What’s new in tech
Instagram takes on YouTube
“Instagram is ready to compete head-on with YouTube,” said Josh Constine in TechCrunch.com. The Facebook-owned social media platform last week expanded the length of videos users are permitted to upload from one minute to one hour. And in a bid to establish a catalog of curated, long-form videos, it also announced the creation of IGTV. The new platform can be accessed from a button inside the Instagram home screen, as well as via its own stand-alone app, and will “spotlight popular videos from Instagram celebrities.” Although IGTV will initially be commercial free, “Instagram is expected to build out a monetization option for IGTV creators.” By channeling its potent 1 billion–strong user base, IGTV ratchets up the pressure on YouTube.
AMC offers subscription tickets
The biggest theater chain in the U.S. is directly challenging MoviePass, said Patricia Hernandez in TheVerge.com. AMC this week launched an online and smartphone-based subscription service allowing members to see up to three movies a week for $19.95 a month. AMC Stubs A-list is “twice as expensive” as the MoviePass subscription but allows for multiple movies per day and has no restrictions on the number of times you see a movie. “Unlike MoviePass’ one-at-a-time, location-dependent ticketing model,” AMC will allow members to make up to three advance reservations at a time, “without having to physically be at the theater.” IMAX and 3-D films are also included. Since launching its $9.95 per month subscription last year, MoviePass has regularly tussled with AMC. The digital upstart even briefly “cut some AMC locations from its service.”
Lyft tests monthly service
Lyft has been experimenting with a subscription model, said Jessi Hempel in Wired.com. The ride-sharing app and Uber rival began testing it in Chicago last December. Digital startups have in recent years “launched subscriptions in nearly every industry.” But there’s a unique challenge for ride-sharing businesses: “Drivers must be paid enough to make it worth their while.” Lyft’s effort so far includes a $299 per month “All-Access Plan” that offers 30 rides of up to $15 each; there is also a commuter plan for $3.99 per month, offering 45 Lyft rides between work and home set at one personalized price. Lyft hopes subscriptions will “lock their riders in” and discourage people from flipping between its app and Uber’s.