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OpenSky Hits 1 Million Users And More Than $1.5 Million In Monthly Sales

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/opensky-1-million-users-2012-1


John Caplan OpenSky

Fab and Turntable weren’t the only pivot success stories of 2011. Another e-commerce site, OpenSky, went from struggling to successful in about nine months.

OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky.

“Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”

Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site.  Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.

The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items.  Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products.  OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers. Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product.

“It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.

So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.

In October the 87-person startup raised $30 million. Today, Caplan told us OpenSky crossed the 1 million user mark. About 68% of users are repeat buyers, purchasing new OpenSky items within eight weeks.

We asked Caplan what his margins are like. Despite the 50/50 split, he says they’re pretty good.

“Brands are excited about OpenSky because they want to be endorsed by celebrities,” says Caplan. While brands can’t pay for distribution on OpenSky, they generate a lot of sales when celebrities decide to post their items. Caplan likens OpenSky to Pinterest.  The brands’ excitement makes it easy for OpenSky to purchase, store and sell celebrity-endorsed items at reasonable prices and margins.

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

The World’s Largest Blockbuster Drug Just Went Generic — Here Are The Winners And Losers (PFE, WPI, ABC, TEVA, MRK, MYL, CVS, WAG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-nations-largest-blockbuster-drug-just-went-generic-2011-11


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With the expiration of Pfizer’s patent exclusivity on Lipitor, the nation’s top selling drug will go generic and see a market share split that will force manufacturers into a share race.

Lipitor, a cholesterol drug that reduces cholesterol, came to market in 1997 and ultimately peaked with sales of $13 billion. Last year, it contributed $10.7 billion in revenue to Pfizer.

Analysts remain divided over how much market share Pfizer will be able to hold on to. The company is aggressively discounting the drug through a program to entice patients to remain on Lipitor. Over the coming 180 days, Watson Pharmaceuticals and Ranbaxy Laboratories of India will enter the market.

Eight Citi analysts poured over data and see Pfizer retaining 40-50% of market share over the next half year. Delays out of Ranbaxy, which were prompted by U.S. regulatory bans over questionable quality concerns, will aid Pfizer.

But after the 180 days, when another round of pharmaceuticals like Teva and Aurobindo are allowed entry, the cost of Lipitor will drop to “pennies a day,” Citi analyst John Boris writes.

However, most of Lipitor’s decline has already been priced into Pfizer stock over the past year. “We maintain our Pfizer 4Q11E/2012E Lipitor sales/EPS contribution at $930M/$640M,” Boris continues. That represents a Lipitor sales contribution of 14-18% of fourth EPS, before falling to just 2% of earnings in 2012.

The largest to benefit from the change may be drug stores like CVS and Walgreens, which may see an uptick as more patients can afford to take cholesterol medications, even as average drug prices decline.

“In addition, we believe that the drugstores will be able to generate stronger gross profit dollars as the average gross margin for generic drugs is generally 50 to 60%, while the average gross margin for branded drugs is approximately 20%,” Boris says. 

Meanwhile, Pfizer is betting its name on smaller blockbusters in other drug categories to contribute $4 billion in new revenue by 2014 as it re-emerges in a world post-Lipitor.

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 news No Comments

Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into Qwikster, says it’s ‘done’ with price changes (video)

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/19/netflix-spins-dvd-by-mail-service-off-into-qwikster-says-its/

qwikster screen Netflix spins DVD by mail service off into Qwikster, says its done with price changes (video)

Over on Netflix’s official blog, company head Reed Hastings has announced in a surprisingly humble blog post and video (embedded after the break) that it’s splitting the DVD-by-mail business away into a new venture dubbed Qwikster. While the recent price changes already split the cost for each service, when this takes effect in a few weeks it will result in two different websites, two different sets of movie ratings and queues, and two different charges on customer’s bills. He admits two separate sites may make it more difficult to manage a presence on both, but says dropping the need for compatibility between the two will enable new features to balance that out. Another change? Netflix Qwikster (is there anything good about that name?) is getting into video game rentals, available for an extra charge similar to the existing Blu-ray disc option.

While the blog post blames a lack of communication for much of the backlash (and obviously cancellations), it’s about to become very clear that Netflix is “primarily a streaming company.” Also mentioned is “substantial” additional streaming content coming in the next few months. Whatever the company calls itself, charges, or changes on its website, if Netflix wants to talk its way back into subscriber’s good graces, starting with something new to watch is the way to do it.

Continue reading Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into Qwikster, says it’s ‘done’ with price changes (video)

Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into Qwikster, says it’s ‘done’ with price changes (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 19 Sep 2011 00:33:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, September 19th, 2011 news No Comments

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