Five on Friday: Appetites, Apple News and Advertising

Five on Friday: Appetites, Apple News and Advertising

Bon Appétit and Epicurious offer paid recipe subscriptions; Hulu & Fox reach streaming deal; creator Hank Green says “TikTok sucks.”

This week, we have lots of expansion to talk about. Condé Nast is launching paid recipe subscriptions for Bon Appétit and Epicurious to entice people with recipes while creating a more sustainable business model, Pret a Manger has updated their coffee subscription yet again, and Hulu reaches a streaming content deal with Fox. In addition, Apple News is expanding their local daily news coverage in the Bay Area, and Hank Green talks about the problem with Tik Tok’s creator fund and revenue sharing. In short, Green says, “TikTok sucks.”

Bon Appétit and Epicurious offer paid subscription plans

Condé Nast has exciting news for food lovers! Last week, the publisher announced they will launch paid recipe subscriptions for both Bon Appétit and Epicurious, reaching into the brands’ archives and leveraging the magazines’ editorial expertise in all things food.

“Today, we’re introducing a paid recipe subscription on both Bon Appétit and Epicurious. Moving to a subscription model will help us sustain our business and hard-working staff in a fast-changing industry – and allow us to keep bringing you recipes that live up to our own and our community’s eating standards,” said editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit and Epicurious, Dawn Davis, said in a blog post.

“Your support gives us the opportunity to deliver not just recipes but trusted advice on cooking methods, reporting on industry leaders, and soup-to-nuts primers on our favorite ingredients,” Davis added

With recipe subscriptions to their favorite food magazines, subscribers will receive unlimited access to recipes across both content libraries. Monthly access is $4.99 per month after a free one-month trial. Annual access is currently $30 per year, a $10 discount. Both subscription options renew automatically each year, but can be canceled at any time. Subscribers receive unlimited access to over 50,000 recipes across Bon Appétit’s and Epicurious’ websites. Condé Nast has an additional offering to allow readers of print versions to enjoy as well. Readers can purchase a year of Bon Appétit magazine and annual access to the paid recipe subscription for $50 per year.

After accessing three free recipes from Bon Appétit or Epicurious, readers will be prompted to create a paid recipe account. All users will continue to have unlimited access to articles, videos and newsletters.

This announcement comes after a strong 2021. Dwayne Sheppard, Conde Nast’s Senior VP of Consumer Revenue said, “In 2021, subscription and revenue membership revenue grew 14% year-over-year, which is the second year in a row with double-digit subscription and membership revenue growth. We are heavily investing in consumer revenue opportunities and products, and are targeting consumer revenue to grow another 50% by 2024. Our strong consumer revenue last year was also driven by continued growth in our global audiences – up 28% from 2019.”

Bon Appetit and Epicurious ad for new subscription.

Pret a Manger raises coffee subscription prices

Pret a Manger, a popular coffee company and sandwich shop with more than 550 stores around the globe, is back in the news again with a change to their subscription service. To combat rising costs for ingredients and staffing costs, the company raised their subscription from £20 to £25 per month. The new price will take effect immediately for new subscribers, but current subscribers will continue to pay their existing subscription price until March 16, The BBC reports.

The price increase has gotten some criticism from their subscribers, which isn’t the first time Pret a Manger has seen itself in hot water. In December, they found themselves in trouble with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority after customers reported their ads as misleading.

Image courtes of Pret A Manger

On their subscription page, Pret a Manger was telling users, “If our Baristas brew it, blend it or steam it, you can have it.” However, customers report some items, mainly smoothies, were not included in the subscription cost. The company updated their terms of use for their coffee subscription on February 3, 2022, and these items have been reflected to be included, and clarification for additional shots of flavoring and espresso has been added.

Pret a Manger’s price change is due to changes in the supply chain and the government’s increase to VAT, or value-added tax. The extra £5 is split three different ways. A £2 increase is due to the increase in VAT, £1.5 will go towards extra staff pay, and £1.50 will go towards covering the cost of inflation, The Guardian reports.

Coffee and milk are two items where costs have risen the most. Brazil has had droughts, affecting coffee bean harvests and leaving Pret a Manger to pay a 40% increase in the cost of coffee. For employees, the coffee chain announced three weeks ago that they would be increasing staff pay for the second time in four months, The Guardian said. This may not be sheerly out of generosity, however. Pret workers threatened to go on strike last year when the company said it would no longer pay for employee breaks, essentially cutting their pay by about 6%.

Hulu and Fox agree to streaming content deal

Disney-owned Hulu has secured more content for its content library through a new deal with Fox. The companies have agreed to a comprehensive output deal, allowing Hulu to stream all out-of-season episodes of different Fox series, both scripted and unscripted. In the deal, all future unscripted programming owned and controlled by Fox Entertainment will also be included, reported Deadline. Hulu will be able to air content like The Masked Singer, LEGO Masters, Name That Tune, Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back, and more popular titles.

“This deal proudly continues the Fox/Hulu partnership. Hulu continues to be a great place for fans to catch-up on, and even discover, Fox’s iconic, talked-about stories and characters,” said Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier.

Collier also welcomed Joe Earley, Hulu’s new president, who joined the company in January after leaving Disney+.

“Hulu’s extensive selection of content makes it the ultimate destination for TV fans. With this deal, we’re thrilled to offer our subscribers even more unrivaled animation and unscripted programming, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Fox Entertainment,” Earley said of the deal, Variety shared.

This deal with Hulu and Fox preserves a deal that Fox previously shared with Tubi, Streamable reports. Fox acquired Tubi in early 2020, after they gave up 21st Century Fox in a deal with Disney. Fox sold its 30% stake in Hulu, and then acquired Tubi. With this, they were able to streamline their TV focus. Tubi will still get to keep titles like The Masked Singer. This is a smart move, considering how much Tubi can make in ad revenue alone.

Image courtesy of FOX and Hulu.

Apple News launches its first daily local mewsletter

Apple News hopes to take a bite out of local news in the Bay Area, and are looking to expand their local news offering to other cities.

In their new newsletter, readers will find stories from local publications, such as the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate, Eater San Francisco, and more. It’s likely to look like a daily local paper and share stories across local news, sports, politics, and more. The newsletter will roll out at the end of the day, and will include notable news and information about what is going on in the city. It will be published alongside Apple News’ daily newsletter that will deliver national news to a more widespread audience.

Screenshot of Apple News for Feb. 10, 2022

Currently, Apple News offers local news in 11 parts of the country, including New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In October, they expanded their coverage to Charlotte, Miami and Washington D.C., Business Standard said. For the local daily newsletter, Apple has confirmed that they are looking to expand this offering to other areas. When they decide to roll out their newsletter on a wider scale, they’ll have a wide range of cities to choose from.

9 to5 Mac reports that stories chosen for the daily newsletter will be curated by Apple News instead of an algorithm choosing them, which will allow for more meaningful content to be shared. Apple expressed they want to cut down on the recirculation of clickbait and other low-value content. Creating more meaningful content will hopefully drive more readers to a wider variety of stories, and potentially drive more users to use Apple News.

It’s no secret that Apple News has been a success since its inception. Apple News is the most popular news app in the UK when it comes to readership, but there is not as much time spent on the app than there is on BBC News, said 9 to 5 Mac. Sharing more local news content could give Apple an edge and help them beat out minutes spent on the app.

Apple News is a free app available on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs. Apple also offers a premium news app called Apple News+, available as a subscription. Apple News+ offers subscribers access to hundreds of magazines and newspapers for a monthly subscription fee.

Creator Hank Green shares concerns about TikTok’s revenue sharing formula

With the news of Tik Tok potentially looking at subscription revenue for their creators, creators like Hank Green have mixed feelings. Green is the creator of VidCon, a YouTube creator and CEO of media company Complexly. He recently took to YouTube to share his concerns about how TikTok creators make less money per person the more popular the short-form video platform becomes.

In 2020, TikTok announced their creator fund, which would distribute $200 million annually to creators based in the U.S. However, Hank Green said, “When TikTok becomes more successful, TikTokers become less successful.”

His theory is that the more creators that apply to partake in the creator fund, the less money there is to go around, reported Tubefilter. Green’s argument starts with the YouTube Partner Program, which hasn’t changed much since it launched.

“A platform decided that every advertisement that runs on a video on a creator’s page, half of that money is going to go to YouTube and half of that money is going to go to the creator,” Green said in a YouTube video.

The Partner Program’s AdSense 55/45 split hasn’t changed since its inception, which says a lot when you think about how much YouTube’s ad revenue has increased. Initially, YouTube’s advertising revenue started at $15 million in 2006, and went up to $20 billion in 2020. Due to the revenue split, when YouTube’s profit goes up, so do the profits of their creators.

However, TikTok does not operate the same way. TikTok doesn’t run ads directly on creator videos, simply between them. That means creators cannot generate ad revenue from their own content. Green speculates that the TikTok creator fund is divvied up based on watch time, meaning the more users are watched, the more they will get paid. TikTok paying out a flat $200 million per year is $550,000 per day, and with millions of users on TikTok, it doesn’t make for a lot of monetization opportunities for creators anymore.

Green shared his income from TikTok to illustrate this point. In 2020, he made five cents per 1,000 views. In 2022, he makes 2.5 cents per 1,000 views, despite his viewership and followers increasing. TikTok makes between 30 to 60 cents of ad money for every view that a user brings in. Learn more about Green’s viewpoint in this YouTube video, “So…TikTok Sucks.” It is about 24 minutes long, and it offers an interesting perspective on the platform-creator perspective.

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