Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) just made it a little easier for college students to enjoy the many perks of a Prime membership, offering students enrolled in two- and four-year colleges a student rate of $5.49 a month. The monthly price of Amazon Prime Student is 50 percent off Prime’s regular price, following a six-month free trial, without the annual commitment. The free trial is provided courtesy of Sprint. Qualifying college students can pay $49 a year (the equivalent of $4.08 per month) instead to save 20 percent on an annual membership.
Words still matter. That’s what Medium CEO Ev Williams wrote on October 10 when he announced the publishing platform was opening up its Partner Program to all publishers and content creators. The invitation-only program began this summer, along with the company’s new logo, design and its clap system which pays writers based on the attention their content received. At launch, Medium called the Partner Program a ‘grand experiment,’ testing subscribers’ willingness to pay Medium for content which it, in turn, would share with writers.
If you predicted that Netflix couldn’t get any better in the third quarter, we’d say ‘Stranger Things’ have happened…and they have. Yesterday Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported strong Q3 financials with a 33 percent increase in global streaming revenue and the addition of 5.3 million new memberships globally, a 49 percent increase year over year. This is considerably higher than the 4.4 million net additions Netflix had forecast. Year-to-date, Netflix has added 15.5 million new members (net), a 29 percent increase year over year.
Turntables, tumblers and telescopes. A year after its $30 million acquisition of review sites The Wirecutter and The Sweethome, The New York Times Company combines the two popular sites and relaunches them as a unified, mobile-first site, Wirecutter, accessible at TheWirecutter.com. With a new logo, colors and fonts, Wirecutter’s features a single column design and brings all their reviews on everything from biking gear and electronics to office furniture and baby products. Past content and more than 62,000 reader comments are being transferred to the new site.
In this week’s subscription news, The New York Times botches a promo, giving away a Google home for $17 but subscribers could quit after receiving it. Also this week, Roku offers new TV sets that combine streaming TV with linear TV, Equifax’s CEO ‘retires’ after the company's massive data breach, and Uber’s new CEO apologizes after the company loses its license in London. Also this week, we share stories about Blue Apron, Facebook, Google, YouTube and the Chernin Group.
Time Inc. (NYSE: TIME) is the latest publisher to add paid membership programs to its offerings in the hopes of generating additional revenue. On September 27, the company announced the launch of People Perks, a membership program for People magazine readers, for $60 a year or $5.99 a month after a 30-day free trial. Members who pay annually also receive a free welcome kit, and all members receive exclusive discounts on entertainment, style, food, beauty, pets, home and shopping products and access to unique celebrity and red carpet experiences.
Last week Adblock Plus announced higher fees and a new fee structure for micropayment platform Flattr. Both are owned by parent company Eyeo. Eyeo acquired Flattr in April. The fee will now be broken down into two parts. Content creators and publishers, who receive micropayments from readers via Flattr, will be charged a monthly fee of 7.5 percent to cover Flattr’s operating costs. Also, when they first sign up, content creators and publishers will be charged a fee of 9 percent to cover payment processing.
Google has finally ditched its ‘first click free’ program in favor of a publisher-friendly tool the company is calling ‘flexible sampling,’ reports The New York Times. With ‘first click free,’ readers can access paywalled content by searching for a particular headline or relevant keywords through Google Search or Google News, a frustrating workaround for publishers with metered or hard paywalls. ‘While research has shown that people are becoming more accustomed to paying for news, the sometimes painful process of signing up for a subscription can be a turn off...'
Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) investors may find themselves ‘grateful’ that the parent company of the USA Today Network is expanding its portfolio with a new purchase. On Wednesday, Gannett announced that it has made a majority investment in Grateful Ventures, an online media and publishing coalition with a focus on building content and monetization strategies for high value domains. Grateful has a particular interest in high-influence food and cooking websites and bloggers.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced it was raising prices on two of its three subscription plans last Thursday. The company’s standard streaming plan, which lets subscribers watch TV and movies on two screens and in high definition, is increasing by $1 a month to $10.99. Its premium plan, where subscribers can watch streaming video on four screens and in high definition or ultra high definition, will go up $2 a month to $13.99.
In this week’s subscription news, Google finally drops its ‘first click free’ policy in an attempt to appease publishers, the Wall Street Journal stops publishing Asian and European Print editions, and Pandora makes a promising bet on video ads. Also this week, we’re reading subscription stories about Oracle’s feature-packed SaaS updates, how FireEye could benefit from the ghastly Equifax data breach, and YouTube’s new requirement that creators must enable their channel for monetization through their Partner Program to include external links, essentially putting a wall between creators and Patreon, a YouTube competitor.
Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD), a cloud-based learning and human capital management software company, announced that its new subscription product, Cornerstone Content Anytime, will be available to all Cornerstone OnDemand clients in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa, collectively known as EMEA later this month. In addition, the company has added some new partnerships with content providers to help global companies that need training and education in English, French, German and Spanish.
The business world is abuzz with news that Bumble, a female-first friendship and dating app, has launched Bumble Bizz, an app that puts a new face on professional networking and mentoring, empowering women to make the first move in business. The new service launched Monday for iOS in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and an Android version is coming soon. ‘Bumble Bizz has arrived! Switching to Bizz mode gives you the ability to change your professional life from the palm of your hand. Every swipe is an opportunity to expand your network and make empowering career moves,’ said the announcement.
Ring is reimagining home security and making it affordable for people to protect their homes with their new subscription service, Protect. The company announced the launch of Protect Sunday. Protect is a do-it-yourself home security system that works in conjunction with Ring’s video doorbells and security cameras. The system is customizable and can be expanded to fit any home or apartment. Priced at $10 a month, or $100 a year, Ring Protect does not have hidden fees or long-term contracts.
LiveXLive Media, Inc. (OTC: LIVX), a streaming music network for live music and video, announced in mid-September that it would acquire Slacker Radio, a streaming music and personalized subscription service for $50 million. The acquisition is the first action by newly-named president, Andy Schuon, a media and entertainment executive. As president, Schuon will oversee all divisions of the company, including LiveXLive, Wantickets, LiveXLive Influencers, and Slacker Radio and Snap Interactive, once the acquisitions are complete.