Apple might not have been wearing a red velvet, fur-lined suit, but on Monday the tech giant played Santa Claus, giving developers access to new subscription features in the App Store. The new features include introductory pricing and limited-time free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, reports Apple Insider. The goal is to help developers attract – and keep – new customers.
JCPenney is leveraging its big and tall customer base in partnership with Bombfell to create a subscription box for men called the Big & Tall Box, reports The Dallas News. Similar to Stitch Fix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, JCPenney’s new subscription service helps men create everything from office attire and polished looks to activewear and casual clothes with the assistance of a personal stylist. The companies have not disclosed the terms of their partnership.
On Friday, Boston Herald publisher Patrick J. Purcell told staff that GateHouse Media LLC would acquire The Herald and its assets for $4.5 million in cash, subject to court approval. To maximize the company’s value, Boston Herald Inc. (BHI) filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to maximize the company’s value.
Education and technology company Cengage is hopping on the subscription bandwagon with Cengage Unlimited, providing college students with unlimited, all-you-can-learn, on demand access to educational materials. Launching in the summer of 2018, the digital subscription gives students access to a library of more than 20,000 eBooks and 2,300 digital learning products across 70 disciplines and more than 675 courses, plus online homework and study tools, for $119.99 per semester.
Last week TheStreet (NASDAQ: TST), a financial news and information publisher, announced it was laying off 10 editorial employees in its third round of layoffs since October 2016, reports Talking Biz News. Founded by financial expert Jim Cramer, TheStreet is shifting its focus to its paid products after experiments with video and branded content failed to meet expectations.
Yesterday Texas-based movie chain Cinemark (NYSE: CNK) has launched Movie Club which it calls the movie-lover’s membership. The monthly membership program gives members one discounted 2D adult movie ticket every month for $8.99 plus 20 percent off on concession purchases, waived online fees and other exclusive benefits. Unused tickets roll over and never expire for active members; members who cancel have up to six months following cancellation to use their credits.
Have you ever signed up for a free trial of a subscription box, magazine, streaming video network or other subscription service but forgotten to cancel before the trial ended and your credit card got charged? Chattanooga-based startup Tryall feels your pain and wants to take the stress out of that sign-up process, so you can make informed decisions about the subscriptions you sample.
Last Friday The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) tightened its metered paywall, cutting the number of free articles non-subscribers can read from 10 to five, reports Bloomberg. It is the first change The Times has made to its paywall since April 2012 when readers could access 20 articles for free, according to The Verge. The goal, of course, is to continue growing its digital-only subscriber base of approximately 2.5 million as of the end of the third quarter.
If you’ve had your fill of holiday shopping already, we’ve got an array of subscription articles to capture your attention instead. In this week’s subscription news round-up, we are featuring Lincoln, the latest car manufacturer to plan a subscription service, the success of Wirecutter under The New York Times’ umbrella, and the partnership between Sugar Factory and ‘Foodgod’ Jonathan Cheban, Kim Kardashian’s BFF, on a candy subscription box. Also this week, we’re reading about the sale of Mashable to Ziff Davis, Axios’ fundraising efforts, and a partnership between Volvo and Liberty Insurance.
MoviePass, a company that offers movie ticket subscriptions, has lowered its prices for the holidays, according to Cheddar. Now for $6.95 a month, film buffs can go to the movie theater once a day. Testing other business models, MoviePass previously used tiered subscription pricing, and most recently went to a $9.95 a month plan to attract ardent movie goers. In a recent interview with Cheddar, Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson, the majority owner of MoviePass as of August 2017, explained that it isn’t about the money though; it is about the data.
Happy Anniversary to me! That’s what Jann Wenner will be saying when he sells his majority stake in Rolling Stone magazine to one of three bidders. In September, Wenner announced he would sell his remaining 51 percent ownership in the 50-year-old, biweekly magazine to the highest bidder. According to Recode’ Peter Kafka, three bidders remain, vying to take over the iconic magazine: Jay Penske of Penske Media Corporation who publishes Variety and Women’s Wear Daily, Bryan Goldberg, co-founder of the Bleacher Reporter and publisher of Bustle, and music executive Irving Azoff.
Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) (TSX: SHOP) and its merchants kicked off the holiday shopping season in style last week, with more than 500,000 Shopify merchants achieving record sales on Black Friday, and more than $1 billion in total sales during the weekend of November 24 through November 27. On Black Friday, at its peak, Shopify merchants processed more than $1 million in sales per minute, topping last year’s high of $555,716 per minute.
On Sunday, Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) announced it has reached a binding agreement to buy Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME) for $2.8 billion, or $18.50 per share, in an all-cash transaction. According to Time’s announcement, the share price represents a 46 percent premium over the closing price on November 15, the day before the announcement of a possible deal was made to the media. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved the deal which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.
Last week cloud-based CRM company Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) was thankful for a strong third quarter for its fiscal year 2018 for the period ended October 31, 2017. The company reported record Q3 revenue of $2.68 billion, a 25 percent increase year-over-year. Salesforce also reported deferred revenue of $4.39 billion, a 26 percent increase year-over-year, and unbilled deferred revenue of approximately $11.5 billion, a 34 percent increase year-over-year.
Though this is a short work week, that doesn’t mean the subscription news slows down. In this week’s subscription news, The New York Times reveals new product plans to Reuters, YouTube purges inappropriate content targeting kids and the DOJ uses AT&T’s own argument against its bid to buy Time Warner. Also this week, we’re reading about MoviePass, Google AMP and Amazon’s influencer program.