Subscription Economy News – Week of 12/31/18

Every week, we bring you the top stories and analyses from the global Subscription Economy.

Roku Channel adds subscriptions for Showtime, Starz, and other premium networks
Excerpts from an article by Chris Welch in The Verge
The Roku Channel, which offers free-to-watch, ad-supported movies, TV shows, and live news, is introducing premium subscriptions. Users will soon be able to get networks including Showtime, Starz, and Epix, and pay for everything on one bill — similar to Amazon Prime Video and its add-on channels. The Roku Channel isn’t strictly limited to Roku hardware: it’s available on an expanding list of devices and is a huge focus for the company.

Roku says that adding subscriptions is a one-click affair from any subscription channel page, and all participating partners will offer free trials of at least one week. The company plans to enhance search on The Roku Channel to make content from your premium channels quicker to find

Read the full article on The Verge

Uber partner Fair gets $385M led by Softbank to grow its flexible car ownership model globally
Excerpts from an article by in TechCrunch

California startup is aiming to turn the car market on its head by providing price-friendly, easy options for people to lease vehicles instead of buying them, and today it’s taking the latest, big step in that ambition.

Fair has raised a huge Series B funding round of $385 million led by Softbank, with participation from Exponential Ventures, Munich Re Venture’s ERGO Fund, G Squared, and CreditEase, to take its business global. Requiring just a drivers license and a credit card (or bank details), Fair provides flexible leasing plans both to everyday users, and to people who use cars for work purposes. In the last year, it has worked closely with Uber, which sold Fair its $400 million leasing business earlier this year, to equip its drivers with vehicles, and that will be a pattern it hopes to repeat with other ride-sharing providers in other markets.

“The plan is to scale the business ten-fold,” CEO and co-founder Scott Painter said in an interview. Fair is already in 15 states (26 markets) in the US and is adding a new city every week, he continued, leasing cars to more than 20,000 users to date. “Growth has been dramatic over the last year.”

Read the full article in TechCrunch

Sports Tickets Will Join The Subscription Economy In 2019
Excerpts from an article by Kirk Wakefield in Forbes

Inventory is sister to innovation in ticket pricing and practices.

The number of games and the importance of ticket revenue to the NBA, MLB and NHL lead their teams to be the most innovative in ticketing practices, along with perhaps the most innovative among the up-and-coming MLS, which has surpassed the NBA and NHL in average game attendance.

Innovators in ticketing strategy are watching and adapting to five trends including this big one: Tickets will join the Subscription Economy.

Subscriptions and memberships have grown in sports & entertainment. Memberships replace season tickets and subscriptions replace general admission ticket sales.

a) Subscriptions save time and reduce store trips. Having a subscription to club suites at the San Francisco Giants or a pass (Ballpark Pass, Treehouse Pass or A’s Access) at the Oakland A’s allows flexibility to go anytime–either all-season or for a set number of games–whenever the mood strikes. Convenience is a key selling point, but more importantly…

b) Subscriptions reduce psychic costs. Personal income or cost-related factors are rarely the true objection to purchase; the biggest hurdle is the mental and emotional effort required in the decision to attend. If the fan doesn’t have to reconsider each time (for individual tickets) when to go, where to sit, how much, who’s playing, and what the weather’s going to be like, the decision to go is much easier. The marketer’s biggest challenge is breaking old and creating new habits.

c) Subscriptions offer variety with a personalized touch. According to McKinsey, 55 percent of monthly subscriptions are curation-based, meaning people get a “continued series of personalized, high-quality experiences.” People–particularly young people–want surprise and variety. Ticket subscriptions which offer different seats and random upgrade seat, service and experience options provide a variety of experiences and delight. Subscriptions are the anti-boredom solution.

Read the full article in Forbes

Amazon’s Biggest Bull Says It Should Disrupt Gas Stations
Excerpts from an article by Ryan Vlastelica on Bloomberg Inc. is a dominant player in industries as diverse as cloud computing, streaming media, and of course e-commerce, but the next business it should set its sights on is decidedly more old fashioned: gas stations.

That view comes courtesy of DA Davidson, which wrote that the company could benefit from expanding its portfolio of physical stores — which already includes “pop-up” stores and the Whole Foods grocery chain — as “another means for it to advance its delivery efforts.”

Adding gas stations would “provide the company thousands of commercial locations to advance its delivery efforts,” analyst Tom Forte wrote to clients. He suggested that such outposts could be used for Amazon Locker — the company’s centralized package pick-up locations — or to utilize Amazon Go, its cashier-free checkout technology. In addition, selling gas would provide another revenue source; Forte noted that Costco Wholesale derived 10 percent of its revenue from gasoline sales.
Read the full article on Bloomberg

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