🚀 IG's founders unveil their next act
Plus, why does every app have a subscription now?
📱 IG founders launch new app. Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom are back with a new product: Artifact, a personalized news feed driven by AI. It serves you news articles (and other text-based content, like blogs) based on your interests. Over time, your feed will adjust based on what you engage with, and there will be more social features to discuss with friends. The product today is in private beta, but early users have shared some screenshots and feedback.
💸 ChatGPT opens paid plans. OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT has started rolling out a premium plan—ChatGPT Plus—for $20 per month. The three main benefits are priority access to the product (no more “ChatGPT is at capacity” message), faster response times, and an early look at new features. It’s currently only available to U.S. users.
In other news, Microsoft launched a new premium tier of Teams (their Slack competitor) that includes GPT-powered features like intelligent meeting summaries, recommended tasks / next steps, and real-time translation.
📊 Earnings updates. Tech earnings season is in full swing! A recap of the week:
Apple saw its first YoY drop in quarterly revenue since 2019 - hardware sales were down, with a 30% decline in Mac revenue.
Alphabet also missed expectations for the quarter, largely due to a pullback in ad spend across YouTube and Google search.
Meta was a bright spot - the company’s stock climbed 20% after it beat revenue expectations (though still reported a YoY decline).
Big news for Twitter users - you can now make money from your viral threads. Twitter is going to start sharing revenue with creators from the ads that appear in replies to their threads (it’s worth noting that the creator must subscribe to Twitter Blue). It’s TBD exactly how this will work and how much money creators can expect to make.
We’re interested to see the results start to roll in, as well as the extent to which this changes the Twitter experience. Will we see a ton more threads? Are text-based content creators on other platforms going to try out Twitter, now that they can monetize? Will it eventually expand to any kind of viral tweet, not just threads?
what we’re following 👀
How TikTok has accelerated “dupe culture.”
An AI-powered, 24/7 Seinfeld parody show is a hit on Twitch!
What happens when doctors start charging for emails?
A look into Madhappy’s rise to Gen Z streetwear fame.
There’s a lot going on in the consumer subscription world right now! It seems like every company is either adding a subscription, raising prices, or tweaking their offering (we’re looking at you, Netflix 👀)
All of this news ultimately boils down to one thing - companies are trying to directly monetize their user base more effectively. A few core themes:
Social apps add subscriptions. Social apps have traditionally made money on ads, but this is changing. In the past week alone - Snapchat announced 2M users for Snapchat+, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators (as discussed above), and Instagram code revealed it may be testing a “pay for verification” feature.
Media companies enforce paywalls. Netflix is the most prominent example of this. This week, the company accidentally leaked details of a potential plan to crack down on password sharing, which would require users to log in on their home network every 30 days. Separately, Peacock announced that users will no longer be able to sign up for a free tier - it will all be premium.
“Super premium” starts to go mainstream. The average subscription app charges $60 / year, but more companies are starting to break the mold and offer higher price points with more features. One example? Tinder is reportedly testing a $500 / month subscription that could rival higher-end matchmakers.
This isn’t surprising to see in a more challenging macro climate, where companies are trying to get as many dollars as they can from each user (especially in the case of Netflix, where the “moocher to payer” ratio is likely astronomically high!). Another driver of this is the shifting ad market. As brands have cut back on ad spend, consumer platforms have had to look elsewhere for dollars.
This might seem like a sign of doom and gloom. However, we see opportunity for a focus on “up-leveled” subscriptions to make products we love even better. Twitter Blue is one example - the premium version has brought features that users have been asking for for years, including editing tweets and paying for verification.
As with the great unbundling of media, consumers may have to make some hard decisions around what they want to continue to use - and what they will be willing to pay for. We’re interested to see if this drives more consolidation among subscription apps over time, and what kind of products thrive in a subscription-first age!
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Truffles, a two-year-old English goldendoodle who lives between DC and Florida.
He enjoys hikes in national parks, eating his mom’s homemade treats, and going kayaking.
Follow him on Instagram @its.truffles!
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