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Old 04-20-2018, 08:31 AM   #31
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This used to be another good benefit for me, but I just don't buy enough real stuff any more (and the last few times I did I didn't get offered a digital credit.) Their prices don't seem especially competitive any more, either.


I'm just not buying stuff anymore. I dropped Prime at one point thinking I'd re-up when I made my next order, but once I realized that not having Prime meant I wasn't buying on impulse, I decided to let it go for a while. Then when Amazon raised the minimum free-shipping amount to $49, I stopped buying at Amazon altogether. It was one thing to round up an order to $25, but $49 was out of the question. And by the time they cut it back to $25, I had lost the Amazon habit altogether.

None of the ancillary benefits would provide any significant value to me; I don't watch stuff ever or listen to music and Prime lending books are not to my taste. Digital credits might be tempting, but they were unreliable and not buying stuff means they wouldn't be enough of an offset. I can't imagine ever being tempted to go back.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:40 AM   #32
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They can't.
For the same reason Amazon has APub and uses KU to feature Indies: if you are solely a distributor of others' content you are at the mercy of their whims (and conspiracies).

Note that Disney is pulling all their movies and series off Netflix and starting *two* streaming services. WB is also starting their own streaming service later this year. Last year, the CW pulled their shows off Hulu in favor of their own ad-supported free service.

The media companies see Netflix raking in all the money and believe that as owners of the content they should get a bigger cut of the subscription fees. Or all of it.

That is why Amazon has been investing in products they actually control and not merely distribute for others; books, movies, and hardware. The future is not going to be kind to middlemen and the creator-to-consumer chain will not tolerate many links.

Disintermediation is a threat to everybody: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Fox, WB, AT&T...

The only defense is to own enough of the product to survive. So Disney buys Fox, AT&T buys TimeWarner, and Amazon owns APub and Kindle Unlimited to minimize their exposure to BPH hijinks.

And everybody who can builds a library of exclusive content.
Its a survival requirement.
That may be the way that the content providers see things, but long term it's not going to work. People simply don't want to go to a bunch of different sites just to find a movie to watch. The record companies tried it, and it didn't work.

Right now, there are a couple of companies who are trying to be aggregators (Tivo and Apple) who will find the content on the different sites for you, but you still have to have a subscription and the costs really start to mount if you subscribe to more than a couple of sites.

Eventually, as these various sites fail, content providers will start to realize that they actually had a pretty good deal with Netflix and Hulu.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:39 AM   #33
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That may be the way that the content providers see things, but long term it's not going to work. People simply don't want to go to a bunch of different sites just to find a movie to watch...

Eventually, as these various sites fail, content providers will start to realize that they actually had a pretty good deal with Netflix and Hulu.
I agree with you. But of course, each company has the ego to think they're going to rake in the same money Netflix does. I expect them to ultimately flop, except for Disney. They'll likely succeed. But the rest, not so much.

Though, to be optimistic, at the price of $10-15 a month, you could sign up for several standalones and still pay less than what cable costs to get the same channels.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:12 AM   #34
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ST: Disco claims to be Netflix Original here...
Strictly speaking, it is.
NETFLIX footed the Bill but they were robbed. They were supposed to get a series set in the original TV timeline (the one where Spock was an only child and Vulcan wasn't blown up) but what they got is a third Trek timeline and one that has neither the tone,looks, or ethos of the original. In a vacuum, it isn't terrible but in the context of what came before it just ain't Star Trek.

Anyway, Netflix paid all production costs in return for all international foreign streaming rights. So it runs on CBS All Access in the US but Netflix everywhere else.

Odds are that the DC CHANNEL (or whatever they end up calling it) will do something similar.

The networks won't be dropping cable or broadcast affiliates anytime soon. They just want to make sure they tap all possible distribution channels until they figure out where the viewers are going. And, while CBS is trying to charge for their streaming service, the other networks aren't.

Best example is the CW.
The CW shows run free on the CW streaming service (the last 5 at a time) and then the day after the season finale the whole season goes on Netflix. The streaming service is a supplement to the broadcast network,not a money grab. They just want to make sure the shows get the the maximum *documented* audience to maximize their ad revenues. For CW it works beautifully; reports are they make more net money off the free streaming than from their affiliate broadcasts or cable.
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #35
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I agree with you. But of course, each company has the ego to think they're going to rake in the same money Netflix does. I expect them to ultimately flop, except for Disney. They'll likely succeed. But the rest, not so much.

