subscription transition

MoviePass is planning to relaunch an unlimited movie plan

MoviePass is planning to relaunch an unlimited movie plan

Excerpts from the article by AJ Dellinger on Engaget

MoviePass is once again making changes to its membership plans. The company that has been locked in a cycle of never-ending, often self-inflicted turmoil is reportedly getting ready to re-introduce a version of its unlimited movie plan, according to Variety. The membership level will do away with any limits on how many movies a person can see in a month, but no price for the unlimited plan has been announced. Khalid Itum, the executive vice president of MoviePass, said the plan would arrive next week, so we won't have to wait long for more details.

MoviePass first launched with an unlimited plan that allowed people to see as many movies as they wanted for just $10 per month. That model turned out to be about as unsustainable as it seemed and the company quickly started making changes once it started running out of cash. First, the company prevented its subscribers from seeing the same movie more than once, then it upped the monthly fee by $5. It later capped its previously unlimited plan at just three movies per month and limited the available movies to a curated selection of films. The company secured additional funding in recent months and has attempted to distance itself from its troubled parent company, but still seems like a total mess of a business.

Earlier this month, MoviePass introduced its new pricing scheme that has variable pricing depending on where you're located in the country. Plans start at $10 per month for three movies, but the cheapest plan only allows subscribers to see select films. A $15 per month plan lets moviegoers see any 2D movie but is still restricted to three movies per month. The priciest plan starts at $20 and includes IMAX and 3D films, but also carries the three movie per month cap.

Read the full article on Engaget

Condé Nast Will Put Every Single Publication Behind a Paywall By Year’s End

Condé Nast Will Put Every Single Publication Behind a Paywall By Year’s End

Excerpts from an article by Laura Stampler in Fortune

Readers used to freely consuming online articles on Condé Nast publications—from Glamour to GQ, Bon Appétit to Architectural Digest—will have to start paying up by the end of 2019.

The magazine publisher announced Wednesday that it will put all of its U.S. titles behind digital paywalls.

Pamela Drucker Mann, Condé Nast’s chief revenue and marketing officer, told The Wall Street Journal, that she advocated for the move towards metered paywalls, and that she doesn’t expect any impacted titles to lose its digital audience. “When you put a price tag on something, that must mean you have confidence in the product,” said Drucker Mann to the Journal, which was the first to report the move.

Condé Nast already has titles including The New Yorker, Wired, and Vanity Fair behind their own metered paywalls that don’t allow readers to access more than four articles a month unless they subscribe to the publication.

Read the full article in Fortune

Disney unveils the name of its Netflix competitor

Disney unveils the name of its Netflix competitor, plus new Marvel and Star Wars shows

Excerpts from the article by Matt Binder on Mashable

Disney’s Netflix competitor finally has a name.

The long-awaited Disney video-streaming service will be known simply as Disney+. Company CEO Bob Iger unveiled the name during a Thursday earnings call. Iger also announced that the service will launch in the U.S. in late 2019.

Disney has been planning its video-streaming service since at least 2017 when the company said it was going to end its multi-year contract with Netflix and pull all of its content off the service. The reason for doing so was simple. Disney wants to move all of its properties — including Disney classics, Pixar movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars films — to its very own streaming platform.

In a press release following the Disney+ announcement, the company also released more information about some of the new content planned for the service.

Diego Luna will reprise his Star Wars role as Cassian Andor in a spinoff series that takes place before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This will be the second Star Wars TV series on the Disney+ service following the announcement of Jon Favrou’s The Mandalorian series last month.

As for the Marvel, Disney confirmed a Loki series that was rumored last month. Tom Hiddleston will be returning to the MCU to play Loki on the Disney+ show. However, there’s no word yet on a Scarlet Witch series that was also previously discussed.

Other Disney properties mentioned in the press release that will receive new stories in the form of movies or TV shows include Disney Channel’s High School Musical and Pixar’s Monsters Inc.

We don’t yet know how much the Disney+ streaming service will cost, but you can now go to Disney+’s official website to sign up for future updates.

Ford buys electric scooter startup Spin

Ford buys electric scooter startup Spin

Excerpts from the article by Megan Rose Dickey on TechCrunch

Ford is buying electric scooter startup Spin, Axios reports. The deal, according to a source close to the matter, “the total consideration in the deal was close to $100m.” Axios had previously reported the price tag was around $40 million.

