Subscription Economy News: 11/4/2019

November 8, 2019

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

How Esquire is trying a ‘micro-membership’ around Charles Price

Excerpts from an article by Kayleigh Barber on Digiday

Subscription models come in all flavors — hard paywalls, meters, memberships and even “micro-memberships.”

That’s the route being tested by Hearst’s Esquire, which has built a $17.99 annual membership program around politics writer Charles Pierce, who has written for the magazine since 1997. The annual subscription grants access to all of Pierce’s stories — on average he files three to five pieces per day — a weekly newsletter written by Pierce that provides a historical deep dive into a piece of news and, of course, a tote bag.

“There was an obscene amount of people, like 60,000 per day, that were visiting his stories,” said Michael Sebastian, editor-in-chief of Esquire. “It got us thinking that we should build the membership program around Charlie.” Since launching the micro-membership model in November 2018, the site has garnered over 10,000 subscribers, and Sebastian expects that the election year will drive up that number even higher.

For more, read the full article on Digiday. And learn how Zuora is helping publishers such as The Guardian  and The Financial Times thrive in the Subscription Economy.

The ski industry is going through a tech transformation

Excerpts from an article by Ethan Wolff-Mann on Yahoo Finance

The ski business, like so many other industries, has been transformed over the past two years by subscriptions. The model has changed dramatically thanks to two ski passes: the Ikon Pass from the Alterra Mountain Group and the Epic Pass from Vail Resorts.

Today, instead of buying a single-mountain’s pass, many skiers opt to spend $1,099 on an Ikon Pass or $989 for an Epic Pass that provide a buffet of dozens of resorts to choose from. The subscription passes have attracted tons of skiers based on their value. “That’s the big change,” says Rusty Gregory, Alterra’s CEO. “Now passes break even within four to six days. If you’re going to ski a few days, that’s a great value proposition.” Today, 40% of skiers have passes, whereas traditionally, the number was 30%, and the vast majority of Ikon Pass holders break even, Gregory says.

The companies track usage copiously, thanks to the RFID features in passes, and communicate the data to the individual mountains, helping them to tailor their offerings and to figure out what to improve and what to invest in.

For more, read the full article on Yahoo Finance.

For Peloton to succeed, it needs to turn loyalty into cash

Excerpts from an article by Matthew De Silva in Quartz

The first earnings report as a public company for Peloton, the internet-connected bike and treadmill exercise firm, was a rocky one. The company’s subscriber base is growing, and it generated $228 million in revenue for the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to swing it into the black: Peloton reported a net loss of almost $50 million. That bottom line, however, represented a $4.8 million improvement over the same period last year.

Peloton, which encourages bike and treadmill owners to sign up for its online classes and services to use their hardware, said approximately 90% of connected fitness subscribers are on monthly payment plans, with subscription revenue accounting for 29% of its total revenue. Sales of its bikes and treadmills, and the various accessories for both, accounted for 69% of total revenue.

For more, read the full article on Quartz. And check out Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo’s thoughts on The Future of Fitness. 

LiP SMACKER® Announces Launch of the BFF (Best Flavor Forever) Subscription

Excerpts from a press release

LiP SMACKER has been teasing followers on Instagram about the highly anticipated release of the BFF (Best Flavor Forever) Subscription, a quarterly subscription program featuring the latest and most curated LiP SMACKER Collection, exclusive product, and the introduction of Mystery Flavored lip balm with an interactive twist that flavor enthusiasts will love. Each quarterly subscription debuts a new mystery flavored lip balm, and a chance to guess the mystery flavor with personalized clues on

As a further incentive for LiP SMACKER’s most loyal fans, each quarterly subscription includes an exclusive item that is only available in the BFF subscription before placement with any retail outlet. Exclusive items will include a wide array of beauty products. “As the brand evolves, we want to provide our fans with the latest trends that are on-brand with LiP SMACKER.”

Read the full press release on PRNewswire

HSBC UK introduces monthly subscription insurance

Excerpts from an article by Stefan Mohamed on ITIJ

HSBC bank in the UK has launched a new flexible insurance product, ‘Select and Cover’, with seven switchable coverage options. Select and Cover allows HSBC’s customers to choose from travel, mobile phone, gadget, home emergency, life, excess protection and motor breakdown insurance – a minimum of three must be selected – beginning at £19.50 per month.

The new proposition was designed in response to increasing public hunger for agile, personalized insurance cover, with HSBC research finding that customers named ‘convenience’ and ‘flexibility’ as their top priorities when purchasing insurance. Subscription services were also found to be notably more popular than fixed contracts.

Mark Hussein, CEO of HSBC Insurance UK, said that the subscription model reflected HSBC’s desire to provide customers with innovative new ways to experience its services. “Select and Cover complements our existing products by broadening our range, enhancing the speed and convenience of the application process, making insurance more appealing and accessible to customers,” he said.

For more, read the full article on ITIJ

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