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Kromm

Paid Streaming Services

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We've a thread here for free streaming services, so it made sense to have an overall topic for paid services as well.

 

Netflix is still king, but Hulu Plus has made some inroads.  

 

And recently HBO announced a standalone streaming service distinct from it's traditionally "wired" product.

 

The latest is CBS, and they appear to be being a bit greedy IMO.  They want to charge $6 a month, which I suppose isn't ruinous if you make them your ONLY streaming service (but not as much of a deal if it's part of a menu of 4 or 5 different services you're buying to fill all your streaming needs), but the greedy part is that they want to play ads as well--for the PAID customers I mean.  Now I believe Hulu Plus already does this, but Hulu Plus gives content from multiple networks and this new service will only give you CBS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree the CBS plan is greedy, I wonder how vast of a library of shows they would make available to subscribers? Would there be a lot of shows not being broadcast anywhere or much anymore? How much of that content would not now be available for other services like Netflix?

If cable networks start doing this I wonder if this would finally get us ala carte channels like many of us want for cable? A channel like TCM could do this already since they have a good app.

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I agree the CBS plan is greedy, I wonder how vast of a library of shows they would make available to subscribers? Would there be a lot of shows not being broadcast anywhere or much anymore? How much of that content would not now be available for other services like Netflix?

If cable networks start doing this I wonder if this would finally get us ala carte channels like many of us want for cable? A channel like TCM could do this already since they have a good app.

CBS is also offering their TV Classics of about 30 shows: various Star Treks, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, Twilight Zone, Melrose Place, MacGyver, Frasier as examples. All the popular ones play daily somewhere so the list is rather short on shows that are unavailable but I read that these will be offered without commercials.

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The thing for me is that most of CBS' shows aren't ones that demand binge watching. Twin Peaks is one of the classics but the kind of shows people usually bingewatch (Hostages, Swingtown) do terribly on CBS. I know people get sucked into NCIS marathons on cable, but is it a show a lot of people stream?

 

There are other bonuses, like apparently they'll include Big Brother feeds in the summer (which sounds like a bargain, aren't the BB feeds by themselves more than $6.99?) Still, it sounds like its a good deal only if you're really into one of their shows that isn't available elsewhere.

 

Plus, the regular CBS streaming video player is horrible. I don't get why only Hulu and some NBC Universal channels have a button that skips back ten seconds.

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The thing for me is that most of CBS' shows aren't ones that demand binge watching. Twin Peaks is one of the classics but the kind of shows people usually bingewatch (Hostages, Swingtown) do terribly on CBS. I know people get sucked into NCIS marathons on cable, but is it a show a lot of people stream?

 

There are other bonuses, like apparently they'll include Big Brother feeds in the summer (which sounds like a bargain, aren't the BB feeds by themselves more than $6.99?) Still, it sounds like its a good deal only if you're really into one of their shows that isn't available elsewhere.

 

Plus, the regular CBS streaming video player is horrible. I don't get why only Hulu and some NBC Universal channels have a button that skips back ten seconds.

 

Yea it is, but I consider NBC's to be just as bad. I gave up watching Heroes due to it. Couldn't stand the lag. CBS's I used to catch up with NCIS and Under The Dome.

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.. but the greedy part is that they want to play ads as well--for the PAID customers I mean.  Now I believe Hulu Plus already does this, but Hulu Plus gives content from multiple networks and this new service will only give you CBS.

It is not a matter of "if" but only "when" advertising becomes part of Netflix. Their business model is unsustainable without it.  With every new streaming service, there is more competition for them, and much more importantly, there is more competition for the content.

 

The CBS deal is a perfect example. CBS figures that they can make more money streaming out their library of contents than they can selling it to Netflix or Amazon. Same will hold true for HBO eventually (once their recently signed deal with Amazon expires, there is a pretty good chance they won't sell that content again.)  So where that leaves Netflix is in a position where some of their content is no longer available and therefore having to bid even more aggressively against Amazon and other competition to get the good stuff still out there for them.  And in order to pull in enough revenue to keep purchasing good content in a more competitive landscape without raising their prices 10% per year, they'll need to pick up some money from advertising.

 

This is virtually guaranteed to happen sometime in the next five years.

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That's going to be an interesting experiment. I remember the music industry's early feeble attempt at competing with Napster, no one could get along so pretty much every label had their own service which failed because even if you wanted to use a legal alternative, few people wanted to figure out who was on which service.

 

If everything becomes an exclusive to one service or another, we'll be in a world where you have to keep track of what show is on which service this week. We're already on that path and it doesn't always match up with the network that broadcasts it (for example Justified is exclusive to Amazon, The Bridge is exclusive to Hulu and I think American Horror Story is in a few places)... so will the slow transition make it easier to accept? Of course, there's already confusion about why, for example, CBS' streaming service has Cheers and Twin Peaks. We may be entertained by the title cards but few people know which conglomerate owns which show.

 

There's also the question of what happens with the current content providers. Will FX start selling access to FXNow separate from a cable sub, too ?  They may try to have an archive of their shows like HBOGO -- except does Fox own all of FX's old shows? Netflix is key to The CW's budget, can a CW subscription service make as much revenue as Netflix pays them? Of course, that's why Netflix is making original shows, so it won't just be a content re-distributor.

 

It'll be interesting to see what happens, too, if we go all out on this we'd actually see what happens when customers can choose between a la carte (buying HBO and CBS separately) or bundling (buying from services who use content from a variety of networks).

Edited by Wax Lion
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I hope it leads to bundling. For one, I don't watch tv on the tv  because I don't have one. I use the online service and HBO Go. It would be great to have like a pick 7 for 40 bucks a month or something. 

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Bundling would require agreements between these folks though. I think the very reason a lot of them are heading intotheir own territory is that they didn't like the Hulu type model where they simply got a share of a bigger pie (which bundling would essentially be all over again, except maybe they'd get to sell their own ad space--which admittedly MIGHT be enough to make a difference to them). So we will see.

Edited by Kromm

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Here's the fallacy in that article:

 

 

As a result, the pay-TV industry will need to create smaller, cheaper, broadband-only bundles.

Maybe that makes sense, but it probably won't happen.  What will probably happen instead are bundles that cost just as much as the traditional over-plumped 500 channel TV bundles... only on the Internet and with ten channels instead of 500.

 

Greed, y'all.  That's how it will probably go down.  The one benefit is that they'll be ON DEMAND channels by nature and not just playing stuff unwatched.  So there's that.

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If I were an outfit like HBO or Showtime I'd also see this as a huge opportunity in another way.

 

People steal copies of their original programming anyway.  That won't change, be they traditional cable, streaming, whatever.

 

So here's the model I'd switch to if I was them.

 

First broadcast is pegged to a specific time--EVEN if it's streamed online--and has ads and is FREE.

 

Any time delay broadcast is part of their normal subscription streaming service (be that ad supported or not--but is also inherently paid for either on its own or as part of a bundle of streaming channels).

 

The thing is that a streaming mode by default is going to shatter traditional program metering a bit anyway (in many ways it will work much better, but they won't be able to get intelligent data for weeks, whereas traditional ratings response is a day or two tops and lots of stuff is built around that assumption).  To pushing people to a free "first" steaming has some advantages, even for the traditional cable outlets.

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I think Starz is also offering an online streaming. 

It seems like it is getting to the point where you might as well just keep cable. I mean if you need to subscribe to netflix and hulu plus and amazon and HBO and CBS and Starz and AMC and Disney and Showtime (since you know those guys are going to get in on the action) and then pay like 8 different bills just to get what you are currently getting it seems like it would get to the point where it is no longer worth it. Especially when you factor in that you would need to pay for an internet plan with unlimited bandwidth to cover all the extra usage. Unless they are going to all offer streaming exclusives, it might be potentially cheaper to just have cable.

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But the point of the article is that if you get an HBO service, Amazon, and Netflix, you pretty much have all the good shows. You just have to wait for them longer. It's not going to happen for a while and people have to stop getting cable. 

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But the point of the article is that if you get an HBO service, Amazon, and Netflix, you pretty much have all the good shows. You just have to wait for them longer. It's not going to happen for a while and people have to stop getting cable. 

Maybe, except I see it becoming a lot more fractured. I mean like JTMacc said above, if HBO's service takes off they are probably not going to bother to continue selling their back library to Amazon. I can see the same thing happening with CBS and other channels that start their own service. Why sell your product to Netflix only to have them compete with you directly for subscribers? Everyone is going to expect to get paid, it is just a matter of changing who you pay your bill to I think.

Edited by Kel Varnsen
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That's fine, but they're talking about right now. Clearly, that will change in years to come. They're just speculating on what HBO effect is on the tv landscape and how TPTBs at networks don't quite know how people watch tv. 

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That's fine, but they're talking about right now. Clearly, that will change in years to come. They're just speculating on what HBO effect is on the tv landscape and how TPTBs at networks don't quite know how people watch tv. 

Who is they? A number of articles have been linked so I am not really sure what you are talking about. 

 

One article I did read had an interesting comment. In a world where a cable channel becomes a subscription based thing, rather than a cable thing, Mad Men doesn't get made. Alan Sepinwall noted that in the article he posted about the CBS streaming service. Basically the only reason AMC was able to make Mad Men was because they made enough money off their carriage fees to develop it. If AMC was only making money off streaming survivors, there wouldn't have been enough revenue for that show to happen.

 

http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/a-la-carte-racing-cbs-offers-cbs-all-access-subscription-service

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As what was noted earlier one would need to factor in the broadband costs as well. The article alludes to the potential for suppliers (Comcast, for example) raising their broadband rates to make up the losses they could have from a dwindling cable subscriber population.

This could become very interesting as time goes on.

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As what was noted earlier one would need to factor in the broadband costs as well. The article alludes to the potential for suppliers (Comcast, for example) raising their broadband rates to make up the losses they could have from a dwindling cable subscriber population.

This could become very interesting as time goes on.

Of course the other interesting thing, since you brought up comcast is that they basically own the entire supply chain when it comes to TV shows. The shows are produced by NBC/Universal, they are broadcast on NBC, they are delivered to your house either by means of comcast cable service or your comcast internet. And they even own a stake in Hulu. I am sure their shareholders like to make money so I would expect that if revenue at NBC or their cable division went down they would find ways to make it up in the other divisions. Especially Hulu usage and internet usage were increasing. Or they would just do a crazy amount of cost slashing with respect to the shows being produced.  

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Guest Accused Dingo

This all could be interesting depending on how much tv you acctually watch. I have friends who pretty much live on a couple of channels so shelling out a moderate amout of money for a couple of channels would actually save them money instead of paying for 100 channeld they really don't watch. Me on the other hand watch a couple shows on this channel, a couple on that, a few on that one, maybe one or two no that kne. Maybe i don't watch 100 chanels (who actually does?) but paying per channel will add up. Unless the networks decide to bundle in some way. There will have to be some sort of bundling or alot of is will have to cut down on channelss we really do watch.

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Whatever happens, I feel certain the business models will still be based on screwing the subscribers.

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Maybe, except I see it becoming a lot more fractured. I mean like JTMacc said above, if HBO's service takes off they are probably not going to bother to continue selling their back library to Amazon. I can see the same thing happening with CBS and other channels that start their own service. Why sell your product to Netflix only to have them compete with you directly for subscribers? Everyone is going to expect to get paid, it is just a matter of changing who you pay your bill to I think.

And this is why I'm not convinced bundling will happen.  Most of them won't see it as being in their own best self-interest to bundle with other streaming services for a discount, when they can charge at least ten or twelve dollars a month all on their own.

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Whatever happens, I feel certain the business models will still be based on screwing the subscribers.

I am certain that you are correct and that pisses me off as it's my understanding that the airwaves are publicly owned and leased to cable companies for a stupidly cheap rate and then they jack the prices way up on we, the consumers.

I don't see the pay-per-channel for streaming plus a cable bill taking off, though. I can see that working for the more prestige-based networks, but is the market really there for a streaming channel that is half NCIS/CSI/Insert acronym here? Besides, a DVR costs about $15-20 per month on average. So for that price I can record basically whatever I want when I want it. If your show doesn't interest me enough to make it onto my DVR schedule right away and you're going to make it difficult for me to see, then you lose eyeballs and revenue and I can go read a book.

It might work in limited capacity but I can't see every network trying it because they need us every bit as much as (if not more than) we need them and if the cost of doing business gets too high I think people will pirate the shows or will start to cut out the non-essentials.

Edited by BabyVegas
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And this is why I'm not convinced bundling will happen.  Most of them won't see it as being in their own best self-interest to bundle with other streaming services for a discount, when they can charge at least ten or twelve dollars a month all on their own.

Bundling probably won't happen between different corporations. But at the same time I can see some of the bigger media corps having separate mini streaming services and then bundles. Like you could have an MTV streaming service, a Spike TV service and a Nickelodeon service for separate prices, or for $20 you can have the Viacom bundle which has their shows and the Paramount film library.  Time Warner could easily do the same thing by having an HBO service, then a service for all of their Turner channels (CNN/TBS/TNT) then the Warner bros film library.  For one low price you could bundle all of those.  Same for NBC/Universal. If the HBO thing is a success and the CBS thing is as well I wonder how long it would take for these media companies assume that they would be better off on their own rather than selling their content to netflix?

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That's what I'm thinking. I don't watch CBS at all, nor the Turner channels. I'd rather pay for two or streaming packages and have access across devices.

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That's what I'm thinking. I don't watch CBS at all, nor the Turner channels. I'd rather pay for two or streaming packages and have access across devices.

But CBS is not just "what's on CBS today".  It's their entire back-catalog. It gets confusing though when you get to certain parts of the back catalog where you have to draw a line between what's Viacom and what's CBS, but I'm sure those entities themselves know what's what, even if we don't. Nevertheless, it's going to be more than just a case of thinking about what you currently watch, and more about what older shows you want access to (of course the answer might be "none", in which case "I don't watch CBS at all" is a workable answer).

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My answer is none. I don't watch CBS at all. There's so much original content now that access to old shows isn't a draw for me. I think I watch 5-7 networks total and even those are subs of others; i.e., getting an NBC package would give me NBC sports so I would watch soccer games on Saturday mornings. Or a Fox package is Fox, FX, FXX, Fox sports. If they all charged 7.99 a month, the total would be half of my current cable bill.

 

I don't have a dvr. I can watch live tv on my computer, which I don't since the shows I like are on too late. The only good thing about my cable is the shows are posted via the xfinity website the next day. And I use HBO go to watch those shows on my phone anyway. 

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The other thing to consider is the quality of the player. I wouldn't be willing to pay for a CBS subscription because their streaming player is awful and inconsistent. Part of the reason I'm willing to pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime and would prefer to watch on Hulu over the individual network sites is that I can actually watch a video without it buffering 10+ times. I guess it's the market forces in action and right now I don't see that the product that CBS is offering matches with the level of expectation in the market.

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The other thing to consider is the quality of the player. I wouldn't be willing to pay for a CBS subscription because their streaming player is awful and inconsistent. Part of the reason I'm willing to pay for Netflix and Amazon Prime and would prefer to watch on Hulu over the individual network sites is that I can actually watch a video without it buffering 10+ times. I guess it's the market forces in action and right now I don't see that the product that CBS is offering matches with the level of expectation in the market.

That is actually a good point, the player and how the system works is a big thing. I think it was on Shark Tank last year that Mark Cuban mentioned that a big part of the value that Netflix has is their system along with their recommendation algorithm. That algorithm they have been building since they were doing DVD's by mail. Although I imagine for these other companies improving their player just takes time, and I imagine if their libraries are good enough, or if their cost is low enough, people will put up with a not as good player.

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A question about CBS' service. I thought I saw it discussed like this means CBS would be pulling the free episodes off their website (in hindsight, this might just be Alan Sepinwall) but I haven't seen any sign of them doing this. Free episodes are still available, so I suspect the reason to subscribe may be 1) fewer ads (but still ads) and 2) access to full seasons instead of just the most reason episodes. Does anyone know?

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A question about CBS' service. I thought I saw it discussed like this means CBS would be pulling the free episodes off their website (in hindsight, this might just be Alan Sepinwall) but I haven't seen any sign of them doing this. Free episodes are still available, so I suspect the reason to subscribe may be 1) fewer ads (but still ads) and 2) access to full seasons instead of just the most reason episodes. Does anyone know?

I've been assuming that it means there's an expiration date on those free episodes.  And I wouldn't assume "this season" as the likely barrier, but more likely something like "they'll only keep the last one or two episodes free".

 

They'll want to keep the time-delayed viewers who can't necessarily watch when something airs, and use the free airing for that limited period to add to the formal show ratings, but they don't want to really give anyone anything free when less is in it for them. Ergo, with a few exceptions for lesser watched shows they may want to promote wider viewership overall for (those they'll leave full seasons), my bet is if they aren't already aging popular show episodes off sooner... they will be eventually.

 

This is the opposite of Hulu though, where the latest episode needs the pay service and the older (for the current season) don't (but older seasons usually go back to the pay service). But Hulu cares less about adding ratings to currently airing shows and more about the hard push to the pay service.

Edited by Kromm
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And I wouldn't assume "this season" as the likely barrier, but more likely something like "they'll only keep the last one or two episodes free".

 

Just to be clear, that's what I meant, that maybe now only a few episodes will be available without a sub but the whole season will be available to subscribers. I was confused because I saw some talk that suggested CBS would completely pull  their online episodes... which struck me as a way to do long term damage for short-term benefit.

 

I'm a Hulu Plus subscriber and I have a hard time figuring out what I'm getting extra, except for the ability to stream on streaming devices. I know I get next-day access to ABC and Fox, that there are some shows I get to go back more than five episodes. I think most of the Hulu originals don't require a subscription, which seems odd.

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I was playing around with my blu-ray player on the weekend and thinking of this thread, I was surprised that Sony hasn't gotten in on the paid streaming, monthly service act. I mean they have crackle their free streaming service, and they have Sony Video Unlimited which is their on demand paid movie service (which seems to have 1000's of movies). Considering the number of tv shows and movies they produce, and the fact that they have already built the delivery system for streaming those shows and movies, why is there no crackle plus or something?

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I'm a Hulu Plus subscriber and I have a hard time figuring out what I'm getting extra, except for the ability to stream on streaming devices. I know I get next-day access to ABC and Fox, that there are some shows I get to go back more than five episodes. I think most of the Hulu originals don't require a subscription, which seems odd.

Here's what I don't get about Hulu Plus, if I'm paying why am I getting so many commercials?  Even in older episodes.  I started watching NuWho on Hulu but gave up and finished on Netflix which doesn't have commercials.  What is the big difference between the two that I pay about the same but one has commercials (and so many of them)?

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I prefer Netflix, but we also have Hulu Plus. I like Hulu Plus. There aren't that many commercials, and there are a lot of shows on there that Netflix doesn't have. For example, I really like Waking the Dead but Netflix only has the first five seasons, whereas Hulu has all of them. I can't watch them with regular Hulu. I'm ok with the commercials on Hulu Plus because there aren't that many, and really, they only add, like, 5 minutes to the show. I do prefer Netflix, though.

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I now prefer Hulu Plus since Netflix's player still uses Silverlight, a dying tech that I don't want to install on my new computer (I just don't want to install something that's barely supported for just one site), so I have to use a device to watch Netflix. If I want to watch a TV show while working on my TV, Hulu works and Netflix doesn't.

