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Conference Realignment Board

Will Stewart 

Joined: 9/18/99 Posts: 61982
Likes: 23806

Related: Today's email from Bloomberg Technology.

I get this email every day, and today's is relevant. -- Will

I'm excited about the coming future of entertainment. The trouble is it's both very complicated and not quite what I wanted.

It's Officially A Trend that entertainment companies are fencing their programming in web gardens. Walt Disney this week said it would create at least two internet video subscription services, for ESPN and for films from Disney and Pixar. People who want to watch the coming "Star Trek" television series will need to subscribe to a $6-a-month video service from CBS. And the hundreds of video streaming services available in Roku's television app store include at least two subscription services for British television lovers (BritBox and Acorn TV).

It's easy to imagine we'll soon have to sign up for dozens of video services—with separate passwords, billing accounts and user interfaces. Choice is great. We wanted to tailor our leisure time rather than forking over $100 a month for a mishmash of cable TV channels we mostly didn't watch.

But the growing complexity makes me long for the simple days of the early 2010s when we paid one company—usually the local cable-TV provider—for a collection of channels. Maybe it's time to fall in love with the "bundle" again, or at least one with a 21st century twist. And a company with a pole position here is Amazon. Yes, them again.

I've been stunned by reports of how successful Amazon has been at funneling people using its Prime Video service into other online video services. BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield has estimated half of subscribers to the HBO Now streaming video subscription are coming through Amazon. Tens of millions of people are paying for Prime. And although not of all of them use Amazon's Netflix-like video service, many do. That gives Amazon a built-in audience to pitch add-ons like HBO or Acorn TV.
All this programming in one bill. It's like...cable TV. Roku, Apple, Comcast and others also are trying to become hubs of multiple Web video options, and Disney is positioning ESPN to combine many internet video sporting events.

The boom in streaming TV options is progress, but creating new bundles with the old compromises isn't ideal.

Right now I pay for a small number of TV channels from my local cable company, plus I have Prime Video and a subscription to DirecTV's online-only Sunday Ticket service for football games. I also download from Amazon or iTunes a handful of movies or TV seasons that aren't included in my other video subscriptions. (Yes, I'm crazy.)

I'm happy to have more programming at my fingertips but this is a poor proxy for the entertainment dream. The TV lover's Platonic ideal is to pay for only what we want. I'd like to see HBO's "Insecure," Rhett & Link's YouTube talk show, Cincinnati Bengals games and the latest "Star Wars" movie whenever I want and without going broke. I know the dream is tough given the business realities of entertainment companies. For now I'll settle for this new migraine-inducing world of bundles.—Shira Ovide

(In response to this post by Thumper)

Posted: 08/10/2017 at 1:03PM


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Current Thread:
  Related: Today's email from Bloomberg Technology. -- Will Stewart  08/10/2017 1:03PM
  Their interface to other services is nice, too... -- Freddyburg Hokie 08/10/2017 5:18PM
  Not happy with CBS's streaming service -- EDGEMAN 08/10/2017 1:07PM
  **Delete** -- The_Phew 08/10/2017 1:57PM

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