MoviePass is ringing in the holidays with a new three-tier pricing plan starting in 2019. According to the announcement, MoviePass’s majority owner Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: HMNY) has been testing the new pricing plans for months, and the options will be effective January 1. With each of the plans, MoviePass subscribers can view up to three movies a month with multiple movie-going options. Current subscribers can stay on their existing plan, or they can move over to one of the new plans.
As we enter the holiday season, there is plenty of subscription news and good cheer to spread around. This week, iOS users in the U.S. were targeted by a massive malvertising campaign, Yahoo Finance, Martha Stewart and BloomsBox.com announced subscription services and a Fox executive predicts that more subscription services will succumb to the pressure from competition and lack of sufficient subscribers to sustain and justify their services.
In a special webcast last week, AT&T (NYSE: T) shared an update on its success strategy for 2019, following its acquisition of Warner Media. The webcast offered information about the company’s plans for next year, including financial guidance for full year 2018 and 2019 and details about WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer streaming video on demand service, which includes three tiers of service. AT&T’s updated guidance is as follows:
Last week, Facebook announced the launch of its Today In, a new section on Facebook that aggregates local news and information. Currently, Today In is available in more than 400 U.S. cities and some cities in Australia where Facebook is testing the app. Facebook is also testing news deserts which have few news outlets by connecting them with related content in neighboring areas. Users in cities where Today In is available can go to the section directly, or they can turn on local updates to see more local news stories in their Facebook news feeds.
Monday was a big day for Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO). Nexstar Media Group (NASDAQ: NXST) agreed to buy Tribune Media’s outstanding shares at $46.50 each in an all-cash transaction worth $6.4 billion. As part of the deal, Nexstar will take on Tribune Media’s outstanding debt. The deal will be financed through Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. The boards of directors of both companies have both agreed to the deal which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, provided the acquisition agreement receives all the necessary regulatory approvals.
Last week, CRM SaaS company Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) reported record results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2019, ended October 31, 2018. The company reported revenue of $3.39 billion, a 26 percent increase year-over-year, and unearned revenue of $5.38 billion, a 25 percent increase year-over-year. Subscription and support revenue was $3.17 billion, a 26 percent increase year-over-year. Professional services and other revenue made up the remaining $224 million, a 15 percent increase year-over-year.
Last Thursday, millennial-focused digital news site Mic laid off most of its editorial staff and was subsequently bought by the Bustle Digital Group for $5 million, reports Recode. Mic co-founder and CEO Chris Altchek announced the layoffs at an all-employee meeting on Friday. Approximately 30 staffers of more than 100 will remain at Mic, including Altchek and co-founder Jake Horowitz, says Recode. As severance, most employees would receive one month of pay and health care. They were told to clean out their desks by the end of the day and that their computer access would be shut off at 2 p.m. on Thursday, says The New York Times.
We survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it is business as usual as the holiday season gets underway. In this week’s subscription news headlines, Instagram cracks down on fake likes, followers and comments, The Boston Globe looks to cannabis coverage as a revenue generator, and Google looks at shutting down its EU News operation to avoid taxes on links. Also this week, The Daily Star says Sony PS4 is the big winner against Microsoft’s Xbox One in terms of subscriptions, Intuit stock skyrockets after QuickBook’s first quarter subscription activity is reported, and YouTube is showing free, ad-supported Hollywood movies.
Shopify merchants had an incredible Black Friday Cyber Monday (BCFM) shopping weekend, with more than 600,000 sellers from 175 countries generating more than $1.5 billion in sales. Among the highlights was the move to mobile shopping. Sixty-six percent of Shopify sales during BCFM occurred on mobile devices, compared to 34 percent shopping on desktops. Shopify said part of this was due to responsive themes and a variety of mobile-friendly payment options including Shopify Pay, Google Pay and Apple Pay.
It’s official. Fox Nation, Fox News’ new on-demand, subscription-only streaming channel, is now live and offering original programming to Fox News’ fans. The hosts of “Un-PC,” Britt McHenry and Tyrus, teased viewers Sunday evening with some of the content they can expect on Fox Nation, which they are calling “Opinion Done Right.” The New York Times calls compares it to “Netflix for conservatives.” For $5.99 a month or $64.99 a year, Fox Nation subscribers can access the on-demand streaming subscription service on their smartphones, tablets, computers and some TV devices.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend was record-breaking for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) with Cyber Monday being the biggest shopping day in company history with more products being ordered globally than on any other day. Over the five-day holiday shopping weekend or “Turkey 5,” Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, customers around the world purchased more than 18 million toys. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon customers bought more than 13 million fashion items.
Condé Nast-owned Glamour magazine is the latest women’s magazine to ditch print in favor of a digital audience, reports The New York Times. Just a year ago, Glamour went from 12 issues down to 11, but now it is ending its regular print edition altogether. The last issue will be the magazine’s January issue, scheduled to be on newsstands now. The magazine may occasionally publish special issues like its popular Women of the Year edition. According to Condé Nast, Glamour, which was first published in 1939, reaches one out of eight American women, with 9.7 million print readers, more than 11 million unique monthly users online, and over 14 million social media followers.
AutoNation, who claims to be America’s largest auto retailer, has partnered with digital subscription service Fair, a two-year-old startup, to allow qualified drivers to lease used cars on a monthly basis rather than buying or financing them on a long-term basis. Consumers use the Fair app, available for download in the App Store or Google Play Store, to get approval and shop for a car. Each car includes a limited warranty, routine maintenance and roadside assistance as part of the package. Insurance, additional miles and excess wear-and-tear protection can be added as extras and are bundled into the monthly payment.
In this week’s subscription headlines, Blue Apron’s stock drops after failing to meet revenue projections, The Guardian reports that reader payments make up 12 percent of their revenue, and plus-size subscription service Dia&Co adds $70 million in new funding. Also this week, AutoNation launches a used-car subscription service, BlackBerry buys a cybersecurity firm, and Squarespace develops a new feature for DTC subscription brands.
You don’t have to have a brick-and-mortar store to make the most of one of the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday, November 23. Subscription companies are capitalizing on the opportunity with some of their own deals, not just attracting customers for a day for, hopefully, for months or years to come. Here are a few big Black Friday deals that other subscription companies can learn from and some deal-seeking consumers might want to check out: