Five on Friday: Music Revenue, Mobile SVOD and Top Subscription Jobs
Featuring Boston Globe, WSJ, Variety, Sensor Tower and LinkedIn
In this week’s edition of Five on Friday, Brian Bergstein of the Boston Globe explores the idea of offering tax credits to save local news, recorded music revenue in the U.S. continues growing, Digital Context Next looks at The New York Times’ program to offer free subscriptions to students, Sensor Tower shares the top 10 grossing SVOD subscription apps in 2018, and LinkedIn posts some great subscription jobs that are worth a look.
Boston Globe: Tax Credits for Newspapers Aren’t Really a Radical Idea
At least that’s what Brian Bergstein thinks. He explains that theory in a February 28 article for The Boston Globe, “Tax credits for your news subscription? It’s not that radical.” Bergstein starts with facts that can’t be disputed – newspapers have declined in readership, circulation and staff for more than a decade.
According to Pew Research Center, between 2008 and 2017, there was a 23 percent drop in newsroom staff (reporters, editors, photographer and videographers). A 2018 expanding news desert study by Penelope Abernathy at the University of North Carolina offered the following:
- Since 2004, the U.S. has lost over 60 daily and 1,700 weekly newspapers.
- About half of the remaining 7,112 newspapers (1,283 dailies and 5,829 weeklies) are based in small and rural communities.
- The majority of the remaining papers have circulation of less than 15,000.
- Over the last 15 years, weekday circulation for dailies and weeklies combined dropped from 122 million to 73 million.
- Two hundred counties in the U.S., out of 3,143 counties, have no newspaper.
Fewer newspapers mean fewer stories are being told – important stories that provide the necessary checks and balances needed in a strong democracy. Voter turnout decreases when newspapers cut back or close altogether, government transparency is minimized when there are no reporters to serve as watchdogs, and lenders become wary to lend money when there is no one minding the store. This also creates an inequality issue because those with the least access to news are sometimes those who need it the most – low income, less educated and most isolated.
So, what does this have to do with tax credits? Bergstein says a bold way to attack the problem of a loss of local news is to provide tax credits as an incentive for private investment. If Joe and Suzie Tycoon receive a tax credit of $XX, maybe they’d be willing to start a newspaper or help fund or save an existing one. The government has provided assistance in the past, reports Bergstein, so why not offer tax credits to save local news? Read more on Bergstein’s ideas and the precarious position a loss of local news creates for the American public on BostonGlobe.com.
Streaming Revenue Accounts for 75 Percent of Total U.S. Music Revenue
In their annual report, RIAA indicates that the U.S. music industry had its third year in a row of double-digit growth. According to Variety, recorded-music revenue was $9.8 billion, a 12 percent increase over the prior year and the highest it has been in 10 years. RIAA attributes the increase to paid music subscriptions which grew from 35.3 million to 50.2 million, a 42 percent increase year-over-year.
Total music subscription revenues were a part of that trend, representing $5.4 billion of the $9.8 billion total, an increase of 32 percent. Variety reports this includes $747 million in revenues from “limited tier” paid subscriptions like Amazon Prime and Pandora Plus. Even more impressive is the fact that streaming revenues now account for 75 percent of the total U.S. music industry revenue.
“Fifty million subscriptions illustrate fans’ unrivaled love for music and the way it shapes our identities and culture?—?and showcases an industry that has embraced the future and found a healthy path forward in the digital economy,” said Mitch Glazer, RIAA chairman and CEO, a blog post titled “50 Million Reasons for Optimism.”
How will the NYT free student subscriptions pay off?
Despite what President Trump would have us believe, The New York Times is doing just fine. In fact, they are doing so well - and believe in their product so much - they are willing to give it away to 3 million students in the United States, reports Digital Context Next. Is it worth it? Some publishers, including The Times, think it is. The Times is playing the long game - believing that quality journalism is paying for and hoping that creating a reading habit among a younger demographic will make them more willing to pay when they graduate.
