Why isn't TiVo offering a streaming package/cloud DVR?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by TitanTiger, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    Streaming is the "cheaper" alternative at the moment. That's how it's largely viewed. Once more traditional cable is transitioned to IPTV/Streaming, I think we'll see more traditional and larger packages with all of the channels we came to expect with cable. But at the moment, I think the streaming providers like YTTV/Hulu/Sling/Vue/etc... are terrified of having a higher price tag even though a good portion of users would gladly pay it. They don't want to be viewed as expensive in a sea of "cheap" cable alternatives.
     
  2. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Well-Known Member

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    I have a solution to all of TiVo's "problem." Let them do a reality show staring MR Brain. I'm sure people would love to know what he's up to next. ;):cool:
     
  3. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    I don't think a single one of those Virtual MVPD's (VMVPD's) are making any money, and probably won't for years--OR the next new tech none of us can imgine comes along in about 5 years and even VMVPD's are anachronistic.
     
  4. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

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    :eek::eek::eek:
     
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  5. ufo4sale

    ufo4sale Well-Known Member

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    If you do watch I can guarantee that it would be out of this world.:)
     
  6. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I expect that Hulu is breaking even on their Live TV add-on or, if they're not quite yet, they will as it continues to scale up with additional subs. Making a profit on the live TV service doesn't really matter since in order to get the Live TV part, you have to get the main Hulu on-demand service too, and that's what Disney really cares about. That is (or will be) their big money-maker in TV (along with Disney+ and ESPN).

    As for Google's YouTube TV, I dunno. It may still be losing a bit even after raising the price to $50/mo this year. But it's growing and will get a nice shot in the arm now that Verizon is getting serious about distributing it to their broadband and wireless subscriber base. As it grows, the incremental ad revenue that Google makes serving up targeted ads in the cloud DVR and VOD (fueled no doubt by all that data they've already gathered through web searches, regular YouTube, etc.) will make the service profitable. I also expect that YouTube TV will add a few important missing channels within the next year -- those channels from Hallmark and A&E (including History and Lifetime) -- probably prompting another little price bump. But at that point, they'll have all the basics covered except for the Viacom channels, which will probably become available as part of a standalone CBS All Access subscription anyhow.

    AT&T will structure and price their AT&T TV service -- which is kinda sorta a vMVPD -- in order to make it work. It'll be deeply intertwined with their upcoming HBO Max on-demand service, with HBO Max automatically included in every channel package, I bet. We'll see Comcast do something similar with their upcoming NBCU SVOD, bundling it with their own vMVPD that they'll sell nationwide over any internet connection, just as AT&T will do with AT&T TV.

    Aside from those, whose left among the vMVPDs? Sling, PS Vue and Fubo TV. Sling will carry on as the low-end budget alternative for folks who don't need their locals (or who can integrate them via an OTA antenna). It at least has the backing of a major (if struggling) MVPD, DISH. PS Vue and Fubo TV will both collapse if they're not purchased by a major company who has the resources to absorb near-term losses while scaling it up and using the service as an add-on sweetener for whatever it is that they really care about selling. Who fits that bill? Amazon, who could use a vMVPD as an add-on option for Prime.
     
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  7. BNBTivo

    BNBTivo Active Member

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    Why would Amazon purchase Vue? They don't need to. If or when Amazon releases a streaming service, it'll explode. You did forget Philo which fills a niche market. I agree that Vue will collapse, not sure about Fubo as that also fits a niche market.
     
  8. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Why do you not consider Prime a streaming service?
     
  9. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    No, Amazon doesn't *need* to purchase Vue unless they decide that they want to get to market fairly quickly with a well-reviewed working product that they can immediately sell. Think about it, it takes time to negotiate carriage contracts with all those network owners in order to create one or more channel packages: Disney, Comcast/NBCU, AT&T/WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS, Fox, Discovery, A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Crown Networks, Sinclair/Diamond (RSNs), etc. And then think of all those local affiliates for the big 4 networks across the nation's top 150 markets! Vue and other vMVPDs (e.g. AT&T TV Now, Hulu with Live TV, Fubo TV) have been chipping away at getting all those locals on board for years now and they're still not 100% of the way there.

    Also, consider the fact that the coding work has already been done to integrate PS Vue into the native Fire TV UI. (Yes, you can use PS Vue, at least the basics of the service, on a Fire TV device without even opening the PS Vue app.) Beyond that, folks seem to say that it's reliable and has a good feature set. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the whole system is already running on Amazon's cloud. Lots of stuff does, including a good chunk of Netflix. Why should Amazon build their own vMVPD from scratch when so much of the hard work in building a good one has already been done by Sony for PS Vue? Once Amazon bought it and built up the subscriber count, they could re-open carriage contract negotiations and maybe tweak the packages and get better wholesale pricing.

