Archive for the ‘streaming cable’ Tag

Open Letter to HBO: Be Like Netflix, Not Like Hulu

Dear Home Box Office.

I’m a big fan, dating back to the late 1970s when my uncle showed me Rocky on his brand new 10′ satellite dish, so I was excited to learn about your new streaming service HBO Go.

HBO Go Logo

Immediately after hearing about it’s existence I rushed to my computer, pulled up the site, and clicked “Sign Up”. That’s when I found out that only Comcast and Verizon cable TV customers who buy HBO through their cable company can watch.

What a missed opportunity. I was ready to open up my wallet and pay for content that I find worth paying for, but found out in addition to paying for HBO I would have to pay for cable TV, too.

Here’s 10 cents worth of free advice: Stop thinking of yourself as a cable channel or as a TV network and think of yourself as an entertainment provider. Stop paying Verizon and Comcast to be your middlemen. Take my money directly, like Netflix.

Be Like Netflix
For $8.99 a month, Netflix lets me stream from their website and they give access to their API so their service can be integrated into my TV, BluRay Player, or Boxee Box. (Almost 50% of their customer base stream content). No, it’s not perfect. It’s got DRM and it’s Silverlight-based so you can’t watch it on your iPhone (yet). Most content is Still SD and the HD content is only 720p. But it’s easy to use and more importantly it’s easy to pay for. It’s flexible in how I use their service and doesn’t try to nickel and dime the hardware vendors that are helping them grow – unlike Hulu.

Hulu’s Misstep
The Content Providers (ahem TV Networks FOX, NBC, and ABC) that own Hulu want Boxee et al to pay them for the privelege of pointing traffic at them (which is like wanting the phone company to pay you for printing your number in their phone book) and is attempting to block them in an effort to force negotiations, going so far as to falsely characterize their action as “illegally taking” in Congressional hearings. Why? Because they are too busy fretting over lost banner ad revenue and disproportionate per-impression ad rates compared to cable to see that Boxee is pointing a money firehose at them and pressure is just beginning to build.

…which, if you aren’t paying attention, is the same mistake NewsCorp (Owner of FOX and 1/3 owner of Hulu) and the Associated Press are making with Google News, too.

“Thanks for the customers. Now you owe me money for sending them my way. Even though your recommendations keep me afloat and I would probably be bankrupt without them, you made money by recommending me, so I deserve a cut. You must pay to advertise me.”

Hulu is doing more right than wrong, but their mistake of tying their service to a web page instead of allowing it on a TV is harming them more than helping them – much like your need to tie your online service to your cable channel will harm more than help you.

I understand that contractually you are obligated to do (and not to do) certain things, but I would hope that you see my point of view and can see the value in a cable-optional internet streaming site.

Thanks for listening,
– Gerald

P.S. For what it’s worth: I think Hulu should abandon the paywall idea, pack their site with content, license and control use of their API, grow their user base, and then negotiate better “per impression” ad rates for their in-line ads. A model I don’t recommend for you, HBO, nor for Netflix.

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Is Wal-Mart buying Vudu?

Vudu, the HD-service that wouldn’t die has started expanding past it’s own hardware and is looking to pull a Netflix and get in set-top boxes, Blu-Ray Players, TVs, and… Wal-Mart? That’s what AllThingsD‘s Peter Kafka thinks.

Money Quote:

Sources tell me Web video start-up Vudu is in “meaningful” acquisition discussions, and industry executives believe Wal-Mart is the likely buyer.

Read the whole thing over @ AllThingsD

More on TV’s Autopsy

Media Analyst Don Cole traveled 200,000 miles per year annually for decades visited with local TV stations, cable interconnects, magazines, clients, client prospects, and all sorts of new media sales teams.

He believes that Nothing Can Replace Television and It Almost Has!

He gives wonderful write-up on the progression that the cancer that network tv is suffering from.

He begins with where the symptoms are worst and (ironically) least visible: Local Affiliates.

What I see and hear stuns me. The broadcast media, as a group, are in almost complete denial about what is going on in our world of media. When the relentless march of broadcast fragmentation is brought up, local station people respond with “have you seen our local news. It is extraordinary.” I have and it is not.

Ask industry people about how DVR’s are changing the effectiveness of TV as an advertising medium and the more mature (in age only) say something to the effect that they hope they will be retired before the effects are truly felt in the marketplace. What kind of answer is that?.

He touches on our POV a bit.

Today’s consumers are now in control and they are not going back to being passive viewers again. Life “on-demand’ appeals to people. DVR’s, blogs, You tube, Hulu.com, The Slingbox, streaming video, new cable platforms, and many other possibilities have permanently upset the TV landscape. Watch how a young adult uses media–are you positioning your campaigns to reach young people well or at all for that matter?

…but then goes into Protectionist Mode.

There is also a terrible danger with the presence of legacy mentalities out there. People sit in meetings and nod vigorously when I say that TV is losing its luster as a sales medium. But, moments later they say something to the effect that the solution to TV’s slow death is simply adding more weight. Add more weight? They will still miss the people that they are missing now! All additional weight will do is add significant frequency to the same folks they reach now who are heavy TV viewers and not always the most desirable prospects.

He does touch on TV’s tool as a currently-ubiquitous communication medium and laments the loss of roadblocks and vertical strikes, but fails to understand that the underlying goal that those tools provided – to get information out to a majority percentage of the population – will not die with it.

Just as the death of newspapers doesn’t mark the end of journalism, the death of TV isn’t killing mass-media.

The middlemen will shift. Those that adapt will survive. Those who would apply radio rules to magazines and billboard rules to TV will try to get TV rules to apply to the internet.

Watch.

Have You Switched From Cable to The Internet? 24% Say “Yes”, another 52% Say “Some”.

An Internet Poll asks: Have you switched from Cable to The Internet?

In early results, 52% says they either stream or download shows, and a full 24% of those who responded answered “Yes! I’ve cut the cable and am a 100% internet TV watcher.”

I’ll keep you posted if things change.

Digg @ Digg.com

Tiny Arrow URL: http://➹.ws/ﱴ

Remember when home taping was going to kill Hollywood?

piratebay-comic

The Pirate Bay.

Boxee MeetUp March 24th in NYC

Speaking of Boxee, if you live in New York (or will happen to be there on March 24), then you should check out the boxee meetup.

They will be releasing a new alpha version during the event and will “share some concrete plans for the beta”.

If you DO attend, send me some pictures.

HBO, Showtime, Starz, and.. Epix?

When we switched from Airwaves to Cable/Satellite, America got introduced to a lot more networks. Some came and went (Preview, CBN, TheBox), others became household names (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax).

As we switch from Cable/Satellite we’re having to get used to a lot of new names. Hulu, Joost, Boxee, Netflix, iTunes, VUDU, and now Epix.

Epix is destined for cable/satellite and will compete with HBO and Starz for your Premium Package dollars – but it’s got one foot in the old world and one foot in the new. It will begin streaming it’s channel via it’s website a full five months before their cable/satellite launch.

A consortium of MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Lions Gate, the channel will feature more than 15,000 movies from the three studios.

The new channel, which is intended to compete with HBO and Showtime, will feature such hits as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, and other movies from the studios’ libraries. The channel is also expected to produce original programming and present live concert performances, as other premium channels do.

Via Cnet: