This has been an amazing week as we held our first three-day Subscription Show. That didn’t stop the subscription news world though. Here are some of the latest subscription headlines: Sprout Social files to go public, Apple hinted at a subscription-based iPhone, and Zuora’s stock is lacking. Also in the news, EA games are returning to stream, NBC might offer Peacock free, and Netflix is getting into the podcasting business.
Dana Neuts is Subscription Insider's Senior Staff Writer, covering our daily subscription news as well as member features, case studies, and reports.
Dana is also a writer, editor, marketing professional, speaker and the publisher of iLoveKent.net. Her work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, The Seattle Times, Seattle Business, 425 Business, 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, Northwest Travel and more. She is the immediate past president of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her specialties include business writing, community news, senior issues, travel and, of course, subscriptions!
This week was nothing short of amazing, as we wrap up our very first Subscription Show. Thanks to our sponsors, keynotes, speakers, vendors and attendees for making this conference both useful and fun, chock full of great ideas and techniques to grow our subscription businesses. Here’s what else is happening in the subscription world: Amazon will earn close to $10B in net digital ad revenue this year, Dropbox is making its file transfer service available to all users, Netflix says it is compatible with certain Roku and Samsung devices, Apple plants seeds for subscription growth, and Hubspot shares social media marketing tips.
The New York Times Company reported total revenue of $428.5 million, or 2.7% growth, for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $417.3 million for Q3 2018. The New York Times’ subscription revenue was $267.3 million, a 3.7 million increase, driven by growth in the company’s digital-only products including news, Crossword and Cooking. Paid digital-only subscription totaled just over 4 million at the end of the third quarter, a net increase of 273,000 subscribers and a 31% increase year-over-year. OF the net new adds, 209,000 came from digital news and the remainder came from Crossword and Cooking.
Amazon isn’t the only subscription company hoping to reach a new generation of potential customers. Spotify just launched Spotify Kids, a standalone premium app designed specifically for kids ages 3 and older and their families. The new app includes a family-friendly curated group of playlists with music and stories from favorite TV shows, movies and plays – think Disney, Nickelodeon, Discovery Kids, Universal Pictures and BookBeat.
With its new membership program, Lyft Pink, the ride-sharing service is advancing its mission to change how people think about transportation. Lyft wants people to stop thinking about cars as something to own, but as something they use as a service instead. Ideal for riders who use Lyft two or more times per week, Lyft Pink is a better way to ride, says the ride-sharing company, rewarding frequent users with preferred pricing and other perks.
Literati is on a mission to inspire kids ages 0 to 12 to become readers for life. The Austin-based subscription book club announced it secured $12 million in new capital in a Series A funding round led by Nikhil Basu Triveldi at Shasta Ventures, that will help it do just that. Other investors include Dick Costolo of 01 Advisors, Katie Jacobs Stanton and Jessica Verilli of #Angels, Dan Graham of Austin’s Springdale Ventures, Kevin Hartz, Thomas Lehrman, Allan Hubbard, Founders Fund Pathfinder, Silverton Partners and Brent Montgomery of Wheelhouse. The three-year-old Literati will use the infusion of cash to grow the business and hire new employees.
Satellite radio company SiriusXM saw serious revenue growth in the third quarter with total revenue of $2.0 billion, a 37% increase year-over-year. The revenue boost was driven by the acquisition of Pandora in February of this year for $3.5 billion. The company reported net income of $246 million, down from $343 million during the same period last year. Net income per diluted common share was $0.05 for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $0.07 for the third quarter of 2018. SiriusXM attributed the net income decrease to refinancing expenses.
Happy first of November! It is hard to believe the year is almost over. Where did it go? As the year draws to a close, subscription companies are making deals, tough decisions and launching new products. This week, an exclusive Reuters report says Alphabet is trying to buy Fitbit, Sony may be selling off PlayStation Vue, and The Financial Times is launching subscriber-only podcasts. Also this week, Amazon rolls out a new, ad-supported News video app, AT&T is offering free HBO Max, and Citrix is facing challenges as it shifts to a subscription-based licensing model.
Meredith Corp announced Tuesday that it made a strategic purchase with its recent acquisition of Stop, Breathe & Think (SBT), a mobile mindfulness app. The four-year-old app has more than 17 million emotional check-ins. The app differentiates itself from its competitors with regular emotional check-ins and mindfulness acts, multi-day programs, apps for children and distribution on multi-platforms. Like other popular mindfulness apps, SBT uses a freemium model with a free version and paid premium plans.
CNN to Create Digital News Subscription Service
CNN is stepping into the subscription game by adding another app to their portfolio. The AT&T-backed company currently has CNNgo, which allows you to log in through your cable provider to access the 24-hour cable news network on the go. Their stories are also available on voice-controlled devices, Samsung and Apple devices. Their newest venture? Adding a subscription news platform to allow users access to CNN stories at their…