Though, to be optimistic, at the price of $10-15 a month, you could sign up for several standalones and still pay less than what cable costs to get the same channels.
That is changing.
Skinny live stream bundles are bringing the consumer price for "cable" channels more in line with what the cablecos pay the networks.

Sling was just the beginning. Their skinny bundles and special interest add-ons bring per channel costs to under $1 a month with total bills in the $20-30 range.

https://www.cnet.com/news/sling-tv-e...-need-to-know/

Philo is moving their $16 service beyond the browser into streaming apps:

https://www.cnet.com/news/philo-chea...74374991200794

And ATT just announced that they will supplement their DirecTV Now fat bundle which runs $35-50+ with a new $15 a month skinny bundle service called WATCH.

https://www.cnet.com/news/at-t-chief...vice-in-court/

The djinn is out of the bottle: streaming is here to stay and a mainstream option so everybody wants a chunk of the money the cablecos have been extorting. Providing access to content is no longer a big value add so owning the content is necessary for survival and content owners are disintermediating the distributors. Note that Hulu is co-owned by Fox, Disney, and NBC-Universal and Philo is backed by the networks they carry.

And while I don't think we'll be getting a pure ala carte service just yet, it is already possible to assemble a customized lineup of mostly channels you watch and save a few hundred dollars a year compared to cable or satellite.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:26 PM   #36
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Philo is a great option for those that want to watch "regular" television but don't care at all about sports. Right now, I'm subscribed to Amazon Prime, Philo, VRV, and YouTube Red. That's more than enough to satisfy my needs, and at $52 (with taxes) per month together it's still cheaper than cable television.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:46 PM   #37
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That is changing.
Skinny live stream bundles are bringing the consumer price for "cable" channels more in line with what the cablecos pay the networks.

Sling was just the beginning. Their skinny bundles and special interest add-ons bring per channel costs to under $1 a month with total bills in the $20-30 range.

https://www.cnet.com/news/sling-tv-e...-need-to-know/

Philo is moving their $16 service beyond the browser into streaming apps:

https://www.cnet.com/news/philo-chea...74374991200794

And ATT just announced that they will supplement their DirecTV Now fat bundle which runs $35-50+ with a new $15 a month skinny bundle service called WATCH.

https://www.cnet.com/news/at-t-chief...vice-in-court/

The djinn is out of the bottle: streaming is here to stay and a mainstream option so everybody wants a chunk of the money the cablecos have been extorting. Providing access to content is no longer a big value add so owning the content is necessary for survival and content owners are disintermediating the distributors. Note that Hulu is co-owned by Fox, Disney, and NBC-Universal and Philo is backed by the networks they carry.

And while I don't think we'll be getting a pure ala carte service just yet, it is already possible to assemble a customized lineup of mostly channels you watch and save a few hundred dollars a year compared to cable or satellite.

I think the big thing you are missing is that people don't want to go to a bunch of different streaming services, watching one show on this service, a different show on that service and so on. Everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie and some want the whole cake, but they risk killing the golden goose.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:39 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
That is changing.
Skinny live stream bundles are bringing the consumer price for "cable" channels more in line with what the cablecos pay the networks.

Sling was just the beginning. Their skinny bundles and special interest add-ons bring per channel costs to under $1 a month with total bills in the $20-30 range.

https://www.cnet.com/news/sling-tv-e...-need-to-know/
SlingTV doesn't really seem all that different from the cable companies. You have the same bundles of channels (some wanted, some not) and getting them requires a bill about the size of a cable bill
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Old 04-20-2018, 02:41 PM   #39
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And my cable company raises the cost of my internet exactly the same amount as basic cable if I cancel basic cable. Soooo....
S
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:05 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
SlingTV doesn't really seem all that different from the cable companies. You have the same bundles of channels (some wanted, some not) and getting them requires a bill about the size of a cable bill
In some ways it's not. All of the "skinny bundle"/streaming TV services unfortunately require a bundle of some sort which of course means some channels are unwanted (unfortunately), but Sling Blue w/ one add on package hits me for $30 a month. I can't get cable with comparable channels for anywhere near that (last I checked comparable cable was about $65), but yeah it's similar in that they're both types of bundles. One's just a smaller package than the other...

I doubt we'll see true build your own bundle a la carte setups anytime soon as some of these channels, such as ESPN, require that they be part of a 'base package' and not offered in any kind of add-on bundle in order for a company to carry them.
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:10 PM   #41
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And my cable company raises the cost of my internet exactly the same amount as basic cable if I cancel basic cable. Soooo....
S
Funny how that works
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:11 PM   #42
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SlingTV doesn't really seem all that different from the cable companies. You have the same bundles of channels (some wanted, some not) and getting them requires a bill about the size of a cable bill
If you want all the typical cable channels there isn't much of a saving.
The point is that if all you want is a handful of channels you can get those channels without paying for 100 channels more you don't care about. (I'm not into golf or landscaping so why should I pay for those?)

