Netflix, as you may have heard, is great. A digital economy of scale allows us to pay a ridiculously low price for an ocean of streaming video that we could never hope to watch in all the years we might live, and in return we typically get frustrated by moderate price increases and the recent removal of 24. We keep our subscription through thick and thin, largely because it would be a slight inconvenience to cancel it. Other companies have caught on, and all the big players are trying their hands at movies, TV, music, video games and more. We in the media tend to call this modern incarnation of an old idea “The Netflix of blank.”
It doesn’t stop with entertainment. There are subscriptions for beauty products, clothes, groceries, contraception, razors, and pretty much everything else you could imagine. Even neo-taxis, like Uber and Lyft (which still require you to make a purchasing decision every time you use them) function mainly by banking on the idea that they can become a sort of transportation default, thus avoiding that pesky moment where people check to see if they’re really getting a deal or not. None of this is new (magazine subscriptions, cheese of the month clubs, Costco, etc.), but both digital distribution and the logistical streamlining of the 21st century are supercharging it.
The Future of the Ebook
Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.
The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.
Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Oyster is on a roll lately. They’ve been signing up new publishers, launching new apps, getting good reviews — they’ve even gotten people to rightfully start calling them the “Netflix for Books.”
To add to all of that, as of this morning Oyster is launching their desktop app, making their books available wherever there’s a working browser tab. Though Read More
Apples and Androids
We don’t care if you’re a professional puppy walker or the Kardashians’ private pilates instructor; there’s no way your job, however amazing it may be, beats the one for which Netflix is currently hiring.
The online streaming giant is on the hunt for someone in the UK or Ireland to join their team of professional taggers, Time reports. In laymen’s terms, taggers are responsible for sitting at home and binge-watching a butt load of Netflix, and then categorizing the stuff they watch with specific tags. Those tags, coupled with Netflix’s super secret algorithms, help Netflix give its users more specific recommendations.
Art Meets Tech
In the war between iOS and Android, there are a few things we know: iPhone users are big spenders, live in more affluent neighborhoods and are vastly outnumbered by their Android counterparts. But now, we also intimate knowledge of their reading habits, which shows us more about their personalities than anything we’ve seen so far.
Oyster, the Netflix for books, released a study of their readers this morning, comparing the reading habits of iOS users with the Android users that have signed up since their recent Android release and redesign. Oyster told Betabeat that they pulled from their entire user database for the study.
Digitizing books and information has big benefits, like worldwide access to data and learning tools, the democratization of publishing and saving some trees along the way. There also seem to be no shortage of projects that want to reverse that trend.
Jesse England, an artist whose work is critical of trends in digital media, Read More
The Future of the Ebook
Another week, another stride for Netflix.
Netflix announced that Chelsea Handler will “revolutionize the talk show” as host of the site’s first original talk program, according to this morning’s press release.
The time in between episode releases and the overall format of the show is unknown, but it is certain that the show Read More
Oyster is fast on its way to claiming the grandiose title of “The Netflix of Books,” contrary to what the haters said. Today, Oyster is moving into the next phase of its plan for subscription book service domination, announcing that the app will finally be available to Android users.
Opening up Oyster to Read More
The overwhelming success of shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black has proven that Netflix knows how to bring quality original content to online streaming.
Their next endeavor in original programming — a reimagined and computer-animated The Magic School Bus — is sure to be quite the Read More
Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.
This week’s deal: Oyster, the Netflix for books, signed a deal with Simon & Schuster that will give Oyster subscribers access to Simon & Schuster’s entire backlist.
Oyster, a service that charges $10 a month for all-you-can-read access to a library of half a million books, just added heavyweight Simon & Schuster to their list of publishers. That makes two of the Big Five companies that dominate the publishing game, and if Oyster can sign on the remaining three publishers, they could take their place among companies like Spotify and Netflix as one of the great subscription titans of the decade.