This past week’s streaming news was wild and wooly, as Twitter stock went up with rumors of M&A, and then dropped by a third as potential suitors stood up the micro-blogging company. Comcast tries to pull a fast one on customer once again with a new internet data-capped service, which should really piss off Netflix, who has been pushing the FCC to ban data caps for obvious reasons. In turn, Netflix probably put theater owners panties in a pinch as they continue to move in on their territory.
And there’s more, so read on…
Comcast’s Sly Attempt to Hold Onto Cable Revenue
“This data cap feels like Comcast’s attempt to protect itself from cord cutters. More than anything, it wants everyone to keep paying for expensive cable TV packages rather than stream everything,” wrote Geek.com’s Ryan Whitwam in his piece, Comcast’s terrible terabyte data cap is rolling out across the US.
Comcast’s new XFINITY Terabyte Internet Data Usage Plan, with its fluffy explainer video, supports today’s streaming consumer just fine. BUT – the increased adoption of 4K TV with bitrates that are at least three times higher than today’s streaming content plus the increased size of game downloads could severely ding customers with overage charges in the future.
Time will tell if internet competition the likes of Google Fiber and AT&T’s Fiber expansion forces Comcast to reevaluate its long-time practice of surprise charges on consumer’s monthly bills (I have personal experience with this).
Lionsgate Plucks Talent to Boost Their Position in Streaming
The movie studio is “looking to streaming as a big revenue source,” wrote Deadline.com’s Anthony D’Alessandro. To spearhead their plans Lionsgate created the position of EVP & general manager of Over-the-Top ventures, hiring Julie Uhrman to fill the role.
The former head of platform business development at cinematic VR company, Jaunt, one of Ad Age’s Creative 50 and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, Uhrman will lead Lionsgate’s streaming services that include Tribeca Shortlist, Comic-Con HQ, Laugh Out Loud, a Spanish-language movie service.
In addition, Urman will focus on expanding Lionsgate’s global reach by taking their library of over 16,000 films and TV content into the streaming space. “With four platforms launched or planned, Lionsgate has already built great momentum in the OTT space,” Urman told Deadline.com.
BitTorret Now is Now Dead
Less than seven months after BitTorrent announced its new LA office to house BitTorrent Now, a move to “double down on content distribution,” with co-CEO’s Jeremy Johnson and Robert Delamar at the helm, the company’s pulled the plug on its video streaming efforts.
“Insiders now say that the company spent millions of dollars on Now, with one source saying that spending was ‘out of control,’ writes Variety’s Senior Silicon Valley Correspondent, Janko Roettgers.
This comes after another failed and expensive venture, BitTorrent Entertainment Store, which cost the company “millions for content from major Hollywood studios.” BitTorrent Live, their peer-to-peer live streaming protocol launched around the same time as BitTorrent Now, continues to operate.
Google Preps for 4K with Chromecast Ultra
As a Chromecast user with a standard flatscreen, Google’s news (via Streaming Media) on their Ultra device didn’t excite me. But for those who own or have plans to buy a 4K or HDR TV, Chromecast Ultra is designed for them. Hitting the market this November, it’s priced at twice the cost of the standard Chromecast at $69, but is $10 cheaper than the new Roku Premier.
Other features: an Ethernet port to support the 3x data requirement of 4K, loads video 1.8x faster with 802.11ac 1×2 SIMI Wi-Fi connectivity, and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats. It still requires control from your laptop or mobile device, as compared to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick remote or their newly announced Alexa voice assistance.
Netflix Shifts Focus Back to Theaters, But Selectively
Earlier this year, Netflix, along with Amazon, threw a wrench into licensing plans of the major movie studios during Sundance. While they didn’t win all the bids, those films that Netflix did acquire, including Tallulah, were for the SVOD rights only, passing on theatrical rights, typically an unusual business practice in the film business, but one that suited Netflix.
As of October 7, Netflix is back in the theatrical release game, but one that is an extension of the movie watching experience as opposed to a one-or-another setting.
The terms of a first-ever 10-picture deal with luxury theater chain, iPic Entertainment, launched with the screening of “The Siege of Jadotville,” starring Jamie Dornan and Guillaume Canet, which was simultaneously available to Netflix’s worldwide, 83 million-strong subscriber base. iPic’s 15 upscale theaters are located in cities across the country, from Los Angeles and Phoenix, to Austin, Miami Beach, and New York.
Twitter’s Strengthens Streaming Position, But Still No Bidders
Last week Twitter live streamed highly varied content, from Salesforce’s Dreamforce event, led by ringmaster and CEO Marc Benioff, to the NFL game between the 49ers and the Cardinals, to the presidential debates.
Over the weekend the debate continued on which company is best suited to get into serious M&A talks with Jack Dorsey’s social baby. Salesforce was considered to be a contender on the basis of Twitter’s ability to boost his philanthropic efforts or to enhance his client’s quality of customer service.
Read the rest here.