How are they paying for it? According to an exclusive Axios article, 30,000 reader contributions underwrites the program, allowing The New York Times to give digital access to NYTimes.com to 4,000 schools. Access to the subscriptions is on a first-come, first served basis, because $3 million can only go so far.
Digital Content Next says The Times is establishing relationships with younger readers, hoping they will become their "go to" resource for news. In the Axios article on the student subscriptions, Hannah Yang, who heads up subscription growth said, "We already have high retention, but I think this could make it almost bulletproof."
Top 10 U.S. Mobile SVOD Apps Raised $1.27B in Revenue in 2018
Last year was a great year to be in the subscription streaming video on demand business. According to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data, the top 10 subscription SVOD apps brought in $1.27 billion in revenue, a 62 percent over the $781 million consumers spend on the apps the prior year. That seems like a huge jump, but between 2016 and 2017, the top 10 mobile SVOD jumped 77 percent, from $441 million to $781 million.
Here are the top 10 SVOD apps in terms of overall revenue, App Store revenue and Google Play revenue.
Not included in the data above: in-app advertising or subscription refunds.
Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and YouTube TV all saw increases in spending in 2018. HBO Now, the third highest, saw a 12 percent drop between 2017 ($189 million) and 2018 ($166 million). Read more about the top 10 mobile SVOD apps on SensorTower.com.
LinkedIn: Top Subscription Jobs
Pricing Manager: Creator Subscription
New York, NY
At SoundCloud, we always looking for ways to maximize our revenue across geographies, currencies, and most importantly, customer segments. We want to ensure our subscriptions are best for the artists, podcasters, DJs and others buying them. You will help form, validate, and incubate key pricing and packaging changes based on customer type. You will optimize, optimize and optimize. You will run countless tests and experiments. Read more.
Senior Director, Promotions Strategy
Univision Communications, Inc.
The Univision Agency is currently seeking a highly motivated, creative and experienced strategist for a Senior Director position. The Agency serves as the creative services division of the Univision Networks producing multi-platform promotions for Univision, UniMas and Galavision Networks. The Agency also oversees creative for special corporate projects, positioning videos and programming reels. In this position, the candidate will work closely with the Senior Vice President to create and execute the strategy of multi-platform campaigns for all Univision Networks. Read more.
Senior Product Manager - Amazon Prime Retention
As a Senior Product Manager you will have a relentless focus on the customer and dive deep into customer use cases and problems ensuring our members have a world class experience. You will innovate to drive customer-focused solutions in Prime locales globally. You will have high judgment and understand which opportunities drive the most strategic value for the customers and business. You thrive in ambiguous, fast paced environments. You will use your influence across Amazon in various global organizations to drive customer focused solutions. A core skill for this role is to be able to simplify the complex customer subscription journey, identifying changes needed within Prime and across Amazon. Read more.
Project Manager, Subscription Systems
The New York Times
New York, NY
The New York Times is respected for its visionary, high-quality journalism, its reach and its influence. Now, in the digital age, we are transforming the nation’s “newspaper of record” into a subscriber-first, user-centered media company. Our ambition is to redefine our customer experience to aspire to the same level of excellence as our journalism. Join The New York Times as a Project Manager on our Subscriptions teams, leading strategic projects and supporting day-to-day operations of our digital capabilities. Read more.
Senior Director, Subscription Products
San Mateo, CA
GoPro PLUS is a subscription service that offers the most premium GoPro experience. From automatic cloud backup, to GoPro Care, to special discounts on GoPro products, PLUS has you covered. The Senior Director, Subscription Products, will set the strategic direction for this critical and rapidly growing part of our business. You will be accountable for the PLUS experience across all touch points including web, mobile apps, and GoPro hardware. You will distill the strategic direction into a product road map and drive execution of the product backlog, collaborating closely with colleagues across UX, development, Program Management, and QA. Success in the role requires an ability to gain buy-in for your plans from senior leadership, as well as from the teams who will execute on the plan. You will be required to understand the P&L, and balance financial, user, and technical impacts in decision making. Read more.