Earlier this week, Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) investors received an impressive financial report for Adobe’s second quarter of fiscal year 2019 for the period ended May 31, 2019. Adobe reported record revenue of $2.74 billion, a 25% increase year-over-year, driven by strong revenue in its Creative, Document Cloud and Experience Cloud segments. Adobe also reported diluted earnings per share of $1.29 (GAAP) and $1.83 (non-GAAP), beating analysts’ estimates for both revenue and profitability.
Spotify is trying to improve the user experience for subscribers by separating music from podcasts in a “sleeker, cleaner, smarter” update, released last week. In a June 13 post, Spotify says the reimagined library mixes form with function, making it easier for premium users to find the content they want faster. The streaming music and podcast provider also said the podcast experience is now more personalized, including everything from getting started and staying up to date on a listener’s favorite podcasts.
Last week, German publisher Axel Springer announced it will merge its U.S. companies, Insider Inc. and eMarketer Inc., effective January 1, 2020. Insider Inc. publishes digital business news brands Business Insider and Markets Insider and general interest news brand Insider. Insider Inc.’s sites have a combined audience of over 170 million unique visitors worldwide, according to Google Analytics.
Retail giant Walmart is upping its grocery game with two new offerings: an unlimited grocery delivery subscription service for $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, and InHome store-to-refrigerator personal delivery. Walmart has not officially announced or confirmed its unlimited grocery delivery service yet. However, TechCrunch reports that Delivery Unlimited allows Walmart grocery customers to pay an annual or monthly fee instead of a per-order grocery delivery fee, following a 15-day free trial period. Customers will order their groceries online or through the Walmart app and choose a timeframe for grocery delivery.
In this week’s subscription news, Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate brings together its Xbox subscriptions for a discount, magazine mogul Meredith quietly cuts 60 employees, and Mercedes-Benz expands its luxury vehicle subscription service. Also this week, Microsoft and Oracle cross-connect their cloud products, Apple reveals its plans for iTunes and new Macs, and GateHouse Media plans to consolidate 50 Massachusetts publications into 18.
Slack’s fiscal year 2020 is off to a good start. For its first fiscal quarter of 2020 for the period ended April 30, 2019, global collaboration hub Slack reported total revenue of $134.8 million, a 67% increase year-over-year. The company ended the quarter with more than 95,000 paying subscribers, including 645 who generate more than $100,000 in annual recurring revenue, an 84% increase year-over-year. Launched publicly in 2014, the Slack collaboration tool has more than 10 million daily active users, in over 600,000 organizations in over 150 countries. Slack’s net dollar retention rate was 138%.
Google’s cloud-based gaming service, Stadia, is available for pre-order now with an exclusive Founder’s Edition. Because the platform is based in the cloud, gamers do not need to purchase a console to use Stadia, just a controller which connects to the game via Wi-Fi. Stadia users will be able to play games in 4K on their smart TVs or on laptops, desktops, and Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a phones without having to download games. They can play what they want, when they want, by purchasing their favorite games including Destiny 2: The Collection, Football Manager 2020, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Baldur’s Gate III, Mortal Kombat 11 and Final Fantasy XV.
Last Friday, the Copyright Royalty Board filed a notice of its intent to audit TuneIn, a streaming radio provider, for its collection and payment of royalty fees to copyright owners and performers. The audit was authorized by SoundExchange, the organization designated by the CRB to collect royalty payments and statements submitted by licensees such as TuneIn and distributing royalties to the appropriate parties.
CRM and analytics provider Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) announced yesterday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire analytics platform Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA) in an all-stock transaction. Each share of Tableau Class A and B common stock will be exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, in a deal worth an estimated $15.7 billion (net of cash), based on an average share price for Salesforce stock as of June 7, 2019.
Last week, Consumer Reports announced that it received a $6 million donation from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to launch a Digital Lab focused on consumer rights. This donation is the largest in the history of Consumer Reports, a nonprofit advocacy membership organization. The Digital Lab will look at data privacy and security, fair market competition, transparency and consumer choice in the digital marketplace.The Lab may also help Consumer Reports put pressure on government agencies to respond more swiftly and seriously to consumer complaints about digital products and services.
In this week’s subscription news, Xbox Game Pass is coming to PCs with 100+ titles, Netflix increases prices by up to 20% in the U.K., and Tribune Publishing will pay $56 million in a special cash dividend to shareholders. Also this week, Google ends ad blocking in Chrome, Okta stock is on fire after its latest financial report, and Hertz launches a $1,000-a-month car subscription. No, that’s not a typo - $1,000 a month.
The Hustle, publisher of a free daily business newsletter with more than 1 million subscribers, has just launched a premium weekly newsletter, Hustle Trends. For $299 a year – or $249 if you take advantage of the current promotional offer – subscribers get access to premium content about new startups and startup trends. In his pithy pitch to potential subscribers, Hustle CEO Sam Parr said readers wanted more in-depth information than they were getting in their daily newsletter.
Streaming sports service FloSports announced Monday that it raised $47 million in Series C funding, led by Discovery Inc. This additional funding will help the company enhance and expand its live digital sports coverage and original content. Additional financial investors include Causeway Media Partners, Fertitta Capital and DCM Ventures, and strategic investors include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments.This brings the total raised to date to $79.2 million.
Last week, Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP) announced the sale of the Sports Illustrated brand to Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, for $110 million. Sports Illustrated has a total audience of 120 million, making it the most-read sports magazine in the world. SI.com is in the top 10 sports websites, and Sports Illustrated has a strong presence on both print and digital platforms. It is well-known for its annual swimsuit issue and the Sportsperson of the Year awards.
Gannett and GateHouse Media are reportedly discussing a possible merger to cut costs while expanding their audience reach, says USA Today, a Gannett-owned newspaper. The news comes just two weeks after Gannett successfully fought a hostile takeover by rejecting MNG Enterprises board candidates and days after GateHouse Media announced layoffs of 200 in a ‘small restructuring.’ The Wall Street Journal reports that Gannett has also explored possible deals with Tribune Publishing and McClatchy.