The Feature-ization of, well, everything
Car owners, remember when buying a new vehicle (or pre-owned, let’s be honest) meant having full access to the features in it? You paid for a sunroof, you used your sunroof. You bought the car with bluetooth, then you used that bluetooth to blast Third Eye Blind’s greatest hits right out of the car lot. Pretty straight forward. Well, if the auto industry has its way, those days might be numbered.
BMW is the latest to dabble in the “feature gating” model of business that software companies have been capitalizing on for years. In several countries, BMW owners can now “choose” to pay a subscription to access certain high end features like heated seats, which run for a whopping $18 a month. A lucrative pricing strategy, but pretty annoying for customers, if you ask me. I can’t be the only one rolling my eyes here.
But I should have seen it coming. For years, Volvo owners have been able to subscribe to a bundle that covers maintenance, rental fees, and other practical services. And if you’re the fancy type, Porsche will grant you access to a special selection of vehicles for only $2K a month.
Like it or not, feature gating is here to stay, at least for a while. Whether it’s the micro transactional world of video games like Fortnite, or the airline industry’s menu of “extras” that used to be included in the price of your ticket, don’t count on getting everything you (think) you’ve paid for.
At the end of the day, chopping up products and services helps meet the growing demand for highly customizable experiences. But those experiences do start adding up quickly. Just ask anyone who ditched cable to save money and is now paying 6 streaming subscriptions. Guilty.
For better or worse, consumers need to be ready to wave bye bye to combos and hello to the a’ la’ carte economy.
Prime Video gets a glow up
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Prime Video is getting a much needed facelift. After years of being roasted in the streaming world for its clunky interface and blah design, the industry giant is pivoting to icon-driven navigation and a dedicated sports tab.
Promising a “dynamic and immersive experience”, Prime Video’s cinematic styling and new vertical menu are huge improvements to the user experience. Viewers can subscribe to specific channels, jump to live sports, or easily pick up where they left off with the dedicated “continue watching” row. Shows accessible to all Prime members are marked with a blue check, while options to rent or buy are stamped with a shopping bag icon for easier browsing.
Putting sports fans front and center is a move that looks especially promising for Amazon. The firm acquired exclusive rights to “NFL Thursday Night” games last year and will begin to air them this fall. They’re also eyeing to grab rights to UEFA Champions League soccer matches in the U.S. and U.K., with the final alone attracting 380-400 million viewers on average.
Pairing a subscription delivery service with a streaming platform certainly has its perks. If Prime Video’s overhaul creates a new haven for sports fans and an appealing one-stop shop for rentals, I think it’s safe to say that struggling competitors like Netflix will continue to take the hits on subscribers.
The full roll-out of the glow-up is expected to launch in the coming weeks. That’s plenty of time to start gearing up for your next Cowboys watch party.
June’s inflation report is a doozy.
We’re all feeling the pain of another month of sky high prices for everything from gas and groceries to airfare and rent. And it looks like there’s no rest for the weary anytime soon.
The June report shows that U.S. inflation soared to a four-decade high, with the consumer price index rising 9.1% over the last year and 1.5% since May. The food index is up 10.4% from last year, gas spiked 11.2% last month and rent is 0.8% higher than it was in May. Yikes.
Broad increases for these essentials are especially concerning considering they take up a large portion of Americans monthly budgets. And the savings people squirreled away during the pandemic is depleting at an alarming rate just to cover the basics.
In the meantime, the pressure is on the Federal Reserve, who has been steadily raising interest rates in an effort to slow the economy by driving down demand. But from what I gather, finding that magic number between stabilizing the economy or triggering a recession is tricky to say the least.
For now I’m focusing on one tiny glimmer of hope: even with rising inflation, Costo has no plans to raise the price of its famous hot dog and soda combo, which has been $1.50 since 1985. Ok guys, lunch is on me.
Best of the Week
When it comes to solving problems (in marketing and life), knowing you have one is the first step. But it’s not always obvious. How do you get a customer to realize they have a problem you can solve? Here’s some great tips we think will help.
Stats to see
The results are in: young people aren’t googling where to go for lunch. Turns out, almost half of Gen Zers are turning to TikTok and IG to find the perfect spot to grab their next bite. How’s that for an appeteaser?
Calling all cool peeps. We’re looking for some talented new teammates who know their stuff backwards and forwards and love a good ol’ fashioned GIF war. Yep, you know who you are.
Oldies but goodies: your dad’s playlist. But come on, you know your dad is cool, even ironically. Turn up the volume and enjoy this one, as long as you’re in bed by 9.
More News from the Week.
- Coors heads to Super Bowl LVII. Say bye bye to Budweiser and our majestic friends, the Clydesdales. After 33 years of Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Coors and Miller-Lite will be stepping into the limelight with some big (horse) shoes to fill.
- Tunageddon: Subway’s got a list of problems way longer than a footlong. A U.S. judge ruled that the company can be sued over its “100% tuna” claim. I smell something fishy . . . and apparently it isn’t fish.
- Can you Beylieve it? Beyoncé is on TikTok and the hive is Crazy in Love to say the least. So far, 3.8 million followers have fallen into Formation behind the Queen, who came bearing an Irreplaceable gift: her entire song catalog.
- Whew, this one is a lot to unpack. A FedEx bot apologizes on Twitter for ‘pending delivery’ of human remains that have been missing for 3 years. File under things I wish to forget, along with how much I spent on gas last month.
- We all picked up a few new hobbies during the pandemic, but this one takes the cake . . . errr, I mean legume? Man becomes first to complete “peanut push” up Pike’s Peak using only his nose. Props to this guy for going above and beyond making a jar of sourdough starter and calling himself a hero.