AT&T’s plan to buy Time Warner — the parent company of several cable networks, not the cable company that Charter snapped up last year — was greeted with a surprising amount of skepticism right from the start. Even though AT&T is sidestepping a lot of regulatory scrutiny by not seeking FCC approval of the merger, lawmakers have continued to ask why this merger would benefit anyone other than the shareholders of these companies. AT&T’s response: Competition or prices won’t be affected because we’re such a small-time player in the pay-TV business, and Time Warner’s viewership numbers are low. [More]
The future is wireless. At least, so all the wireless companies say. Sure, running actual cables to houses and apartment buildings brought broadband this far, but the always-on, always-streaming future is just going to get more and more mobile. And so the current era of 4G LTE wireless connections will eventually give way to 5G, which promises to be faster, better, and stronger in every way. But before you can use 5G tech, first you have to make it, you know, work. [More]
The so-called “golden age of TV” may only be just now dawning for viewers, completely inundated with high-quality shows on every screen we own, but it’s more of a turbulent era for the companies that make our shows. With “cable TV” still morphing into “on-demand content anywhere,” programmers and distribution companies are struggling to adapt — and the smallest content companies may be the ones most likely to collapse or sell out as cord-cutters continue changing their habits. [More]
Millions of us have crossed the threshold where TV just comes from the internet now, and millions more are likely to follow in coming years. So it’s not really surprising that a traditional pay-TV company would be doubling down on selling access to its internet-delivered content… and its internet-connected delivery device. [More]
AT&T wireless customers can stream the company’s new DirecTV Now service without having the data go against their monthly limit. The company hopes it will give existing subscribers a reason to stick with AT&T and convince some others to switch providers to AT&T. However, T-Mobile is hoping to use DirecTV Now against AT&T, by offering to pay for a full year of the streaming service for AT&T defectors. [More]
When you want to watch an original comedy or drama series, you may cue up Netflix, Amazon, or even (gasp!) broadcast or cable networks. When you want to watch a livestream of some bored news editors trying to make a watermelon explode, or a press conference, or someone’s dog being silly, you might turn to Facebook Live video. But now it seems Facebook is jumping on the bandwagon everyone else is these days, and wants a chance to get scripted series and sports in front of your face too. [More]
At this point, it’s a hoary old saw that sports networks and broadcasts of live sporting events are one of the main reasons your pay-TV bills continue to rise. We all kind of “know” that sports are expensive, and that the costs come through to everyone else… but as millions of dollars in charges and fees become billions, are consumers and viewers going to stick around? [More]
Once upon a time (two whole years ago!) the idea of successfully getting an internet-based cable alternative up, running, and profitable seemed, perhaps, like a pipe dream. These days, even though we don’t know if the ventures are exactly profitable, the online competition to get your monthly TV dollars is fierce. And now Hulu is latest player to grab some big headliners for itsplan to start zapping linear TV channels to your online eyeballs. [More]
Exactly one year ago, Verizon announced that it was jumping hard into the streaming-media biz, with a mobile-friendly service designed for the giant consumer base everyone apparently loves to hate, millennials. The company called it “go90,” helpfully reminding everyone that to watch TV on your phone, you need to turn it 90 degrees to the horizontal. But skeptics wondered: is this really going to, y’know, work? Will anyone watch? Will anyone care? And a year on, we seem to have our answer: nope. [More]
When you just want to watch something, you probably look for it first on Netflix or Amazon. When you really treasure something and want to make it part of your library, you might buy the disc. But when do you buy a digital copy of a TV episode or a movie? Basically never, right? Yeah, and that’s the problem for the whole industry, because you’re not alone.
Once upon a time, TV was mostly a thing you watched for free, over an antenna. Commercials and corporate sponsorships made up the cost for networks. Then TV became cable. Then cable became your internet, and TV was once again briefly free, through streaming services with commercials. But then came subscription internet TV, and that’s where we are today, with Hulu finally pulling the plug on its non-subscription service.
In an era when everybody and their grandmother seems to be launching their own proprietary subscription streaming service, something about Hulu seems almost quaint. The platform is jointly owned by three giant media companies, and therefore is almost a pre-bundled service that actually carries programming from all of them. And eventually — but not quite yet — you can make that four.
If it feels like the media and technology worlds of late are constantly going through this weird, ebbing, flowing, overlapping process, well, you’re not wrong. Jumping into the fray most recently is Verizon, which not only has its own streaming service but also now wants to sell you on original content… that it can, of course, stuff with advertising for your eyeballs.
Conventional wisdom still says that sports are the key to cable: people will stream their comedies and dramas, but will pay for their sports coverage, because Americans sure love their sports. So it is unsurprising, then, that over-the-top cable-alternative streaming services are lining up to add more sports channels to their programming, including PlayStation Vue.