Jan 21

Thoughts On The Future of Media Consumption OR Cord Cutters Are Cheap And Will Never Get Their Way

Much has been said about HBO becoming its own standalone streaming service; how much people would be willing to pay, the economics behind it, why it won’t work, and the real demand for it. Others have foreseen it as the tipping point to the future where consumers view all TV shows online.

I looked for speculation regarding what this future would look like but I could not find much. However, my theory is that cable bundles would actually be cheaper.  TV media consumers want an a la carte system where they want a cheaper plan where they choose what channels they get. Unfortunately, big cable companies do not currently offer this and I doubt they have plans to offer it anytime soon.

The future of TV media consumption in my mind can go one of two ways.

The first option, which many people dream of before they consider the logistics and implications, is to pay the network/cable channel monthly to stream their content online.  The negative side of it this is that if you are pay the network directly and subscribe to a family of networks, the cost adds up to the equivalent of a current cable bill but you receive much less.

For example, if AMC offered a direct subscription service to access their network’s  (AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and We TV) TV shows I imagine the subscription fee would be $12-$15 a month. Tthey could easily charge more depending on their own market research and logistical costs.  You add in FX (which would include FX and FXX) subscription of $12-$15 as well, and HBO would probably be much more a month, $20-$30, on the high end of my estimated figures, you would pay approximately $60 per month for these subscriptions.

Now before you attack my estimations for being unrealistic or too high consider the following.  Networks such as FX, AMC, and HBO would have to create a new department to service its new subscribers and a marketing department to make sure people know about said plans, tasks that are currently handled by the cable companies. If you think these networks would be able to keep the big budgets of their TV shows and take on these logistical tasks for any less a month, you should work for these networks and tell them how $10 a month or less would work in this suggested distributing model. With the huge subsidies they receive from big cable companies and few logistics they have in terms of distribution and marketing their network, the monthly fees I suggest are somewhat realistic.

The second option for future TV consumptions  is that cable companies will bundle access with broadband internet plans. Comcast and Time Warner dabble in this by offering HBO Go access with internet broadband packages that include local channels. They are at least willing to work with cord cutters who want HBO but not a full cable package. My thinking is this will expand to include access to shows and movies on channels on AMC and FX. The relationship that has been established between channels and cable providers is not one that will be easily severed by channels selling directly to consumers.

I am aware that HBO offers HBO Go directly to consumers in Norway and Denmark for roughly $14 USD a month, but that is a different market with different expectations and people who think differently. When you look at it more closely it is not just HBO content on HBO Nordic, they also have access to shows in the US on Starz and SYFY. Therefore, there may be more going on behind the scenes of HBO Nordic then we may be able to convey.

I could be wrong completely and tomorrow HBO could announce HBO Go subscriptions to its consumers but it is unlikely given all the factors. Of the 105 million people in America who have cable subscriptions (including broadband) in their homes only 3 million of those are broadband only with no TV package. 30 million people subscribe to HBO in America.  HBO has probably crunched the numbers and figured that they would not  gain enough subscribers compared to how many they would lose if they went to a standalone service when you consider some cable and satellite systems may drop HBO as an option on their systems. As the cry for more TV-streaming increases  I am  sure other networks have done similar number crunching.


Jan 01

Netflix Watch Instantly Highlights For New Titles on January 1, 2013

So as it is the first of the month there is a slew of new titles available on Netflix Watch Instantly. Here are some highlights of the fresh new titles on Netflix.

Akeelah and the Bee-This award winning drama is about a young African American girl and her determination to participate in the National Spelling Bee, co-starring Laurence Fishburne and Angela Basset.

Amelie-This is a French movie from 2001 that was nominated for five Academy Awards is about a young girl, who anonymously helps people and discovers love along the way. Starring Audrey Tautou in the role that introduced her to most American movie goers.

The Amityville Horror- This is the original 1979 horror film starring Josh Brolin and Margot Kidder about a haunted house that drives the father of the family that just moved to a dark place.

As I Lay Dying-Another acclaimed movie written, directed, and starring James Franco based on the Faulkner novel of the same night. A must watch as James Franco is always making films these days, when he isn’t acting blockbusters, he is making smaller films like this.

Big Trouble in Little China-A great action film from 1986 directed by the legendary John Carpenter. A quintessential movie to see Kurt Russel in his prime.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s-The Audrey Hepburn movie to watch. This classic movie from 1961 helped make Hepburn the icon she is today as most photos shown of her are from this movie. Great romantic movie about a woman caught between the interest of two men, before this plot was over done by everyone.

Bull Durham-A great baseball movie about a young new pitcher being brought in to a struggling minor league ball club and the veteran of the team trying to make it all work. Starring Tim Robbins, Kevin Costner, and Susan Sarandon.

Days of Thunder-Tom Cruise stars in this fun movie about a fictional NASCAR driver, Cole Trickle as he tries to make it big in the sport. Co-starring Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, and John C. Reily. Yes, for those keeping score, John C Reily is in two movies involving NASCAR, Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights, sadly the latter is not on Netflix.

Ghost-This 1987 classic love story about a woman who is in love with a man who is killed too soon and they continue their romance as the man, Sam is a ghost. Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Good Burger-This 1997 family comedy is based on a sketch from the popular 90s TV show All That, it is about a small fast food place being forced out of town by a new burger place with bigger burgers. Starring Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, and Abe Vigoda.

High Anxiety-A great 1977 film from director Mel Brooks who also stars in the film playing an administrator in psych ward for nervous people. Co-starring Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachmen and Harvey Korman.

Mouse Hunt-A fun family movie is about two brothers who inherit a mansion only to find a mouse lives inside of it and that mouse is very difficult to get rid of. Starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans.

Paulie-This 1998 movie is about a talking parrot and his story about making his way back to his original owner. Starring Tony Shaloub, Jay Mohr, and Cheech Marin.

Raging Bull-This classic Martin Scorsese directed film about the self-destructive boxer Jake Lamotta, starring Robert De Niro who won an Academy Award for his performance

Saved!-This 2004 comedy is about a teenage girl who gets pregnant before her senior year at Christian high school. A very funny and poignant film about religious people and their stereotypes. Starring Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, and Macaulay Culkin.

Scrooged-It is past Christmas but this 1988 retelling of the Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, starring Bill Murray who brings a great amount of humor to the role of Scrooge.

Some Like It Hot-This 1959 comedy directed by Billy Wilder is about two musicans who witness a crime and to hide from the perpetrators they dress as women to get out of town. Starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe. This movie is #1 on the AFI top 100 comedies.

Spaceballs-Another Mel Brooks comedy, this time from 1987 and parodying sci-fi movies from the 1980s. Starring Bill Pullman, John Candy, and Rock Moranis.

The Talented Mr Ripley-This dark 1999 thriller starring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley as a scoiopath who is hired to persuade a young heiress to return to America. Co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law.

Thelma & Louise-The classic female duo movie from 1991 starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis about two women who are on the run from the law. Also starring Harvey Keitel.

West Side Story-The iconic musical from 1961 about a turf war between rival street gangs in New York City. Winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, and Russ Tamblyn.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape-A 1993 drama about a young man who is having trouble taking care of his mentally disabled brother. Starring Joh