Nordic Subscription Economy: Week 51 -2021

By  Recuro
Dec 22nd 2021
Read time: 
4 minutes
Table of contents

Weekly news roundup

1. Swedish member-based Singular Society launches ski collection - Åka skidor

Member-based brand Singular Society has launched a retail service that offers access to various skiing products for SEK 79 a month. By keeping track of its number of members, Singular Society can offer skiing products in a sustainable way by not overproducing, the brand says.

“We don’t have to take into account the profit margin and can therefore keep prices down. Our challenge is to develop products that are good enough for the members.”

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2. Washington Post grasps for new direction as Trump-era boom fades - Wall Street Journal

While rival news outlet New York Times is seeing a large increase in the number of digital subscribers, Washington Post’s audience is down sharply and subscription growth has stagnated as readers look beyond politics, writes Wall Street Journal, referring to internal documents they have obtained.

“The outlet had 2.7 million digital subscribers as of October, according to the internal document, down from roughly three million in January.”

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3. Toyota's remote start key feature requires an $8 monthly subscription - Engadget

To the consternation of some owners, Toyota's remote start key functionality requires a paid $8 per month subscription service. It applies to models 2018 and later, with a free trial from 3-10 years.

“Complicating the situation is that most buyers received a free three-year or 10-year Remote Connect trial depending on whether they had the Audio Plus or Premium Audio trim options. So for at least the first three years of ownership, the remote key fob start method would have worked without a hitch — but it's now expiring for 2018 models.”

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4. Planet42 gets $30M for its car subscription service - Techcrunch

Planet42, a South Africa-based car subscription company, with Estonian roots, that buys used cars from dealerships and rents to customers via a subscription model, has raised $30 million in equity and debt. The company grew 25% month on month in 2021 and now plans to expand to Mexico.

“Our car subscription [model] is socially inclusive. For us, the differentiating factor is our customers would not have a car without us,” Oja said, adding that because the company is buying second-hand cars, the unit cost is lower compared to a subscription model that purchases new cars.”

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5. Pret a Manger told to rethink subscription ads after 5,000 complaints - The Guardian

Britain’s advertising watchdog has stepped in to referee a row over Pret a Manger’s drinks subscription service offering up to five barista-made drinks a day, amid claims it has generated thousands of customer complaints because some drinks are unavailable upon request.

“Every store in London never has smoothies or frappes available! But now I also find you never have whipped cream available! We use the Pret subscription and feel a little let down.”

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6. Startups El Camino and Regenerative Travel tap subscription model - Skift

Highlighting the momentum of the subscription travel megatrend, two more U.S.-based startups have recently announced subscription products. Unlike most others, these startups have focused on the potential of subscriptions to build communities of like-minded travelers.

“[El Camino] recently launched a $100 a year subscription product where the real benefit of membership is joining a community of like-minded women travelers exchanging honest advice. The community then helps the brand sell offline tours, an underexplored lever that the subscription travel model can impact.”

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Weekly analysis roundup

1. Audio subscriptions: A new reality for publishers - What’s New in Publishing

Paid podcast subscriptions add another layer of complexity to an already cluttered landscape. But with the platforms resolved to simplify the experience, the promise of subscriber revenue from audio is now very real, writes What’s New in Publishing.

“One potentially game-changing development comes from the New York Times, which announced in October that it was experimenting with an app called New York Times Audio. As well as hosting NYT podcast, read-aloud journalism and Audm-produced pieces, this will also feature audio journalism from a curated set of publishers [...]”

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2. 6 tips when going global with your subscription model - Subscribed

Going global with a subscription model is about more than just translating your content or enabling multiple currencies, writes Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of The Membership Economy, on, offering six tips ranging from keeping track of payment preferences to knowing the regulatory policy.

“The good news is that with subscriptions, once you identify the product market fit, and get the kinks out of your localized model, you can focus on engaging and retaining your members, rather than having to keep winning them back.”

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3. “No, a car subscription service is not like Spotify” - Jalopnik

There are fundamental differences between paying a monthly fee for Spotify or for extra cloud storage as compared to paying a fee for the ability to start your car, writes Elizabeth Blackstock at Jalopnik, reacting to the news that Toyota is adding a subscription fee to use its remote start feature.

“A new car is the second-most expensive purchase most folks will make in their life, after a house. Can you imagine if you rocked up to your brand-new house and realized you have to pay a fee to access the living room?”

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