Happy New Year! One week in and the subscription economy is off to an exciting start. In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, car subscription startup GO expands into new markets, industry experts estimate that SVOD providers will spend more than $230 billion on content this year, and LinkedIn prevails in a class action lawsuit citing faulty metrics. Also, 2021 was a good year for print magazine launches, and we share top subscription jobs.
Car Subscription Service GO Expands to 4 New Markets
Earlier this week, GO, a car subscription startup, announced its expansion into to four new markets: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Charlotte. This brings the total number of markets where GO is available to eight. The company will expand into additional markets this summer.
“We’ve had tremendous demand for our offering and are pleased to bring GO to customers in these new cities,” said Michael Beauchamp, GO’s founder and CEO, in a January 4, 2021 news release.
After raising $41 million in seed funding, GO initially launched in October 2021 in Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, Miami and Ohio. The company said it would use the capital to grow its fleet and expand nationally.
The company describes itself as a first-of-its-kind car subscription service because it is a simpler, cheaper alternative to traditional car ownership and leases. In many aspects, it also differs from other car subscriptions. It is specifically designed for daily drivers who want the best possible car within their monthly budget and who plan to keep the car for up to three years.
One of the key differentiators is pricing. While there is a hefty $1,500 vehicle activation payment (at launch, waived for first-time customers), subscribers save an average of 25%. They can also select different mile allocations that fit their driving habits: 833; 1,000; or 1,250 miles per month. Unused miles roll over to the next month, and miles over the allocation are assessed a fee of $0.25 per mile.
Like other car subscriptions, the entire application and selection process can be done online, and subscribers don’t need to go to a dealership to take delivery on a vehicle. In most cases, cars are delivered to subscribers at home for no extra fee.
“GO was created to streamline and simplify an antiquated process. Customers win thanks to technology and efficiency driving our unique business model,” said Beauchamp.
SVOD Content Spending Estimated at $230 Billion in 2022
Streaming video on demand companies like Netflix and Disney will spend an estimated $230 billion on content in 2022, according to forecasts and data from Ampere Analysis. This is a 14% increase over 2021 spending of $220 billion. The increase is due to higher spending on original programming, says Ampere. In 2021, they spent close to $50 billion on original content last year, a 50% increase over 2019 spending.
“In 2022, we expect content investment to exceed $230 billion, primarily driven by subscription streaming services, as the battle in the original content arena intensifies – both in the US, but also in the global markets which are increasingly key for growth,” said Hannah Walsh, a research manager at Ampere Analysis.
The companies that spent the most on content last year included:
- Comcast and subsidiaries ($22.7 billion)
- Disney ($18.6 billion)
- Google ($15 billion)
- Netflix ($13.2 billion)
Disney reported in its fiscal year 2021 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they would spend $33 billion on content for fiscal year 2022 (October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022), an $8 billion increase over fiscal year 2021 spending. While this doesn’t match up to Ampere’s data, the differences may be due to calendar year versus fiscal year.
Some industry experts see another trend on the horizon for 2022 – a consolidation of companies. Flixed reports there are more than 200 streaming services worldwide, and an estimated 80% of U.S. households uses at least one SVOD service. Many subscription decisions are made based on content. In a recent Forbes article, Hub Entertainment Research said about one-third of SVOD subscribers signed up for a service because of one movie or TV show they couldn’t watch anywhere else.
But how many SVOD services is a household willing to subscribe to? Leichtman Research Group found that nearly 6 in 10 U.S. households have more than one SVOD service. In a survey of 2,000 households by Marketing Charts in September 2021, 58% said they subscribe to one of the top three SVOD services – Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Can that last? We’re already seeing one streaming consolidation with the merger of Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia.
Whether or not, we’ll see SVOD consolidation this year, one thing is clear. Content is a big part of a viewer’s purchasing decision.
A Federal Judge Dismisses a Case Against LinkedIn for Overstated Ad Metrics
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn got a belated Christmas present from a federal judge last week. In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen dismissed a class-action lawsuit against LinkedIn for allegedly overreporting the level of user engagement with ads on LinkedIn, so the platform could overcharge hundreds of thousands of advertisers. Filed by advertisers TopDevz Inc. and Noirefy Inc., the case was dismissed with prejudice, so it cannot be brought before the court again.
In her 21-page legal decision dated December 27, 2021, Judge van Keulen said that, while some LinkedIn statements may have been misleading, the plaintiffs did not adequately present their case. The judge also said that LinkedIn had no implied duty to provide “accurate ad metrics,” and the site included a disclaimer in the Ads Agreement. The disclaimer reads as follows:
“LinkedIn is not responsible for click fraud, fraudulent leads, technological issues or other potentially invalid activity by third parties that may affect the cost of running Ads.”
