Subscription Economy News – Week of 8/5/2019

By Stephanie Li August 8, 2019

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

CVS subscription program goes big to outdo Amazon Prime
Excerpts from an article by George Anderson in RetailWire

CVS is going national with its CarePass subscription program, which offers free delivery on prescription medicines, over-the-counter remedies and other products sold by the chain with no minimum order, for an annual fee of $48 or $5 a month.

The program was successfully tested in the Boston, Philadelphia and Tampa markets before the decision was made to roll it out across the country.

Results from the pilot, shared by CVS, show that CarePass appeals to consumers across a wide swath of demographic classifications. Twenty percent of those who became CarePass members in the test phase were Millennials. The chain found that those in the program spend 15 to 20 percent more than before they were members.

When the drugstore chain launched the pilot for CarePass last fall, it was widely seen as CVS’ answer to Amazon.com’s PillPack acquisition and a way for it to take back lost sales from the front of the pharmacy.

Program members will also receive a monthly $10 promotional reward that can be used in the chain’s stores or on cvs.com. Rewards are automatically added to a member’s ExtraCare card at the beginning of each month. Customer support is also an important element of the program, with CarePass members having 24/7 phone access to speak live with a pharmacist who has access to the prescription histories of those enrolled in the program.

Read the full article in RetailWire

Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ 
Excerpts from an article by Julia Alexander in The Verge. 

Disney will offer a bundle package of its three streaming services — Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ — for $12.99 a month starting on November 12th.

At $12.99, the bundle is cheaper than or on par with competitive streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It’s also significantly cheaper than HBO Max’s rumored streaming price of $16 or $17 a month. Hulu is currently available for $5.99 a month (with ads), and ESPN+ costs $4.99 a month.

Disney’s goal heading into the direct-to-consumer space is ultimately to provide a ton of content in three distinct areas: general entertainment, family, and sports. The bundle is a way for Disney to offer consumers, many of whom are about to be inundated with multiple streaming services to choose from in the coming months, on top of free online entertainment (YouTube, Twitch), a low-priced option.

Read the full article in The Verge. 

Bloomberg launches Bloomberg TV+
Excerpts from an article by Chris Roush in TalkingBizNews. 

Bloomberg has launched Bloomberg TV+, a premium streaming video experience that combines Bloomberg data and programming.

Bloomberg TV+ will be available in high definition and 4K ultra high definition (UHD). Bloomberg.com subscribers can see low-latency streaming news delivery on desktop, tablet and mobile web, with plans to expand into more ultra-high-definition availability across IP streaming services in the coming months.

Bloomberg TV+ includes a redesigned context-driven graphics display. The new data-display screen integrates dynamic charts, graphs, and infographics with contextualized data, as well as the latest relevant Bloomberg News headlines.

Read the full article in TalkingBizNews. 

Exclusive: Equinox adds in-home equipment and streaming classes to compete with Peloton
Excerpts from an article by Rina Raphael in Fast Company.  

On Wednesday, Equinox Group announced its entry into on-demand fitness streaming. The new digital venture will include two separate pieces of hardware and personalized content representing its portfolio of brands, including SoulCycle, Equinox, and Precision Run.

Slated for launch this fall, the platform will pair with a new stationary bike identical to the one found in SoulCycle studios—with the addition of an attached screen. Equinox will also sell its proprietary Woodway treadmill, which can already be found at Precision Run studios.

The new digital venture (which has not yet been named) will include all the brands’ signature workouts—led by top instructors—in one network. It is not meant to replace the live studio experience, rather to serve as an addition for dedicated members who want an at-home offering.

The new digital venture puts Equinox in direct competition with Peloton, which also boasts both treadmill and stationary bikes along with a broad range of fitness content.

The Subscription Model Comes to Luxury Travel 
Excerpts from an article by Claire Ballentine in Bloomberg. 

What does luxury travel now have in common with grocery shopping, music streaming, and shaving?

The subscription model.

In mid-July, Denver-based travel club Inspirato launched its Inspirato Pass, which allows customers to book unlimited stays in luxury vacation homes, as well as legacy five-star hotel brands such as Ritz Carlton, starting at $2,500 a month with no other nightly rates or fees.

The subscription e-commerce market has exploded in the past decade, generating more than $2.6 billion in sales in 2016, according to a 2018 report by McKinsey & Co. About 15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more monthly subscriptions.

The Inspirato Pass marks the first time the upscale leisure travel industry has tried out the model. Inspirato founder and Chief Executive Officer Brent Handler came up with the idea as a way to solve a common luxury travel problem—unbooked inventory, especially in the high season. He saw this phenomenon plenty in the normal business of his company, which uses long-term leases to manage $1 billion in homes and hotel rooms. Inspirato’s goal is to create a complete and comfortable vacation experience for families or groups of friends, usually in houses.

Read the full article in Bloomberg. 

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