Sony on Wednesday launched PlayStation Vue in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Starting at $49.99 a month, the service offers more than 50 channels, including local CBS, Fox and NBC signals, and cable channels such as USA, TBS, Fox News and Discovery. Special features include the availability of the past three days of popular programming and personalization features based on a user’s viewing habits.
No single streaming service offers everything. And you still need to pay for your Internet connection, typically at a higher price when unbundled from your TV service. Depending on how and what you watch, cutting the cord won’t necessarily save you money. Here are things to consider.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodine, Daredevil and the return of Orange is the New Black mean Netflix is still the best spot in rapidly expanding OTT land.
Despite reports that NBCUniversal is not involved in negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription TV replacement service, NBC still hopes to arrive on the Apple TV as soon as the second half of 2015, according to a source with knowledge of NBC’s digital roadmap.
Apple Inc.’s lofty plans to build an online television service are coming into sharper focus, according to The Wall Street Journal. The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people, say people familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox, and would cost $30-$45 a month. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
Tribune Broadcasting will deliver online video reports from 30 of its TV stations to users of Watchup, a startup whose service delivers personalized newscasts to Internet-video devices. Tribune Media last fall led a $2.75 million round of funding in Watchup. Watchup users now can access local news segments from stations including KTLA Los Angeles, WGN Chicago and WPIX New York.
CBS affiliates’ “piece of the action” for participating in the CBS All Access OTT service is up to $1 per sub per month, according to a “template” agreement between the network and the affiliate board. CBS is offering the service in its O&O markets for $5.99 a month.
If you are thinking about dropping your cable/satellite subscription — and really, who isn’t? — one of the necessary exercises is to figure out what network shows you will lose easy access to, and, significantly, how many of them you can get via subscription online video on demand outlets.
HBO and ESPN have long been cited as a chief reason people keep their pay TV bundles, amid a growing practice of “cord cutting.” But last month, Dish started making ESPN available as part of a $20-a-month online television package called Sling TV. Now, HBO will offer its movies and shows over the Internet for $15 a month. Here are some things to know before you rush out to cancel your cable service.
The Apple Watch stole the spotlight at the tech company’s media extravaganza Monday. But it was an announcement at the same event, made by HBO, that marks a true turning point. “This is the moment,” said James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research. “We’ll look back and say this was when the game was fundamentally changed.”
Apple and HBO announced a deal today. Starting in early April, the $14.99 monthly service HBO Now will let users stream HBO movies and TV shows on iPads, iPhones and Apple TV — without having to sign up for a cable subscription at all. This is the first time that HBO is allowing for standalone service.
NBCUniversal is preparing to launch a subscription digital comedy service aimed at millennial viewers who watch hours of entertainment on digital devices rather than the old-school TV. NBC’s proposed over-the-top service is expected to launch later this year, according to two executives familiar with the plans
Apple is reportedly in talks with TV executives about deals that would allow it to offer an OTT pay TV service like Dish’s Sling TV. Talks seem to be in the early stages, with issues like timing and pricing far from ironed out, and Apple won’t comment on the effort.
Over the last several years,companies like Netflix and Aereo have started to chip away at the traditional cable model, leading to incremental change across the industry, writes Braxton Jarrett, CEO of Clearleap. Recent announcements of streaming services from HBO and CBS are a clear indicator that the pace of change is about to drastically speed up, and what was once a slow-moving evolution is getting a shot in the arm.
CBS News chief David Rhodes talks about the network’s decision to launch a streaming news service — CBSN — as part of a strategy to uphold his network’s brand and format while also attracting the viewers that will keep it in business decades from now.
The migration of TV to platforms like the Internet represents a “massive transition in technology, user interfaces and the nature” of the television industry, says FX CEO John Landgraf. “As long as we and others are able to innovate and invest, it’s great for the consumer” since competition will result in “the best possible work.”
CBS wants you to watch more of The Good Wife and Blue Bloods — even if you don’t use the company’s broadcast-television network to do it. The company is readying a promotional blitz for its newly launched All Access subscription-video-on-demand service on the broadcast network and across its many digital properties..
“We could say fairly definitively, sometime in ’15, there will be some service from Showtime,” Moonves, president-CEO of CBS, said during the company’s earnings call with analysts.
Heavy video streaming may not necessarily be cannibalizing traditional pay TV — it may be helping out in some cases, according to one survey. A report from Kantar’s TNS media consultancy, says that “while streamers are more likely than non-streamers to downgrade their level of traditional pay TV service — 9% versus 6% — they are also more likely to upgrade their level of service — 16% versus 6%. And of those that make improvements? Those consumers who many pay TV providers fear losing — young viewers and millennials.
