. Total outstanding shares at year end were 504 million, compared to 497 million at the end of 2016.
ICYMI, this week was full of big news and performances. The Super Bowl, the Dow Jones, the Winter Olympics and Trump’s tweets are among the hot topics of the day. Meanwhile, subscription companies did not disappoint with news of their own, including big subscription numbers from HBO Now, the pending launch of a subscription app for ESPN, and a confirmed launch date for Nintendo Online. Also this week, we heard about magazine subscription scams, email scams and streaming music companies battling for the top spot.
On Wednesday, Tronc (NASDAQ: TRNC) announced it would sell the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune for $500 million to billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in an all-cash sale. Soon-Shiong, who is the second-largest shareholder of Tronc, also agreed to buy Spanish-language Hoy Los Angeles and community newspapers. assume $90 billion in pension liabilities. The after-tax proceeds from the sale will be used to repay all outstanding corporate debt. The deal is expected to close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2018.
In an on-again, off-again romance with its readers, Scribd has adjusted its subscription model yet again. This time it returns to its original premise – unlimited reading for a flat monthly fee. Effectively immediately, Scribd subscribers can enjoy an unlimited number of books, audiobooks, news, magazines, documents and sheet music for $8.99 a month, following a 30-day free trial. But there’s one small catch: “restrictions on some titles may apply.” To find out what Scribd means by that, you have to read the tiny print in the Scribd Paid Access End User License Agreement.
Last week, Tableau Software Inc. (NYSE: DATA), a Seattle-based data visual software developer, reported strong 2017 financials, including total revenue of $877.1 million, a 6 percent increase over the prior year’s revenue of $826.9 million. More impressive, however, was the company’s total annual recurring revenue of $596.2 million, a 45 percent year-over-year increase over $411.2 million at the end of Q4 2016, and subscription annual recurring revenue of $195.5 million, a 235 percent year-over-year increase over $58.4 million at the end of Q4 2016. Ratable license bookings were 41 percent of total license bookings, compared to 17 percent for 2016.
Last Friday, TheAtlantic.com replaced reader comments with a new Letters section, similar to the print version of the magazine. According to editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg in the February 2 announcement, the new Letters section ‘will feature the smartest, most compelling responses to our journalism. It will be a venue for respectful dialogue, criticism, meaningful observations, and challenging ideas.’ In his column, Goldberg assures readers their input is important, and the magazine believes Letters will be a better, more civil way to share thoughts and opinions.