21 Nov 2016

ICYMI #StreamingBuzz NOV 21 - Brown Sugar App, DirecTV Now Launch, China and the EPL, Hulu VGP

Bounce TV announces a new live streaming app for Brown Sugar, AT&T's highly-anticipated DirecTV Now service is getting ready for its blast off, China's Suning pays big bucks for the English Premier League rights, and more in this week's ICYMI Streaming Buzz.

 

Brown Sugar Streaming App, “Just Like Netflix, Only Blacker”

Forty-plus years after Blaxploitation broke new ground for African Americans in film, Bounce TV, the African-American broadcast network, has launched the Brown Sugar streaming app on iOS and Android, offering customers with an “extensive library of iconic black movies, all un-edited and commercial-free as they were originally seen in theaters,” the network said in a statement.

Brown Sugar classic film offerings include: The Mack, Foxy Brown, Shaft, Super Fly, Dolemite, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Uptown Saturday Night, Cooley High, Three The Hard Way, Coffy, Black Caesar, Five on the Black Hand Side, Cleopatra Jones, Mandingo, Willie Dynamite, Which Way is Up?, Car Wash, The Original Gangstas.

Fred “The Hammer” Williamson and Pam Grier, known to all as “the King and Queen of the genre,” are official Brown Sugar ambassadors along with the world-renowned rap artist and producer, Rick Ross. "You can see the influence of these movies in every aspect of rap and hip-hop; in the music, the lyrics, the fashion and overall style," said Ross.

Similar to other SVOD providers, consumers can try out the service in Brown Sugar's free trail, with subscriptions at $3.99 a month. I would pay that monthly just for "I’m Gonna Git You Sucka," a film in Brown Sugar's 'Jive Turkey' film catgory, along with 'Good Cop, Black Cop', '#Blacklove', 'Stickin' It To The Man', and 'Foxy Mama'. Dy-no-mite!

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AT&T Readies to Launch DirecTV Now With a NYC Bash

Will next Monday, November 28, be the day when DirecTV Now makes all the details of its service known? After numerous rumors, leaked reports, and speculations, AT&T has sent out invites to the press for their DirecTV Now launch.

This should shed light on which 100-channels will actually be included in the $35 base price, what additional packages will be available (premium and sports channels), and if that report from Variety is still true, that AT&T will give away an Apple TV ($140 retail value) to consumers who commit to at least three months, or an Amazon Fire TV ($40 retail value) for a one-month commitment. As compared to Hulu's live streaming TV announcement that included both Fox Sports channels and ESPN, the Variety report stated ESPN was not expected to be included in the DirecTV Now offering - but - there could be the potential for using DirecTV Now credentials to sign into ESPN's live programming on WatchESPN.com, similar to how cable subscription credentials work.

After using Sling for the last month, DirectTV Now is looking a lot more enticing, especially if they have a more robust sports offering. Sling offers NBCSN but without CNBC and NBCSN Extra Time, which for English Premier League fans, falls short, as concurrent matches air on those channels. Meanwhile, Comcast continues to sit on its sans-cable streaming hands.

 

 

How Amazon’s Video Streaming Play is Biting at Netflix’s Heels

In January of this year, Netflix spread its streaming wings into 190 countries, all with one full swoop. Amazon has been on Netflix’s heels ever since, as one would expect. And while the Bezos-run company took eleven months to catch up, it looks like Prime Video will expand from only streaming in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, to 200 countries in December, including India, which was announced this past July.

The new broke from the hosts – James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson - of the newly launched The Grand Tour, an Amazon Original Series formally known as Top Gear on BBC. The series first aired on November 18 after the teaser video gave the ‘going global’ news in true Top Gear fashion (sorry, the new name will take some getting used to), including a bit of self-deprecation and sarcasm along with a few informative facts.

One important note that wasn’t included in The Grand Tour video was that this Amazon show is the only one that will go global in December. No idea on what’s happening from there or when.

t may be due to the pesky issue of domestic versus international licensing, which is not an issue for Original content but is one that becomes more of a pain when ‘going global’ with movies and TV shows acquired from studios. Why Amazon isn’t opening the gates on their other Original shows like Transparentin December also goes unanswered.

Amazon’s 200-country number exceeds Netflix’s reach by 10 countries, and it’s not exactly clear which countries Amazon will open up in over time with their SVOD full library. One can’t help but wonder if China may be in the mix, a country that has thus far, eluded Netflix, and one where Amazon began offering its Prime shipping service this past October.

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China’s Suning Goes All In Times 10 on English Premier League Football

Retail giant, Suning, had already paid $300 million for a controlling state in Inter Milan after also acquiring video streaming company PPTV three years ago, and then laid down $265 million for a five-year rights deal with La Liga. Their focus on the growth of football in China is clear, and PPTV’s next logical step was to go big with THE English Premier League.