 

I'm mostly okay with the ads on Hulu. They tell you how long the commercial break will be and don't make them really long. I only get frustrated because it seems like my Roku player keeps getting the same ads, which isn't such a problem on the web.

 

Then again, with Hulu's ads I tend to compare it to the networks' ads, which are frequently awful, bit I should take that to the other thread.

 

That said, I'm thrilled so many Hulu movies are ad-free.

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Maybe, except I see it becoming a lot more fractured. I mean like JTMacc said above, if HBO's service takes off they are probably not going to bother to continue selling their back library to Amazon. I can see the same thing happening with CBS and other channels that start their own service. Why sell your product to Netflix only to have them compete with you directly for subscribers? Everyone is going to expect to get paid, it is just a matter of changing who you pay your bill to I think.

I work in and around the industries we are talking about here, and I added the bold because that is absolutely the point I would hope everybody comes to accept.

 

The amount of money passing through this economy is something I don't think I really appreciated until I learned how it all works.  Using AMC as an example, take a look at this article. It talks about the business of AMC. It shows that AMC gets its revenue about 60% from us paying a monthly fee to our cable company and 40% from advertising revenue because people actually watch some of their shows.

 

It also shows that in 2011 AMC was collecting about $0.23 a month from us and then they jacked it up about 50% (slightly more than the rate of inflation) to $0.33 by 2013.  These are numbers that don't seem like a big deal. I mean, if I could pay a $1.00 per month for AMC, I would.  But there are other factors that are harder to see. AMC is carried in about 100 million homes in the United states because it only allows cable and satellite companies to carry it as a basic cable channel. So they are assured to collect that $0.33 per month for 100 million homes whether or not those homes wants it.  And also important is that the article notes the $0.33 rate, but AMC Networks doesn't just sell AMC. It has four networks and they don't sell AMC without also selling WE, Sundance, and IFC. So AMC Networks actually collects quite a bit more than $0.33 per month from us.

 

You can see this by looking at page 20 of their most recent financial filing. (Feel free to trust me on this one if you don't like reading SEC filings.)  AMC Networks recorded $234 million dollars for distribution for the three months ended 06/30/2014.  If you assume that means they have four networks in all of the 100 million homes with basic cable, that means they're collecting about $0.78 per month from me through my cable company. (To be fair, I'm not sure where they're dumping the revenue they get for licensing Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and Mad Men to Netflix and DVD sales, but it is probably in "Distribution" and would pull this per subscriber rate down a few cents. It wouldn't be a lot compared to what they get from us each month, but it is definitely part of the equation I'm skipping over.) Plus the $164 million of advertising represents about another $0.55 per paying subscriber.  Still not a lot of money, BUT what would this economy look like if they decided to just sell me AMC directly from now on and skipping the whole cable distribution thing?

 

Well, they'll need to still pull in $936 million annually from fees plus $652 million from advertising. Let's round it to $1.6 billion of revenue they need to make annually to keep making and developing new shows like Breaking Bad.

 

I will generously assume that AMC could get 20 million people willing to pay for them in a pure a la carte world where we could either choose to pay for the AMC Networks like I pay for HBO in my cable package or skip cable entirely and stream it directly from AMC  The first thing that happens is that the advertising revenue takes a hit because the number of eyes watching their content goes down materially simply by losing all of the casual viewers.  Let's cut it to $350 million, so now they need to still make $1.2 billion from distribution revenue. Divide that by 20 million and then by 12 months and we'd be looking at $5.00 before the cable and satellite companies tack on a buck or two for delivery JUST FOR AMC, WE, IFC and Sundance.

 

And that is why the enormous amounts of money flowing through the current distribution model is making the evolution of streaming video services not go as fast as we would like to go.  The people and companies who make new TV shows benefit greatly from their current distribution model, and it is unlikely they'll be changing things until they are sure they don't lose a single dollar in the transition.

