The longtime iOS and iPadOS image editing application Pixelmator Photo, a companion to the popular Pixelmator Pro, is embracing subscriptions as it heads to the Mac. Previously the app was available for an upfront charge of $7.99 but will now offer either monthly or annual pricing.
Going forward, the app will now cost users $4.99 per month (close to $24 per year) and will include the option for a lifetime purchase of $54.99. Current users will be allowed to continue as they are.
“[This] is the best way forward for Pixelmator Photo and will make it into the best photo editor it can be,” read the company’s announcement.
Pixelmator, as a whole, originally launched in 2007 with the “Classic” version and later rebranded to “Pro”. In 2021, Pixelmator Photo launched on the iPhone. The Photo app today is only available on the iPhone and iPad and includes some of the same editing features seen on Pro — but it’s not a complete graphic design solution. Instead, it’s focused mostly on photo editing.
The company explained its current one-time price model was becoming unsustainable for continued service. It was leading to slower development and put the company in a pickle when deciding if they should do paid upgrades instead.
It also spelled out other issues with the paid upfront model on the App Store, including lower-priced apps in existence, lack of purchase unification across devices, no free trials across iOS and iPadOS and an absence of upgrade discounts. Additionally, the company cited users buying at different times are either getting more or less value for the money they spent, due to where they purchased in the release cycle. Additionally, the model meant Pixelmator had to prioritize investments in aquiring new users rather than being able to rely on revenue from its loyal customers.
“So what’s the problem – just keep releasing major updates, right?,” read the company’s release. “Well, you can certainly try but if an update doesn’t do as well as expected or is delayed, you’re in trouble. And eventually, your potential pool of users shrinks to make it necessary to release a paid upgrade that existing users need to pay for, too.”
In addition to the subscription model, the company announced its plan to launch Pixelmator Photo for Mac.
The app, designed for macOS, will supposedly be live late this year or early next year.
According to a spokesperson from Pixelmator, Photo for Mac is primarily meant for individuals who are just looking to edit photos. Pro on the other hand is meant for anyone looking for features allowing for greater creative autonomy — those “who create designs, illustrations, etc.”.
The company noted there could be a potential subscription price increase once the Mac version is out, but current subscribers will be able to lock in their price now.
Pixelmator did acknowledge the downsides to a subscription-based model but hopes that with a dedicated set of users development will continue long-term.
These changes don’t apply to other Pixelmator …read more
Streaming viewership reached new highs last month, exceeding cable usage for the first time, according to Nielsen. The measurement firm today released its total TV and streaming report for July, stating that streaming represented a 34.8% share of total TV viewing in the U.S. — an increase of 22.6% compared to July 2021. Cable consumption was a little behind at 34.4%, an 8.9% drop from the year prior and a 2% decline compared to June.
Streaming had exceeded broadcast viewing before, and this continued to be the case, with broadcast down 3.7% on volume compared with June. Broadcast’s share of TV viewing was at 21.6% the report said.
The new milestone reinforces streaming as a top choice for TV viewers, mainly driven by original content that can’t be found on cable or broadcast television.
July also broke a record with the highest-volume streaming weeks, the data measurement firm noted. The average time spent streaming last month was 190.9 billion minutes per week. The week of Christmas in December 2021 was the last all-time high that Nielsen measured, with 183 billion minutes.
Note that Nielsen’s report only compares programming viewed on TVs and internet-connected TVs. It doesn’t measure streaming via mobile or desktop, which would likely make streaming’s market share even larger.
In fact, streaming on big screens (connected TVs, smart TVs and gaming consoles) represented 77% of globally streamed minutes in Q1 2022, according to a report by streaming data analytics company Conviva.
Content — especially exclusive and unique content — is key to the success of streaming services. The boost in TV viewership was primarily driven by streaming releases across Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max.
When Nielsen looked at the breakdown of streaming services, Netflix held the largest share of overall TV viewing among streaming platforms with 8%. In June, Netflix was at 7.7%. So, while Netflix reported a huge loss in subscribers, the service remains popular among TV viewers in the U.S.
Nielsen pointed to Netflix’s “Stranger Things” Season 4 as the main driver, which had almost 18 billion viewing minutes in July. Netflix boasted that “Stranger Things 4” had the largest opening weekend for an English-language series and was the most watched season of English-language TV in one week on the platform.
Also, “Virgin River” and “The Umbrella Academy” contributed nearly 11 billion minutes of combined viewing. The action thriller “The Gray Man,” which will now get its own universe, and the animated adventure film “The Sea Beast” chipped in more than five billion minutes.