Big, to the tune of $700 million for a three-year deal for 2019-2022, which is ten times larger than the current $20 million per season deal Super Sports Media Group has for airing EPL in China. This deal even outweighs what NBC dealt at the table; $1 billion for a six-year deal. According to Quartz, “For 2016 to 2019, the Premier League will generate over £8.3 billion ($10.3 billion) from new contracts with global broadcasters, a 50% surge from the previous three-season period.”

At this rate, the EPL is like, “Barclay’s who? We don’t need no stinkin’ sponsor!”

Considering PPTV’s streaming capabilities, in two year’s time a streaming sports package for EPL in China is likely to be a big part of the rollout, which should please Chinese President, Xi Jinping, known to be a big football fan.

 

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Hulu Prepares for Live TV with Recommendation Tech Acquisition

Similar to the hundreds of subgenres Netflix uses to deliver film and TV recommendations to its users, Hulu has acquired The Video Genome Project (The VGP), which has been maintaining and aggregating one of the largest databases of video content. Speed through acquisition is key for Hulu, whose plans to launch a rival live TV service will arrive soon, as in early 2017.

Wading through a sea of hundreds and hundreds of films and TV show on just one content platform like Netflix is a challenge, let alone when users may be subscribing to additional platforms like Hulu. VGP with its large database has the potential to be able to tap into minute metadata, correlating beyond just a 'dark comedy' subgenre for Shut Eye and go deeper, into films set in Los Angeles, into other films that star that actors, and then align that metadata to viewership behaviors. According to Hulu's announcement, "Seventy-five percent of all viewing on Hulu is driven by recommended programming," so by bringing on VGP, the user experience can become even more personalized.

“The future of television is not just going to be about where and how you watch, it’s going to be about how personal your viewing experience can be,” said Ben Smith, Head of Experience at Hulu. The easier it is for the viewer to find content of interest, the more they stay engaged with that platform, supporting potential ad revenue or simply maintaining and increasing user retaintion rates.

 

And in Other Streaming Buzz News...

Twitter Adds Android TV to Supported OTT Devices- Paving the path for live streaming on actual TVs and not just on smartphones and tablets, Twitter announced new support for Andoird TV, adding to their list of other OTT devices supported, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One. The app running on an Android TV differs from a smartphone or tablet in that you can’t tweet from the TV, but in reality, why would you want to? What the interface does do is highlight both popular tweets and live videos streaming on Periscope.

NMPA Sends a Hail-Mary Music IP Wish List to Trump - Complete Music Update (CMU) reported, “America’s National Music Publishers Association has got its quill out and penned its own missive to the incoming Commander In Chief.” Namely, addressing the ongoing discussions, arguments, and advocacy for change surrounding “consent decree reform, safe harbour reform, tech firms doing more to combat piracy and the US government putting pressure on those countries where IP protection is currently rather slack.” Not to be a pessimist here, but thus far, Trump is taking the opposite campaign position by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, which NMPA has rallied against. Music rights is probably last on that man's list, given how unprepared he is to take office. Trump may have used Twitter trolling to his advantage but he doesn't even use or understand email, so who knows what role the White House will play in the technology market in general over the next four years. I commend the NMPA for taking this initiative, but I wouldn't hold my breath that the Trump administration could even wrap their head around the complexities of digital music rights, let along get involved in the value gap issue with YouTube.

Meanwhile, Bob Lefsetz Tells Musicians, “You have to face the truth: The game changed.” Appearing on Peter Kafka’s Recode Media podcast, longtime music industry opinion-maker and outspoken fortune teller, Bob Lefsetz, chatted with Kafka about the battle that’s taken place between music performers like Taylor Swift and streaming platforms like Spotify. Lefsetz is never one to mince words, and this time was no different, “If the recording artists were smart, and they’re dumb, they would say ‘sign up for streaming! Then I would get paid.’” Lefsetz argues that artists get 70 percent of streaming revenue in comparison to only getting 10 percent of album sales, and that for the most part, ASCAP and BMI are making more money than ever and publishing revenue's future is bright. This also goes for the big music artists and bands who continue to make the big bucks in touring and endorsement deals, not taking into account the hundreds of thousands of indie artists who may not be doing as well, tweeting out pics of their ten cent Spotify checks. So sorry to say, there are some things about rock and roll actually don’t change. Thankfully, this doesn't deter bands from being born every day and millions of musicians and songwriters sharing their craft on whatever music streaming services, on streaming radio, and on stage. So go see a show, and while you're there, visit the merch table buy a t-shirt or their vinyl. 'Cause that's where the real money is.

 

Side note: I have some live streaming-related appearances coming up in the months ahead, including the moderation of the XLIVE session on December 6, “We’ll Do It Live — Challenges and Opportunities in Festival Live Streaming,” and a SXSW 2017 “Livestreaming Music and Amplification Workshop” (dates, times TBA) with John Petrocelli of Bulldog Digital Media. If you’d like more information on what to expect from these events, get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or find me on Twitter @Kaffeinebuzz.

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