Edited by JTMacc99
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That was extremely interesting. I think that is the basis for what Alan Sepinwall said about how if AMC was on some sort of direct subscription model, then Mad Men probably doesn't happen.  Because prior to Mad Men, AMC didn't have anything near enough content to be making the money to be able to afford to develop the show (if the only people they were making money off of were people actually wanting the channel).

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I caught an ad this morning for shomi.com, a new streaming service in Canada.  It doesn't officially start up until later this month, so I can't sneak a peak at their library, but from the looks of it, it has a lot of the movies and shows that Netflix Canada doesn't carry.  Here's hoping they stream some of the shows on Hulu that we can't watch up here, too.

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That was extremely interesting. I think that is the basis for what Alan Sepinwall said about how if AMC was on some sort of direct subscription model, then Mad Men probably doesn't happen.  Because prior to Mad Men, AMC didn't have anything near enough content to be making the money to be able to afford to develop the show (if the only people they were making money off of were people actually wanting the channel).

Indeed, that is exactly what he was saying.  And if we look closely, we can see that the a version of the same business model is in play with the other three AMC Networks right now.

 

Because AMC is popular, they have the power to force cable and satellite companies to also carry IFC, Sundance and WE TV along side of AMC on the basic packages.  AMC Networks can use the monthly fees it collects for the other three networks that people would VERY LIKELY NOT choose to pay for in their cable packages if given the choice, and use that money to purchase and develop new content with the hope that something hits and one of those networks becomes a must have the way AMC did. 

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Thanks TeslaNewton and Wax Lion for the comparison of Netflix and Hulu Plus.  I guess I just had to adjust how I think about the service.  I'll take another look before deciding whether or not to let it go.

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The big drawback for shomi is that it appears you have to be a customer of either Rogers or Shaw for either cable or internet to even be able to get it.

I think that's just the beta.  (At least, I hope it is. Rogers isn't even available in my area, and Bell's got the satellite market sewn up here.)

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I think that's just the beta.  (At least, I hope it is. Rogers isn't even available in my area, and Bell's got the satellite market sewn up here.)

This article I found says just for Shaw and Rogers customers without mentioning anything about beta phase:

 

http://globalnews.ca/news/1527031/rogers-shaw-launch-shomi-video-streaming-service/

 

Not that it means it is true, but Global is owned by Shaw so you would hope they could get their facts straight.

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Thanks JTMacc for the above info.  I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime, haven't sprung for Hulu Plus yet.   I'll probably stick with cable for most of my entertainment.  I know lots of people who want to "cut the cord" but it's just not practical for me.   I get absolutely no television reception over the air so I have to get cable to be able to watch anything on TV.  I do get HBO as my only premium channel.  I don't really have the patience to keep track of what shows are on what networks, I just want to watch shows I like.  If I tried to do everything streaming, I'd need to figure out who was streaming what and if it was worth the $7-10 a month to watch just those few shows.  And of course then there's the problem of what happens when a new show comes up on a network that I don't normally watch, I probably wouldn't be willing to start subscribing if it turns I don't like the show, whereas if I get it with my cable subscription, I can just cancel the season pass on my DVR if I don't like it. 

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ALenore, you are pretty much tied to the Pay TV model until it just becomes too expensive or enough other options show up to make it palatable for you to get out. I, unfortunately, love TV and am tied into pay TV model because I would be very unhappy with modifying the way I watch TV and the loss of certain sports TV I can't get any other way.

 

I've found ways to lower my bill. I discovered that Time Warner Cable has a Roku app which allowed me to get rid of the $10 boxes on the lesser watched TVs in my home. Which is interesting because becoming a regular user of the Roku device to watch regular TV actually increase the amount of streaming we do from Netflix and Amazon.  As long as we're streaming, might as well check out the other stuff, right? And since the Roku has a whole bunch of lesser used services to choose from, I've found all sorts of miscellaneous crap that interests me. 

 

If anything, streaming hasn't replaced my regular TV watching. It just increased the total.

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It's already nearing that point for me tbh. I already pay over $100 for tv and internet bundled (UVerse). And every so often they try to raise the prices some more. They're really, really pushing it imo.

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