For example: my mother really likes Hallmark and Lifetime movies. To get all their channels most cable or satellite packages require a tier two or tier three upsell and anything from $50-100 a month.

With Sling, all it takes is the $25 Blue bundle and the $5 Lifestyle bundle. Add in the DVR and it's $35 a month out the door. That is $20-60 bucks saved.

And the game is just starting.
Philo, Watch, or somebody else might come in and let you livestream those channels for $10-20.

As for integrating the services? That is the job of the hardware. Apple is doing it. Roku is doing it. Amazon is doing it. Toshiba. Samsung. So are Sony and Microsoft. That is where GUIs and voice interfaces come in. The device knows what services you have and what channels and what shows you watch and can DVR them, alert you when they're on. They are show-focused rather than channel-focused.

Some, like the Fire OS TVs, are a work in progress, adding features constantly, but by now most of the platforms let you search for a show or movie regardless of streaming service. The user doesn't need to switch apps: the device calls the app and switches to the appropriate channel. The channel grid is going the way channel surfing the grandpa way went: into history.

The CNET article I linked above points out that the primary interface for Sling is like Netflix's, show based, not channel based. Hulu Live TV is the same. Sling has a channel grid as an option and getting to it is quick and easy but the best way to use Sling is to customize the Gui by picking out favorites and pinning them to the home page. Depending on the hardware, Alexa,Cirtana, Siri, or whatever will get you to your shows when you want them.

So there is added value even if you choose to sign up for a fat bundle.
But for viewers who aren't sports junkies or news junkies or "whatever is on" viewers, the real value is in the combination of customization and savings.

As I said, it's early in the game and the streamer hardware isn't fully mature, AI-wise, but it's headed in the right direction.

So far the cord cutter world runs about 15% of households.
It will only grow bigger.

Here's a primer:

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/cord-cu...ews-17928.html

Prime, Netflix, and Hulu are the household names but the well-informed are also familiar with Cruncyroll, DramaFever, Acorn, and dozens more. It's all a matter of how broad or narrow your interests are. Cord cutting works either way.

One of the cheapest ways in to this world is the FireTV stick. Pretty much every service worth having can be found there. Me, I favor the XBOX ONE X as my front end because its TV app knows about USB HDTV TUNERS so I get everything (even the FireTV stick) under one interface.

Plus...games. Even ebooks.

Last edited by fjtorres; 04-20-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:26 PM   #43
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And my cable company raises the cost of my internet exactly the same amount as basic cable if I cancel basic cable. Soooo....
S
Meh, my issue was the bundle pricing was only good for one year. I had to call customer retention every single year so my cable bill doesn't increase. After a while, I just got tired of calling and just cancelled the TV portion altogether.
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:28 PM   #44
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In some ways it's not. All of the "skinny bundle"/streaming TV services unfortunately require a bundle of some sort which of course means some channels are unwanted (unfortunately), but Sling Blue w/ one add on package hits me for $30 a month. I can't get cable with comparable channels for anywhere near that (last I checked comparable cable was about $65), but yeah it's similar in that they're both types of bundles. One's just a smaller package than the other...

I doubt we'll see true build your own bundle a la carte setups anytime soon as some of these channels, such as ESPN, require that they be part of a 'base package' and not offered in any kind of add-on bundle in order for a company to carry them.
That too is changing.
ESPN has a standalone streaming service for $5 a month.
Makes it easier for streamers to do ESPN-free bundles.

And as you saw, cable operators are stuck with ESPN on their basic packages but streaming services aren't. And that is a big plus. The reason Sling blue lets you run three streams on three devices simultaneously and Sling orange doesn't is because blue has no Disney channels and no Disney restrictions.

Not every content provider is as viewer hostile as Disney.
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Old 04-20-2018, 04:05 PM   #45
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Device: Kindle PW2, Lenovo A10-70, Motorola Z2 Play, 1st Gen Kindle Fire
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
SlingTV doesn't really seem all that different from the cable companies. You have the same bundles of channels (some wanted, some not) and getting them requires a bill about the size of a cable bill
Yeah, I looked into 'cutting the cord' about 6 months ago. And the prices to get the things I wanted was about the same as cable.
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