Subscribed ‘14: Read The News!





Gabe Weisert

Content Marketing Manager


Subscribed San Francisco ‘14 starts tomorrow. We’re expecting over 1,500 industry innovators and disrupters, from Fortune 500 enterprises to lean startups, representing just about every sector you can think of: enterprise, media, telecom, healthcare, education, retail, IT, software and beyond. We’re incredibly excited, and you should be too. But in case you’re still on the fence about this whole Subscription Economy thing, read the news:


  • Apple bought Beats. Why? Not for its headphones. Tim Cook called its streaming service “the first subscription service to really get it right.” The digital download business that Apple pioneered is in decline, and consumers are flocking to subscription music services. Though iTunes Radio is off to a promising start, Apple realized that they were way behind Spotify, Pandora and Radio, so they wrote a check.


  • Zendesk hit its IPO out of the park. The company’s stellar public debut indicates that Wall Street investors are starting to recognize the inherent potential of cloud-based subscription models. “I was impressed by the quality of the investors that we met on our roadshow,” said CEO Mikkel Svane. “These are sophisticated investors and they understand what it means to invest in growth. The public market investment is as sophisticated as the private market investment.”


  • Following in Adobe’s footsteps, Autodesk recently announced new subscription “Pay As You Go” pricing on all its suites and software. The model is becoming increasingly attractive for corporate purchasers of its high-end 3D design software, as they can avoid large lump-sum payments, save money with long-term commitments and allocate software along with other stable monthly purchases.


  • A subscription for Microsoft Windows? According to company rumors and some leaked screenshots, the company appears to be considering rolling out “Windows 365,” a subscription-based version of its operating system similar to its Office 365 productivity suite. The subscription-based enterprise version of Office 365 has been on a tear as of late, enjoying 100% year-over-year growth, as companies enjoy the option of spreading their costs over time as well as “always on” access to the latest version of the product. Licences are finished.


  • Never known as a company that rolls out things lightly, IBM is bringing no less than 20 subscription-based business solutions to the market in the near future, addressing an array of sectors including media, healthcare, electronics and finance. Pre-built IBM assets will be accessed from the cloud to provide a host of mobile, asset management and analytic solutions, from fraud detection to TV set personalization. Clients will pay a set-up fee followed by ongoing usage-based charges.


  • Target is taking on Amazon. The concept of commuting a big-box store to purchase staples like toilet paper and razor blades is becoming increasingly obsolete. In a nod to the success of Amazon Prime, Target recently expanded its pilot subscription service from 200 eligible items (they started out with baby goods) to about 1,500. The discount retailer also added a 5 percent discount and free shipping for all subscription orders, and you’re free to choose your own delivery intervals.


  • Musicians are taking subscriptions into their own hands. EDM superstar Deadmau5 (pictured above) launched his own online subscription service for fans last December, offering a mixture of news, chat and live streams, with free and paid tiers providing different levels of content and access. Now that community has spawned a popular iPhone app, a subscription-based digital destination which personally architected for fans to get direct access to premium content and intimate experiences. As Deadmau5 puts it, “Everyone can enter and lurk.”


  • Ebook purchases are going the way of digital downloads, and subscription models are on the rise. Businesses like Oyster and Scribd, frequently referred to as the “Spotify” or “Netflix of ebooks,” are now being supported by the big five publishers. “We’re charging $8.99 per month for a new type of experience for books,” says Scribed CEO Trip Adler. “It’s not just about getting more books for a lower price. It’s a new experience around discovering books, more flexibility to switch books, to browse books, to search for information within books. We’re seeing people browse books, read them in parallel — there are a lot of different kind of user behaviors happening.”


  • Birchbox went ballistic. The wildly successful subscription beauty sample business recently closed $60 million in second round venture funding, and is now valued at roughly $485 million. Started in Harvard Business School four years ago with zero previous connections to the fashion industry, the service now has 800,000 subscribers and is opening its first brick-and-mortar store in New York. According to Business2Community, successful monthly retail boxes are “taking advantage of the fact that we’re growing more comfortable ordering online, but now miss that in-store experience of physically discovering a product.”


  • Even barbershops are getting in on the act. Phoenix, Arizona barbershop Keep it Cut offers individual haircuts at $15 each, but also a subscription option for unlimited haircuts at $23 a month. “We really liked Netflix and stuff like that, so we were trying to think of different businesses that we thought the subscription model would apply to,” said co-owner Josh Thorsvik. “You have to have something that people want more of but they don’t necessarily want to pay a whole lot more to get.” With a subscription model, “they can come in and get a haircut or a trim whenever they want, as many times as they want.”


Tomorrow we’ll be talking to representatives from Adobe, Netflix, Intuit, Zillow, Belly, HomeAway, Motorola, GoodMouth, Lowe’s Smart Home, Gainsight and many others to hear some more big news.

See you at Subscribed!

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