In the judge’s conclusion and disposition, she writes, “Plaintiffs have not been able to plead viable theories, even with the benefit of the guidance provided by LinkedIn’s motions to dismiss and the Court’s August 3 Order, and even after dropping certain legal theories and adding new ones. In addition, in opposition to the current motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs rehash certain arguments already rejected by the Court.”
The suit was originally filed after LinkedIn identified a metrics measurement problem in August 2020, fixing it four months later in November. At the time, LinkedIn said the inaccurate metrics potentially affected over 418,000 customers, and the company promised to credit the accounts of affected advertisers. In a November 12, 2020 blog post, Gyanda Sachdeva, vice president, product management for LinkedIn said that more than 90% of affected advertisers had an impact of less than $25.
“We are committed to the transparency and integrity of our ads products. This commitment guides us as we improve our offerings and systems to help ensure we maintain a trusted platform,” Sachdeva said.
New Print Magazine Launches More Than Doubled Over 2020
2021 was a good year for print magazine launches. An analysis done by magazine and industry expert Samir Husni shows that print magazine launches in the U.S. doubled in 2021, compared to 2020, though not quite as high as 2019 levels:
- 2021: 122 new print magazines launched
- 2020: 60 new print magazines launched
- 2019: 139 new print magazines launched
- 2017: 124 new print magazines launched
According to Media Post, the magazine launches are primarily niche magazines done quarterly or bimonthly. Some of the new magazines include:
- Bitcoin magazine (Mr. Magazine’s Relaunch of the Year) (quarterly)
- Brooklyn (relaunch)(quarterly)
- Delish (quarterly)
- Drew (quarterly)
- Grazia USA (Mr. Magazine’s Launch of the Year)(quarterly)
- In Pickleball (quarterly)
- Mother Tongue (quarterly)
- O Quarterly (quarterly)
- People Royals (quarterly)
- Scout Life (Mr. Magazine’s Reinvention of the Year, formerly Boys’ Life)(monthly)
“The new print magazines are becoming more like a collector’s product,” Husni said. “They’re the only thing left in media that’s not disposable. We used to say that about newspapers. There’s nothing more disposable than digital media.”
Top Subscription Jobs
Looking for a new gig in the world of memberships or subscriptions? Here are a few top subscription jobs up for grabs.
Marketing Manager, Amazon Subscription Boxes, DaaS
Amazon Subscription and Discovery Boxes Marketing team is looking for a data-driven and highly motivated Marketing Manager to play a critical role in our customer acquisition and engagement efforts. As the Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for supporting and executing global marketing strategies for Amazon Subscription Boxes. You will bring your proven creative, analytical, and project management capabilities to plan, implement and optimize compelling campaigns that drive customer awareness, acquisition, engagement and retention. The ideal candidate is passionate about email marketing with proven experience using scalable tools to increase brand recognition, product adoption, and engagement for consumer audiences. Read more.
Senior Subscription Manager
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (remote position)
We are looking to hire a Subscription Manager/Sr. Subscription Manager (based on relevant experience) to manage our growing CPG subscription programs. Collaborate with retention marketing, Product Marketing, Acquisition, and CRO to drive new subscriptions and revenue growth while ensuring continued customer satisfaction and a premium customer experience. This is a perfect position for a data minded marketer with proven subscription management experience who wants to step up to a role with significant visibility in the company. Read more.
Project Manager, Subscription Growth
The New York Times
New York, NY
Join The New York Times as a Project Manager on our Growth team, leading strategic projects and supporting day-to-day operations of our digital teams. The teams working on Growth unlock the full revenue potential of our subscription business by building experiences and developing capabilities that grow and engage qualified audiences, convert engaged readers into new subscribers, and identify and experiment with new growth levers. Subscribers are our most engaged and valuable users, and a key focus of the company’s strategy for growth. We need to continue to develop and deepen the customer relationship. Read more.
Editor for Innovation
McClatchy – Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee is seeking a forward-thinking, results-driven leader with experience in newsroom transformation to help us deepen connections with our audience, grow subscriptions, experiment and innovate in a fast-moving digital news environment. This editor will collaborate with our audience growth and retention team and with journalists across the newsroom as we look to enhance our journalism with new technologies and new approaches to storytelling. Read more.
Senior Support Manager, Subscription Management Cloud
Lehi, UT (Remote)
This opening is for a Senior Manager, leading a team of highly experienced senior level Support Engineers. The person may manage remote employees well. As a member of the Support organization, your focus is to deliver post-sales support and solutions to the Oracle customer base while serving as an advocate for customer needs. This involves resolving post-sales non-technical customer inquiries via phone and electronic means, as well as, technical questions regarding the use of and troubleshooting of our Oracle CX services. As a primary point of contact for customers, you are responsible for facilitating customer relationships with Support and providing advice and assistance to internal Oracle employees on diverse customer situations and escalated issues. Read more.
Are you hiring? Do you have a subscription job to share? Email us at email@example.com! We include them in Five on Friday the first Friday of each month.