Subscription startup Scribd raises $58 million

Subscription startup Scribd raises $58 million We kick off this week’s subscription roundup by focusing on Scribd which has raised $58 million for its subscription e-books and audiobooks. Monetising audio content has really taken off with podcasts and music streaming, and Scribd seems to be taking a step in the right direction. We then move to tech giant Google which has made its Play Pass subscription service more attractive by adding 37 new apps. Meanwhile, Facebook is making interesting moves in the Virtual Reality (VR) space by acquiring Beat Games. Next, we look at Dubai-based car subscription startup Invygo which has raised $1 million in a seed round. And finally, we explore an interesting story on how subscription publishers are leveraging original content to attract more paying readers.

Scribd raises $58 million in new funding

Scribd has raised $58 million to expand its subscription audiobook and e-book services. The company which started off as a document-sharing service in 2007 has found tremendous success after pivoting to an e-book subscription service model in 2013. It now offers e-books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines for $8.99 per month. The company claims that it has more than 1 million paying subscribers.

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Google adds 37 more apps to Play Pass

Google has added 37 more apps to its Play Pass subscription service. Play Pass launched in September with a catalogue of more than 350 titles including games, health, fitness and photography apps. Faced with competition from the recently launched Apple Arcade, Google has now made Play Pass even more attractive for subscribers with new apps in the mix. In addition, Google has also added Tomb Raider and Farming Simulator 19 to the Stadia Pro subscription to sweeten the deal for subscribers.

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Facebook acquires VR game studio Beat Games

VR games might not have taken off yet, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from taking another step in that direction. The company has acquired game studio Beat Games, which created the popular VR title Beat Saber, for its Oculus platform. Oculus has been looking to monetise the VR market with subscriptions. Facebook has made some interesting moves this year such as the launch of the controversial cryptocurrency Libra.

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Invygo raises $1 million for its car subscription service

Dubai-based Invygo has become the latest company to jump into the increasingly crowded car subscription market by raising $1 million in a seed round. The company allows users in the UAE to get a car of their choice through subscriptions on their mobile app. The cars are dealership verified and come with full insurance. Invygo also takes care of the routine maintenance of these cars. The startup plans to expand to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other GCC markets.

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Subscription publishers using original shows for subscriber acquisition and retention

Subscription publishers are taking a leaf out of the SVOD playbook and utilising original shows for subscriber acquisition and retention. Companies such as The New York Times, Architectural Digest and Barstool Sports are using original shows they produce to offer more value to subscribers. It is an interesting idea but one that may be difficult to pull off considering the production costs and distribution challenges. We will keep a watch on this space!

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Related Reading: Top Five Challenges for Subscription Publishers
 
Also read: Amazon could enter cloud gaming in 2020

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