The Thankful Three: Transactions, Transparency and Treat Yourself

Featuring Hulu, Netflix and retail subscription services

Welcome to our special edition of our usual weekly segment: Five on Friday. In order to get us in the spirit, we’re calling it Thankful Three this week. We’re talking about Hulu’s now online store and how they are giving back by sharing proceeds from their Ugly Christmas sweater sales; Netflix’s new top 10 page which reveals the latest data on top shows; and we explore the (flawed) belief that retail subscriptions may be going away.

Hulu Launches Its Own Online Store

Hulu wants to diversify their income. Netflix launched their own online store earlier this year, and Hulu is looking to do the same. The streaming company recently launched Shop Hulu, which features limited-edition collections of not only apparel, but lifestyle products based on their Hulu Originals.

If you have been following Hulu for a while, you already know about their ugly Christmas sweaters. In 2019, they started giving away ugly sweaters to lucky users. In 2020, they held an ugly sweater sweepstakes. This year, everyone can feel warm and cozy with their own Little Fires Everywhere sweaters. You will be able to snag your own starting November 30, TechCrunch reports.

Hulu is also giving back with the launch of their sweaters. Now through December 31, 100% of the purchase price from the sales of their Ugly Sweater collection will be given to Feeding America to help raise money for those in America that are food insecure up to a maximum of $54,950.

Hulu is offering more than holiday sweaters for sale though. Household items and other apparel based on Hulu Originals will also be available. Hulu snagged the rights to themed merchandise from shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Grey’s Anatomy. There is also a Holiday Collection, featuring ornaments, mugs, stockings, blankets, and more.

Need more of an incentive? Hulu is offering a discount for shoppers that sign up for the streamer’s newsletter and will make other offers available throughout the year. The launch of Hulu’s new online store will hopefully soften the blow of the Hulu + Live TV price increase to $70/month just before Christmas.

Screenshot from Shop.Hulu.com

Netflix is Opening Up About Viewership Data with New Top Ten Pape

Netflix is finally sharing some of their user data. With the exception of their top viewership numbers released in quarterly shareholder letters, Netflix is typically silent about their viewership numbers. They are hoping to change that and win over viewers with more transparency.

Recently, they launched a Top Ten page that will release weekly lists featuring top TV shows and movies, based on streaming minutes. The page will be updated every Tuesday, based on numbers from Monday to Sunday of the previous week. Figures will be rounded to 10,000 to account for any fluctuations in internet connectivity. Titles will be ranked based on their first 28 days on the service.

In the company’s earnings call in October, Netflix said that they were going to shift away from their longtime two-minute time metric and switch to hours. In a letter to shareholders, they noted that they were shifting to the number of hours a show or movie was viewed. They noticed there was a difference in rankings, and they thought engagement by hours was a slightly better indicator of overall success of our titles and member satisfaction.

“We think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction. It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to rewatching,” explained Netflix.

This switch also matches how external sources are checking their numbers and allows to count for rewatching. The previous two-minute indicator would count someone watching a show if they had only watched a few minutes, and then left the program entirely. This allows for a more accurate ranking system and better analytics on Netflix’s end.

When checking metrics, Netflix will also display how many weeks a program has been in the top ten, allowing users to see which shows have been on top, and managed to stay on top for a while. Different seasons of shows will count as separate titles. The Verge reports that categories used on the Top Ten website will be Films (English), Films (Non-English), TV (English), and TV (Non-English).

All content available on Netflix will be eligible to appear on a list. The list will include both original and licensed titles, Cord Cutters News says. The top ten lists will feature lists by countries, as well as global lists, and will display how many total hours a show was viewed.

Screenshot Netflix’s new Top 10 site

Retail Subscriptions Are Not Going Away, So Treat Yourself!

These days there is a subscription for everything, including movies, music, toothbrushes, razors, food, pet supplies, adult beverages and more. In a world where everything is much more convenient via subscription, why do some people think the subscription age is going the way of the dinosaur?

Subscription companies that know their way around things have a network of customers at their fingertips. However, those that don’t know how to successfully market themselves are in a high risk, high loss situation. PYMNTS reports that they could lose part of $2.2 billion spent by 12 million customers per month.

Consumers now average roughly five retail subscriptions apiece, whether it is for something they use every day, or something they are using to treat themselves. More consumers are signing up for things that they never even anticipated buying. Razor subscriptions seemed to have started it all, and companies like Billie and Dollar Shave Club have branched into more than just razors. Billie now offers body care, dry shampoo, and lip balm. Dollar Shave Club now has offerings like beard care, bar soap, and face care. Why go to the grocery store when you could get it all sent to you?

Sixty-four percent of subscribers are now using direct-to-consumer products. Why peruse the perfume counter when you could get something like Scentbird sent to you once a month? It cuts down on spending $120 per fragrance, and cuts costs down to $16 a month to try a new scent.

It comes down to convenience and access. It is more easily accessible for consumers to get something sent to their house than to go out and get it. With the pandemic still in full swing, people are more hesitant to go to the store, and would prefer to get their personal hygiene products sent to them once a month.

For those who cannot leave their house, it becomes a lot easier to get things personally delivered at a fraction of the cost. Direct-to-consumer subscriptions allow those who need certain items to get things at a better price and delivered directly to them. Customer service for D2C services is a lot easier than having to go to the store and return something. Don’t need something right away or need to save a few bucks? You can skip a month.

More and more companies are going to subscriptions, and the subscription economy is here to stay, no matter what the naysayers might think. No dinosaurs here – unless they are part of a monthly subscription box – so go treat yourself!

Image: Bigstock Photos