April 20, 2017 | Authored by: Kevin Cancilla
Companies revamp past services with subscriptions
The way consumers interact with brands is ever-changing, and companies are constantly looking for innovative products to meet their customers' needs. Savvy businesses know that sometimes, the best way to modernize their brand is to put a new spin on something from the past. General Motors and YouTube have both recently launched new offers on a subscription business model that refashions the way customers interact with their products.
Cadillac gives car renters luxury options
General Motors may have found a way to break into the world of rental cars and compete with the ride-sharing market. Cadillac's Book service, a subscription offer currently in beta testing, allows customers to rent whatever Cadillac vehicle they want. Subscriptions cost $1,500 per month, plus a one-time startup fee of $500, according to Business Insider. The charge covers registration, insurance, maintenance and unlimited driving miles, and each car comes equipped with OnStar, Sirius XM radio and an unlimited 4G LTE and WiFi hotspot.
To drive a car, Book subscribers open the app, select the model they want, and input when and where they plan to pick up and return the vehicle. Then, they wait for a concierge to drive the car to the location of their choosing. The concierge gives a brief, optional demonstration of the car's features, then passes the keys to the customer. Once the rental period is over, the customer drives the car to the designated drop-off location. Book customers can switch cars 18 times in one year.
— Rita Makhoul (@rampurple) April 5, 2017
Cadillac Book hints at aspects of ride-sharing service and car rental companies, but it's truly neither. General Motors likely can't match the convenience or Uber or Lyft, but it can beat them both in luxury. The automaker is targeting a very specific market: people with high incomes who want flexibility in their choice of vehicle. The mobile app aspect reminds them of Uber, while the choice in car mimics a rental service.
Other brands may decide to adopt a similar approach and target niche groups with a service that contains elements of two existing products. Book is neither a ride-sharing app nor a traditional rental service, but it mirrors both while setting its sights on the wealthy.
YouTube returns to television
The online video platform released YouTube TV hot on the heels of YouTube Red, a subscription over-the-top content service that gives customers access to exclusive videos created by the company's partners. The latest offering gives subscribers access to up to 40 cable networks broadcasting live or real-time content, including ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, Fox, Fox Sports Network and Comcast Sports Network. Showtime and soccer programming are available for an additional fee. Customers are also automatically subscribed to YouTube Red.
YouTube TV launched in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco in early April. Adweek reported that, according to numbers from Apptopia, the service acquired 147,300 subscribers a week after its launch. Yet it can't be ignored that YouTube is returning to the very industry it - along with Netflix and Hulu - was credited with disrupting.
That return is the key to YouTube's strategy. It attempts to give customers the one thing they can't yet receive through streaming services: real-time programming. It's also worth noting that YouTube is following in Amazon's footsteps. The online retail giant is also returning to an industry it had a hand in drastically changing, opening brick-and-mortar bookstores despite the strength of its online book sales.
In addition, YouTube TV could be very beneficial for YouTube's parent company, Google. The subscription service provides a direct funnel for tons of valuable marketing data. In all likelihood, Google will be able to collect and analyze the viewing habits of all YouTube TV subscribers. Such information could be incredibly useful for future marketing purposes.
Cadillac Book and YouTube TV aren't completely new products, but they're novel enough to intrigue their markets. With the ease provided by subscription billing, customers will likely take to these products quickly.
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