How in-app monetization presents both a challenge and opportunity for publishers + more

By  Recuro
Apr 26th 2023
Read time: 
4 minutes
Table of contents
Weekly News Roundup
1. Swedish anti-churning platform bags 10 MSEK investment – Breakit

Churn is a problem many companies are struggling with currently. Startdeliver, a Swedish customer success platform, receives an investment of 10 MSEK from business angels to be a part of the solution.

“When you notice that you have problems with churn, you probably did something wrong twelve months ago. You can’t wait until churn is a problem because it’s a trailing metric. You have to be proactive, that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned.”

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2. Three Swedish publishers on their experience using single purchase articles – Dagens Media

The Swedish media outlets Breakit, Nyheter 24 and Kvartal have all been offering single purchase articles for some time. Dagens Media has asked the newspapers on what it has yielded so far.

“For Breakit, Nyheter 24 and Kvartal, single purchases account for only a small part of the total revenue. But the three media outlets all have different future plans on how unit buying will be prioritized in their offer going forward. Some see great development potential, while others have almost completely stopped using the payment option.”

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3. Readly grows ARPU and hopes to reach profitability this year – Breakit 

The Swedish magazine service, which is now controlled by Bonnier News, grew revenues and is approaching profitability, according to the report for the first quarter. Mats Brandt, the CEO, expects that Readly will be able to reach a positive EBITDA result “during an isolated quarter” sometime this year.

“The average revenue per user rose by 15 percent to SEK 112. The number of fully paying subscribers, slightly more than 450,000, remained at almost exactly the same level as at the end of the fourth quarter (but fell slightly if compared to the end of the first quarter of 2022).”

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4. More subscribers for Spotify, and bigger losses – The Verge

The company’s latest financial results show paid subscribers increasing to 210 million, a 15 percent increase year-over-year, after a quarter of cost-cutting. Meanwhile, net losses increased to €225 million, compared to a net income of €131 million in the same period a year earlier.

“Spotify is widely considered to have the most paid subscribers out of any music streaming service, although at this point it’s been years since competitors like Apple and Amazon officially released comparable figures […].”

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5. As demand returns, rental companies are reworking subscription models – Glossy

Over the last month, major fashion rental companies have instituted a number of new changes to keep up with the changing landscape, from altering membership plans to increasing prices, writes Glossy.

“Despite the storm clouds for much of the retail and fashion industry, demand for rental has been high. As of April 6, Rent the Runway had more than 140,000 subscribers, the most it’s ever had. The Black Tux, another rental company, has similarly grown to see revenues 35% higher than pre-pandemic levels.”

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Weekly Analysis Roundup

1. How in-app monetization presents both a challenge and opportunity for publishers – RevenueCat

Many publishers and media outlets have turned to digital subscription models over the past decade. This has turned out surprisingly well for many publishers, but presents a missed opportunity: In-app monetization. But those opportunities come with challenges to overcome, pertaining to margin and user data. In this article published by RevenueCat, Recuro’s Jonas Åström teases out the pros and cons of in-app monetization.

“Secondly, and perhaps more important in the long-run, publishers are used to having a direct channel to their readers. They want to own that relationship in full. Google and Apple will become an undesired middle-man, limiting the publisher’s relationship with their user.”

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2. How HBO and Netflix have evolved away from each other in the past decade – CNBC

Warner Bros. Discovery is attempting to wall off HBO from the broader Max streaming service, while Netflix is leaning into what it sees as its competitive advantage: broad breadth of audience and programming. The last two weeks have crystalized the divergence of HBO and Netflix.

“Meanwhile, Netflix seems distinctly focused on delivering content that has as wide of an audience as possible. This is far from becoming HBO, which was Netflix’s goal in and around 2013. At the time, Netflix was just beginning to dabble in original content, bidding against HBO for shows such as the Kevin Spacey-led drama “House of Cards.””

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3. Case: Hasbro, a legacy brand operating under a modern business mindset – Zuora

Hasbro, a toy manufacturer founded in 1923 and positioned at number 496 on the Fortune 500 List, is a surprisingly modern company, writes Zuora’s CEO Tien Tzuo. Among other things, he highlights Hasbro’s customer-centric approach, subscription offers, and adoption of SaaS principles.

”Hasbro’s motto is “Where Fans Come First” (customers, not products!), and a $50 dollar annual subscription to “Hasbro Pulse Premium” includes free shipping and all kinds of perks like early access to new toys, as well as exclusive content and member events. […] Clearly, this is not a company pushing units on shelves anymore.”

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4. The rebirth of Software as a Service – Harvard Business Review

In an article in Harvard Business Review, researchers Frank V. Cespedes and Jacco van der Kooij chronicle the rise of SaaS as the preferred business model for tech entrepreneurs and investors, noting among many other things that SaaS grew for both supply and demand-side reasons.

“Traditional sales models focus on customer acquisition and the “funnel” or “pipeline.” But this approach falls short when applied to a recurring revenue business, where the customer life cycle looks more like a bow tie, not a funnel.”

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