Netflix’s founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings agrees with analysts that say linear TV is nearing its end. In the second-quarter earnings call, he remarked, “Looking forward, streaming is working everywhere. Everyone is pouring in. It’s the end of linear TV over the next five, 10 years.”
In second place, YouTube and YouTube TV had …read more
In 2021, it felt like every week a crypto company joined forces with a sports team or athlete. Fast-forward to today’s stagnating crypto market: Those partnerships still exist, but they’re less talked about.
I wondered whether these alliances were paying off in a meaningful way, so I asked a few people from major crypto companies and blockchains like FTX, Ava Labs and Algorand to talk about it.
“Sports audiences tend to overlap with crypto,” Avi Dabir, vice president of business development at FTX, said to TechCrunch. “You can hit a mass market by partnering with trusted teams, brands and athletes and your sports viewer tends to be in finance and crypto and so on.”
“A lot of people didn’t know about crypto and the brands in crypto. Sports helped amplify and grow that.” Avi Dabir, vice president of business development at FTX
FTX was one of the first crypto companies to really dive into sports partnerships. It began talking about collaborations with sports entities in January 2021 because it wanted to enhance the value and awareness of its brand, Dabir said.
Last year, FTX signed a 19-year, $135 million agreement with the Miami Heat to rename its home court to FTX Arena. The company is also the official crypto exchange sponsor of Major League Baseball and has partnered with individual athletes like Tom Brady and Steph Curry.
“I really believe [the partnerships] paid off,” Dabir said. “The things we look at — some are measurable and some are not.” The obvious measurement is how many people signed up or downloaded the FTX app, but there are other aspects that are harder to quantify, he added.
Lincoln revealed Thursday during Monterey Car Week its vision for future EVs — while commemorating its centennial year — with the debut of the Lincoln Model L 100 concept, an autonomous, battery-electric grand tourer that pays homage to the brand’s first luxury vehicle, the 1922 Model L.
The futuristic and massive concept has an aerodynamic, low-slung body that features a sweeping glass roof that opens and reverse-hinged doors that lift to bestow a “sense of ceremony” and provides the “Lincoln Embrace,” the company said. Taking that “Lincoln Embrace” theme even further, the Ford luxury brand notes that the wheel covers use lighting and sensors to “communicate motion, battery life and human presence.”
The vehicle’s exterior “cool, open-air blue” shade mixes metallic paint and frosted acrylic. This futuristic design sprinkles in some 1920s art deco touches like the hood ornament as well as a Kammback, or K-tail, rear end that slopes down and then abruptly cuts off for improved aerodynamics to complete the look.
Inside, the cabin is trimmed with recycled suede fabric in amethyst. The configurable cabin is one of the more eye-popping features, in which the front seats flip to face passengers in the rear seats, and “an interactive, center console chessboard” is placed where one might expect a steering wheel. The console features “a jewel-inspired chess piece controller that captures light and depth by redefining the vehicle controls inside the cabin,” according to the company.
Lincoln also said the car will have a “digital floor” but did not elaborate on what that means beyond that it combines interior lighting to “transport passengers to the sanctuary of tomorrow.”
Outlandish concepts like the Lincoln Model L 100 are often couched as design or research exercises that allow a company to explore what its future portfolio might look like. For Lincoln, it’s a process that will likely be used to determine interest in certain features or designs as it pushes forward with plans to fully electrify half of its offerings by 2050.
The Lincoln Model L is also part of an emerging trend among recently revealed concepts that hints where the entire industry is headed. Several American automakers, a list that includes Lincoln, have released concept cars this year that recall the nostalgia of the early 20th century.
Chrysler revealed at the New York Auto Show in April a Chrysler Airflow crossover concept named after the original Chrysler Airflow, which chief design officer Ralph Gilles called a “catastrophic failure” of the mid-1930s. Chrysler said the concept can travel up to 400 miles on a single charge and comes with fast-charging functionality as well as a long list of technologies, including the automaker’s STLA AutoDrive system, which it is developing with BMW to feature Level 3 automated driving capabilities.
Then there’s Cadillac InnerSpace, the electric, autonomous concept that debuted earlier this year and draws inspiration from the two-passenger runabouts the brand manufactured in 1902. The concept features a two-seat loveseat, wraparound digital screen and built-in ottoman, but no pedals or steering wheel.
The Lincoln Model …read more
A new day, a new interest rate hike. A few serious faces from the Fed have announced that they will do whatever it takes to tame inflation. Wall Street invariably responds in the red, and startup outlets proclaim the tighter availability of capital and lower valuations.