As Internet-video options proliferate, consumers will have a growing list of reasons to stop paying $90 or more per month for multichannel television. And the jockeying is now under way among programmers and distributors to prep the life rafts if viewers decide to jump en masse.
American Cable Association President Matthew Polka: “The arrival of CBS All Access means at least two positive developments: The forces in favor of consumer choice have won the debate and critics like TVFreedom need to find a new agenda because it is impossible for broadcasters to explain how it’s possible to be ‘just a little a la carte.’ “
Next up to jump on the unbundling bandwagon may be Starz: The premium cable channel is planning to launch an online-only subscription service in international markets over the coming months, and Starz CEO Chris Albrecht suggested during the company’s earnings call Thursday that it will likely do the same in the U.S.
The new streaming offerings from HBO and CBS are early signs that regular television is the new AM radio, writes Kevin Maney in Newsweek. The forces at work, driven by the Internet and data, add up to a giant generational shift toward a 21st century, free-form, urban, mobile lifestyle and away from the schedules, structures, suburbs, offices and marriages of the post-World War II era. In this new environment, the old model of broadcast TV will last about as long as an ice cube in a freshly poured glass of bourbon.
NBCU CEO Steve Burke’s statement that he was surprised at the moves by HBO and CBS to offer streaming services is a bit surprising for a few reasons, one being that neither service came completely out of left field. And contrary to Burke, HBO and CBS aren’t likely to cannabalize their cable revenue or find the online distribution business particularly tough.
Steve Burke, CEO, said today that he was taken aback by the announcements last week that HBO and CBS are offering online-only services that don’t require a cable subscription, he said in an investor call this morning. “I was surprised,” Burke said. “CBS I was surprised because they’ve been such a defender of retransmission consent and the traditional ecosystem and been so successful in the broadcast business. And HBO, because I think it’s going to be such a challenge for them to not cannibalize what is already a really, really good business.”
Streaming services from HBO and CBS don’t signal television’s capitulation to Netflix and the Web; it’s actually the opposite, as the medium expands yet again to gobble up more revenue. “A funny thing happened during the Internet’s seemingly epochal displacement of mainstream media. While digital media was becoming overwhelmingly ad-supported — a mass-media model reminiscent of the three-network era — television gained a subscription revenue stream,” says journalist Michael Wolff.
With two swift strokes, HBO and CBS have opened new doors to a future where you won’t have to pay for a huge bundle of channels to get their TV shows. Now the questions are which networks will follow suit — and how seriously the movement will threaten the highly profitable $80 billion pay TV sector.
Sinclair’s tech guru Mark Aitken urges engineers to make sure they keep their management aware of the threat from OTT video providers. “The broadcast industry really has to unite, at least in a virtual sense, to look at what can we do to become a viable competitor in today’s marketplace,” he says. Advertising dollars have begun to leave the local TV market in favor of new media alternatives, he said. While the shift is small today, if left unchallenged “it will be a sorry state of affairs 10 years from now if we are still around.”
Combining current streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access and the expected price of HBO’s service, which starts next year, would run you about half of the average price of monthly cable and satellite television service. If you’re a sports fan, sorry, the streaming services won’t do it for you alone. But adding an a la carte option to your basic cable subscription might offer you more choice than buying up on the next rung of your cable or satellite service.
For all those cable haters out there, sorry: Cutting the cord won’t mean cutting out your cable provider. They often own some of your favorite channels (Comcast owns NBC Universal, parent of Bravo and USA) and in most areas they are the gatekeepers to the Internet. Offering popular channels like HBO over streaming could actually help cable companies sell more expensive broadband services to customers. “The cable business is evolving from mainly selling you a pay TV package to mainly selling you a broadband Internet service,” says FBR Research analyst Barton Crockett.
Not so long ago, people argued that HBO wasn’t going to unbundle anytime soon, or ever. So what changed?
While all the broadcast networks are working on some form of streaming service, CBS’s version unveiled yesterday is different. It combines its on-demand offerings and station streaming into one service marketed directly to consumers. CBS is creating a whole new revenue stream for itself as well as its affiliates who choose to stream their signals locally on the platform.
The two announcements of online streaming services look to be a big step toward allowing consumers to choose some or all of their TV channels, rather than having fat program bundles forced on them by pay TV providers.
Don’t care to pay for cable? Get ready for a slew of Internet-based TV alternatives promising cheaper service. AT&T, DirecTV, Dish Network, Sony and Verizon are all readying “over-the-top” online video services that bypass the cable or satellite-TV bundle.
While traditional TV networks don’t seem to be moving quickly to higher-quality TV technology, aggressive competition from over-the-top TV-video services — like Netflix, Vudu with more HD content — will push the market.