Morning Media Newsfeed: S&S Joins eBook Services | Netflix to Expand | Spotify Hits Milestone

[emailonly]{{{ sbox300x250 }}}[/emailonly] Click here to receive Mediabistro’s Morning Media Newsfeed via email.

Simon & Schuster Joins Scribd, Oyster eBook Subscription Service Libraries (GalleyCat)
Simon & Schuster has established a partnership with Scribd and Oyster. Readers will now have access to the publisher’s backlist eBook titles. GigaOM eBook subscription sites are still young — both Oyster and the reinvented Scribd, which offer users unlimited access to a library of eBooks for under $10 a month, just launched last fall. In that time, one of the questions for these services has been whether big publishers would sign up. Until now, the only Big Five publisher participating in either service had been HarperCollins. Mashable As part of the agreement, Simon & Schuster will make available its entire backlist of thousands of books. Eric Stromberg, cofounder and CEO of Oyster, framed the deal as a strong endorsement for the eBook subscription market, or as he put it, the access model. WSJ Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins both view the services as a way to jump-start sales of older books. Both publishers have limited what they make available to titles that have been in print for at least a year. The Oyster and Scribd deals are “an experiment, but it’s a serious experiment,” said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS Corp. Simon & Schuster also has experimented with providing books to another kind of subscription service, one now called Entitle Books Inc., which lets consumers buy a certain number of books for a set price every month. Forbes The deal includes authors like Stephen King — the most searched author in the Oyster platform — and Ernest Hemingway, who is No. 5. Other names snagged in the deal include Dan Brown, Mary Higgins Clark, Ray Bradbury and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Netflix to Expand to France, Germany Later This Year (WSJ)
Netflix announced plans Wednesday to launch its streaming video service later this year in six additional European countries, as the company seeks to capitalize on rapid growth in markets outside the U.S. The company said its subscription service would be available in France and Germany — two of the world’s biggest broadband markets — as well as Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Mashable The company did not disclose exactly when the service would launch, but said it would be sometime in 2014. Netflix did not divulge pricing details. U.S. accounts will work in the new countries, as any Netflix account can be accessed from anywhere the service is available, according to a Netflix spokesperson. Deadline London Netflix said in a statement that its content in the various new territories will include Hollywood, local and global TV series and movies. The service now has more than 48 million subscribers in more than 40 countries. The continued European expansion follows the 2012 launch of Netflix in the U.K. and Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Last year, it launched in the Netherlands. NYT Netflix will face a variety of challenges in taking on Europe’s entrenched players country by country, including the fact that many of the domestic pay-TV companies already have exclusive rights to some of the programming that Netflix’s service typically carries. In France, for example, Netflix will be unable to offer subscribers its own most popular in-house production, the political drama series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. The pay-television giant Canal Plus already has the French rights to the series.

Spotify Hits 10 Million Subscribers, A Milestone (NYT)
Spotify, the streaming music service, said on Wednesday that it had grown to 10 million paying subscribers around the world, a long-awaited disclosure as the company faces potential competition from Apple and also prepares for a probable initial public offering. Mashable The new number, which Spotify announced in a blog post, is up from 6 million subscribers in March 2013. In addition to the paid subscriptions, Spotify also announced 40 million active users, an important base for a company that relies on using free music to eventually convert listeners into subscribers. That number is up from 24 million, which was also announced in March 2013. THR Yet it is the rate of growth in the music business’ No. 1 market in the U.S. that is most pleasing to industry insiders. According to sources familiar with the company’s data, Spotify has swelled to more than 3 million paying subscribers in less than three years since launching in the U.S. in July 2011. Re/code Spotify has launched initiatives designed to increase its exposure, including a plan to offer free music via a mobile phone app and a linkup with Sprint, which is going to bundle the service with its wireless plans. Spotify’s numbers do place it well beyond the rest of its competitors, including Deezer, Google and Rdio. The entire subscription music industry has grown rapidly in recent years, and is now generating more than $1 billion annually.