But what is the actual connection between interest rates, startup capital and valuations?
Following Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), the Fed is increasing interest rates to “cool the economy” and prevent a further rise in inflation.
Despite the focus on interest rates, it is the second aspect — inflation and the consequent government response — that will have the most significant consequences for founders and the public.
If your customers benefit from inflation, then there’s a good chance that your company will too.
Inflation affects your customers, providers and capital
The startup literature around inflation impact on startups focuses on cutting costs, getting to default positive, controlling burn and slowing hiring. But some of these measures, albeit useful during recessions, are too general to be helpful. Instead, a better way to prepare for inflation is to understand how price increases affect your business.
Each business has three major components: customers, providers (including employees) and capital. How is inflation influencing each of these factors?
Ryan Breslow has had a tumultuous 2022. It’s not slowing him down.
Few outside of Breslow’s world even knew his name a year ago. Then Bolt, a “one-click” checkout tech company that evolved from an earlier idea of his, announced $355 million in Series E funding at a reported $11 billion valuation. Suddenly, the startup was on everyone’s radar, as was Breslow. The now 28-year-old Miami resident was riding so high that he couldn’t help but take a kind of victory lap. Having struggled at one point to win over Silicon Valley investors, he began publishing thoughts on Twitter that most might never dare share publicly, including to call rival Stripe and famed accelerator Y Combinator “mob bosses” that will pull “every power move imaginable” to squash competitors.
While Breslow found some support for his perspective online, he was also criticized for the comments — including by powerful investors — and one week later, he stepped down as the CEO of Bolt and became its executive chairman.
Breslow, who still owns a major stake in Bolt, told us the development had nothing to do with his antics. But it was hard to believe Breslow’s attention-grabbing tweets — which kept coming — weren’t rattling Bolt’s investors to some degree. Certainly, it has been a rocky road since. Further funding that was reportedly in the works has not materialized. The company has been accused in the press of inflating its customer metrics and overstating its tech capabilities. By late May, citing changing market conditions, Bolt announced it was laying off roughly one-third of its employees, or 250 people — some of whom had taken out personal loans from the company in order to exercise their stock options.
Meanwhile, partnerships that Breslow teased publicly have yet to be announced. Bolt employees are also reportedly frustrated that Breslow sold $10 million worth of shares to investors during that Series E round back in January, when Bolt’s board had not allowed them to sell their own holdings.
Some founders might lay low after so much blowback. Breslow — who is both affable and cagey in conversation — is instead barreling ahead with several decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) infrastructure projects, including a programmable funding protocol called Juicebox.
He is also at work on several other startups, including a “people-powered pharma” startup called Love that he co-founded and that is very much of its era. Specifically, Love aims to launch a DAO where members, who buy “Love tokens” with Ethereum or another reserve currency, can discuss homeopathic and other pharmaceutical alternatives, then vote on which of them should be tested in clinical trials. The DAO will then underwrite the studies.
The idea — and it’s all theoretical at this point — is to take on big drug companies by copying how they work.
If you’re thinking that it could be challenging to produce concrete clinical data …read more
Snap may have flown a bit too close to the sun in its development of the palm-sized selfie drone, Pixy. Following a late-April announcement, the social media firm has already begun pumping the brakes on the project, per a Wall Street Journal report. CEO Evan Spiegel has apparently relayed the message that the hardware is one causality of re-prioritization, amid broader economic concerns.
All is not lost for the product, exactly. Snap will apparently continue selling through its already existing limited inventory of the $250 device. The company declined to offer a comment on the report.
The firm hasn’t exactly been a hardware powerhouse. The Pixy joined the company’s Spectacle glasses, which have been something of a mixed bag — though the product recently shifted from the novelty of face-worn cameras to a product focused on the burgeoning AR category. Pixy, it seems, won’t be afforded the luxury of finding market fit. Hardware is hard, of course. Meta has notably been going through its own recent struggles with its Portal devices.
Even so, it’s hard to know precisely how seriously Snap was taking its efforts with the Pixy. The system was, itself, a bit of a brightly colored toy, lacking in the sophistication (and years of development) of a DJI. Hell, even DJI ultimately killed off its closest equivalent, the Spark, in a bid to streamline its consumer offerings — and don’t even get me started on the whole GoPro Karma debacle (it involves the drones falling out of the sky, for starters).
