Subscription Economy News: Week of 12/9/2019

By Sinead Haley December 12, 2019

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

Tesla starts charging $10 a month for its ‘premium connectivity’ features

Excerpts from an article by Fred Lambert on Electrek

Tesla is now starting to offer its previously announced ‘premium connectivity’ features for a new $9.99 a month subscription plan. Instead of charging people for having an internet connection in the first place, Tesla is including one for free, but it is making owners pay to use more data-intensive features on the internet connection.

When Tesla first launched Model S in 2012, some owners were quite perplexed about the fact that the internet service came with the cars at no cost and there was no clear indication of when it was going to change, if at all. In 2014, Tesla clarified that the internet connection would be for four years, but the deadline came, and Tesla kept offering connectivity for free. However, over a year after the announcement, Tesla had yet to start charging anyone for the premium connectivity… until now.

Virtually all cars, except for the base versions of the Model 3, sold before July 2018 have the premium connectivity features included for free for the lifetime of the car. Everyone else will eventually have to pay.

For more, read the full article on Electrek

Netflix tests cheaper, yearly subscription plan in India

Excerpts from an article by Sachin Ravikumar on Reuters

Netflix Inc is testing longer subscription plans in India as it looks to attract more users in a highly competitive market where smartphone and internet usage is soaring. New users of Netflix in India may have the option to choose from either a three-month plan at a 20% discount to original prices, a six-month plan at a 30% discount, or a 12-month plan at a 50% discount. Including their mobile-only monthly plan, the company currently offers four plans in India, with its premium plan costing 799 rupees per month.

Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said the company’s first animated series from India, “Mighty Little Bheem”, had been watched by 27 million households worldwide, in a sign of the country’s importance to Netflix’s plans for global expansion. Netflix has nearly 160 million paying users worldwide, but has not disclosed subscriber figures for India.

For more, read the full article on Reuters. And learn how Zuora is helping streaming companies succeed with a subscription business model.  

Raylo secures £2.9 m seed funding

Excerpts from an article by Alara Basul on UKTN

Following a successful launch earlier this year, Raylo is on a mission to shake up the mobile sector by giving customers an alternative to expensive bundled handset contracts. The British start-up has announced that it has secured a new round of investment in seed funding that will propel its growth in the UK market.

Global concerns about the environmental impact of modern consumption have given rise to the subscription economy across products like cars, movies, and music. The scale and timing of the new funding round signals a seismic shift in the way that consumers consider mobile phone ownership and attempt to address an estimated 45 million tonnes of annual e-waste.

Guy Johnson, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, said: “We’re approaching a new era in the way that people think about technology and the old distribution model is reaching the end of its shelf-life.”

“We created Raylo to give consumers the freedom and savings that come with a SIM-only network contract, combined with a simple, low monthly subscription for a SIM-free handset,” added Karl Gilbert, CEO of Raylo.

For more, read the full article on UKTN.

Alphabet-backed Duolingo becomes first VC-funded Pittsburg tech start-up

Excerpts from an article by Jacob Douglas on CNBC

Language-learning app Duolingo has opened up new opportunities for smartphone users. Now with a new round of funding from Google parent Alphabet, the fast-growing language-learning platform is looking to expand its technology into machine learning and artificial intelligence, increase marketing spend, pursue new business initiatives, and double its employee base.

Duolingo has added to the growth from its core language-learning app with new products, including podcasts for Spanish and French learners, and Duolingo Events, which connect language learners in person around the world. Chief among new additions is Duolingo Plus, a subscription-based option for the app that removes ads and provides additional features.

“Duolingo has been adding user and revenue at an impressive pace, continuing to solidify their position as the No. 1 way to learn a language globally,” said Laela Sturdy, general partner at one of Duolingo’s existing investors, CapitalG. “Sticking to their mission of providing free education is not only good for the world but also good for business.”

For more, read the full article on CNBC

And for more Subscription Economy resources and events, head to www.subscribed.com