Spin currently operates its scooters in Coral Gables, Fla., Washington, D.C., Charlotte, N.C., Durham, N.C., Lexington, Ky., Denver, Colo., Detroit, Mich. and Long Beach, Calif. In addition to operating throughout specific cities, Spin is live on five college campuses.

Spin was one of the three companies that initially deployed its scooters in San Francisco back in March. Along with Bird and Lime, Spin was forced to remove its electric scooters from the city until the city determined a permitting process. Since failing to receive a permit to operate, Spin has been one of the more quiet scooter startups in the industry. Though, next week, Spin is meeting with the city of San Francisco to appeal the denial of its permit to operate electric scooters in the city.

As of June, Spin had a contract with electric scooter manufacturer Ninebot, owned by Segway, to purchase 30,000 scooters a month through the end of this year, according to a source. It’s not completely clear why Ford feels the need to acquire Spin — let alone any electric scooter company — instead of just forming partnerships with scooter manufacturers to launch its own service.

That same month, Spin was in the process of finalizing a $125 million security token. The idea with Spin’s security token offering is to raise money from accredited investors, who will then be entitled to a portion of the revenue from Spin’s electric scooter operations, according to a source close to Spin. With STOs, investors can buy tokens that are linked to real-world financial instruments. In the case of Spin’s offering, the tokens are linked to its revenue. Spin had previously raised $8 million in traditional venture funding.

In recent years, Ford has also purchased commuter shuttle service Chariot, as well as Autonomic and TransLoc.

In February, Spin officially entered the electric scooter space after first deploying stationless bikes in South San Francisco and Seattle. Spin had previously only operated a bike-share platform. Last August, Spin brought its stationless bike-share program to South San Francisco after launching in Seattle earlier that year. Then, in January, Spin unveiled its stationless electric bike. However, Spin is now solely focused on electric scooters, according to a source close to Spin.

Over the last year or so, shared electric scooter services have gone from being non-existent to almost everywhere, operated by nearly everyone you would and would not expect. That includes Bird, the Santa Monica-based scooter startup worth north of $2 billion, Lime, another electric scooter unicorn that recently formed a partnership with Uber, Uber’s JUMP, Boosted Board co-founder Sanjay Dastoor’s new startup Skip, Lyft and so many others.

Toyota to launch 'subscription' car service in January

Toyota to launch 'subscription' car service in January

Excerpts from the article by Nikkei Staff

Toyota Motor will next year launch a service that will allow customers to try various car models for a fixed monthly fee in Japan. The new offering is part of the company's efforts to explore new business opportunities that do not depend on new car sales alone.

Toyota will become the first Japanese automaker to launch such a "subscription" service, envisioning cases where customers could, for example, use its Lexus sedan for a certain period of time and then switch to an SUV.

The company will consider introducing the scheme overseas as well, including in Asia.

Toyota plans to launch the service at its affiliated dealerships in Tokyo as early as January, and then expand it to other regions. The automaker will build a system for the new service so that it can make use of dealerships' cars. The move is also aimed at providing its customers with an opportunity to try various car models and increase options for future purchases.

BMW of Germany already offers a subscription type of car service in the U.S. state of Tennessee, with monthly fees starting at around $1,100 for new cars. In Japan, a major used-car dealer has partnered with BMW and begun subscriptions for new Mini brand cars in October. Monthly charges start at around 80,000 yen ($709).

Toyota has not finalized details of the new service yet, including available car models and monthly charges. But it will likely be similar to existing services provided by its competitors.

Drivers, for their part, will have to pay more, in terms of monthly basis, than they would by owning a single car, but they will be free from paying insurance and maintenance costs.

Toyota will provide the car-sharing management system to its 5,000 or so dealerships across Japan. Customers will be able to complete booking and payment on their smartphones.

The automaker will utilize its pool of about 40,000 test-driving cars for the service. Demand for such test cars is generally low during daytime on weekdays, and idle cars could be allocated to users who need a car for short rides.

According to the Tokyo-based Foundation for Promoting Personal Mobility and Ecological Transportation, the number of car-sharing memberships in Japan has increased 4.5 times over the five years through March to 1.3 million. On the other hand, the domestic new-car market in 2017 totaled 5.2 million cars, about 30% down from its peak in 1990.