Between higher-end products from companies like DJI and much cheaper knockoff systems, there may not ultimately be a lot of consumer drone market to play around in. That, coupled with some internal Snap restructuring, means Pixy simply wasn’t long for this cruel world. But hey, now you’ve got a collector’s item and a strange little piece of tech history on your hands.
Americans spent more of their TV-viewing time streaming content on services like Netflix, YouTube and HBO Max than they did watching cable TV, according to Nielsen. …read more
Quora is shutting down the English version of its Partner Program on September 1, the company announced on its website. The Partner Program will remain active in other languages, including German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Swedish, Dutch, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Indonesian, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian.
The Partner Program, which launched four years ago, is an invite-based initiative that works by paying users for asking questions on the platform. The money paid to partners is based on the traffic that is generated by their questions. The program was essentially introduced as a way for Quora to grow its platform while also helping users earn revenue for their contributions.
Quora says only the English version of the program is shutting down because other language versions of Quora are newer and smaller and still require help growing, whereas the English version doesn’t.
“The program did what it was supposed to do in the English language version of Quora, which was to get more good answers written to questions that we know people are searching for but which hadn’t yet been asked on Quora, and so it was time to bring it to a close,” Quora’s Head of Communications William Gunn said in a post. “Other language versions of Quora are newer and smaller, so there’s more room to promote growth by stimulating question asking to balance the supply and demand side of the knowledge ‘market’.”
The company sees the English version of the program as a success, noting that partners wrote tens of millions of questions that helped writers find questions to answer and helped readers find the answers they were looking for.
Quora says partners will continue to accrue program earnings until September 30 on any questions asked before September 1 of this year. After September 30, earnings will no longer accrue on your program content. The company says if you haven’t already linked a payment account, you have until December 1 to do so to ensure you get all of your earnings.
“Your efforts over the past four years really made a difference for Quora and we love hearing about the difference the program made in your lives,” the company said in an email to partners. “We are proud of the work we’ve been able to do together and now it’s time to move on. We appreciate all of your contributions to the Quora Partner Program and we look forward to continuing to share and grow the world’s knowledge with you.”
It’s worth noting that since its launch in 2018, the Partner Program has been criticized by some users who have said the earnings from the program were subpar, even if their posts reached notable traction.
Quora notes that it offers other ways for users to earn revenue on the platform, including its Quora+ offering, where subscribers pay a $5 monthly fee or a $50 yearly fee to access content that any creator chooses to put behind a paywall. Rather than paying select creators, …read more
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G’day, crunch bunch! We’re both starting to get a little bit excited about TechCrunch Disrupt coming up in October. Would you believe that, even though we’ve been working together for a long time, this will be the first time that your trusty Daily Crunch co-writers will meet in person? There will be high fives, terrible puns and perhaps a shared beverage or two. Good times.
We’d love to see you there, too. Did you know that you can volunteer at TechCrunch Disrupt to attend for free? There’s a few opportunities left, so get your applications in pronto. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Kimberly Bryant fired: Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant was fired by the organization’s board of directors eight months after Bryant was suspended. Natasha M and Dominic-Madori team up to dig into Bryant’s lawsuit against BGC, alleging both wrongful suspension and conflict of interest by new organization CEO Heather Hiles.
- Meow: Have you ever just looked at a picture of a car and sworn you could hear the engine purr? Well, get ready to experience that with the new Dodge Charger EV concept. Kirsten tantalizes us with the car’s features and how it is “rewriting the rules” of a traditional electric vehicle.
- Get out your pitchforks: HBO Max is cleaning out its closets in preparation for its merger with Discovery+, and that means it had to say “good-bye” to 36 titles. As Ivan reports, some creators are not thrilled about what was chosen to go.
Startups and VC
New York–based Life Extension Ventures is a new $100 million fund that claims it will focus on “longevity for people and planet.” In practice, that will mean backing founders who are accelerating the science around longevity, Mike reports.
Every aspect of a startup is about storytelling. Hiring your first employees into a startup is storytelling: You are spinning a story that contrasts with their steady, reliable job at an established company, pitching it against taking a chance on your startup. Acquiring early customers falls in the same category. Marketing? Same. Advertising? Same. Raising investment? Oh boy: Same. Haje explores why your startup needs a solid lead storyteller in place.
- Docteur Jim, WebMDPaul reports that WebMD acquires French medical news and information platform Jim.fr
- Saving it for a snowy day: Rocketplace raises $9 million to build the “fidelity for crypto” amid the crypto winter that just keeps on going, Mary Ann reports.
- Come fly with me. No, not you. Frederic reports that Aero is finding a space between chartering flights …read more