    One way to improve PS Vue (besides changing the name and advertising it a lot more) would be to make it a bit cheaper for customers, which is of course something Amazon could do if it was an add-on to Prime. Lower the package prices by at least $5 across the board: price Access at $45, Core at $50, and Elite at $60. If Amazon bought Vue, I'd expect them to continue operating Vue as-is for an announced time period (e.g. 6 more months) while at the same time fully integrating the Vue feature set into the Prime Video app and (if it's not already) the native Fire TV UI. Continually ping existing Vue customers and let them know that if they have an active Prime Video account, they can convert their Vue subscription into the new Prime Video Live Channels service. Same channels, same features, new lower price. And then at the end of the transition period, PS Vue would shut down.

    (Or, perhaps in a deal worked out with Sony, Amazon might continue to operate the PS Vue app and service but it would only be available to customers who initially signed up for the service or have recently accessed it on a Sony PlayStation console and/or added it to an existing paid PlayStation Plus service account. That's really the main reason that Sony even launched the service in the first place: so that they could build out their vision of a PlayStation-centric entertainment ecosystem. And that's why they've resisted ever dropping "PlayStation" from the PlayStation Vue brand name, despite the fact that *everyone* says it inhibits the service from widespread adoption because many people wrongly assume it only works on PS consoles or that it has something to do with video games.)

    As for Philo, it was a great concept (lots of entertainment channels at a low cost by avoiding costly locals, sports and news channels) but I have to wonder how much longer that its co-owners will see a need to keep it going.

    First, there's Viacom, which just merged with CBS to become ViacomCBS. That group has CBS All Access, which I expect will soon begin offering on-demand content, and perhaps live channels, from the various Viacom brands: Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, BET, etc. And of course Viacom bought Pluto TV recently and they're pouring lots of resources into making that free ad-supported streamer successful.

    Second, there's Discovery. Their CEO has talked for awhile, ever since they acquired the Scripps Networks (HGTV, Food, Travel, etc.), about going solo with their own little skinny bundle of live channels for around $5-8/mo. And now we know that they will in fact launch in early 2020 a new OTT service featuring content from across their channels, plus nature and science docs like Planet Earth from The BBC (with whom they've struck a long-term agreement for new and catalog content). It definitely sounds like it'll be on-demand but, who knows, it might feature all of their live linear channels too.

    Aside from Viacom and Discovery, Philo's other co-owners are A+E Networks and AMC Networks. But those groups are much smaller and have far fewer popular networks. A+E's noteworthy channels are A&E, History and Lifetime while AMC's are AMC and, to a much lesser extent, BBC America, IFC, and Sundance. It's true that those two groups are VERY small fish relative to all the other content owners (AMC is worth about $3.1 billion vs. Disney's $254 billion). And given that they don't have any other direct-to-consumer services for their channels, I'm sure they'd be in favor of sticking with Philo. But they're not enough to keep it going, really. And, look, Philo only has an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers right now.

    What I expect to happen in the next 12 months is for someone -- probably ViacomCBS, who has made no secret that they're hungry for more acquisitions -- to buy AMC Networks. A+E Networks is co-owned 50/50 by Disney and Hearst. Maybe Disney buys out the other 50% (but would the government allow Disney to get STILL bigger after swallowing most of Fox?). More likely we'd see another big player buy out Hearst's 50% or the whole thing. Again, ViacomCBS would be a logical acquirer. or NBCU. Or Discovery (who would keep A&E and History but try to sell off Lifetime, which doesn't fit at all with Discovery's non-fiction focus).

    In this dawning era of direct-to-consumer video, there's very little room for small players any more. The other noteworthy small player that participates in Philo (but isn't a co-owner) is Crown Media, owner of the Hallmark channels. At some point, one of the big media companies will offer the privately held parent company, Hallmark Cards, Inc., more money for Crown Media than they can resist. I'm predicting the buyer will be NBCU but it could be any big content player who thinks the Hallmark channels would complement their existing content portfolio.

    BTW, here's a chart to help you visualize the players in media and tech. As you can see, the big ones who will control most everything in the end will be AT&T, Disney, Comcast, Netflix, Google, Amazon, and Apple. (Whether Facebook can succeed as a media titan remains to be seen.) And if they can survive without getting gobbled up by larger fish, ViacomCBS and/or Discovery.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  10. Sep 6, 2019 #110 of 119
    Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    OK, let me rephrase: all the press accounts I have come across state that NONE of the Virtual MVPD's are making ANY Money. But, that is often the case with new businesses, but the problem for enduring years before making any money is that the technology changes far faster today, and likely, too short of a period to VMPVD's to start making money before a new tech we can't imagine will replace how we access entertainment. It took many years before Amazon posted a profit; it took Dish (owner of SlingTV, the most popular VMVPD service with the most subscribers today) about 7 years before they posted a profit, and they have just become the 4th wireless service with it own physical network and more to be built-out for 5G.

    The business of beng an MVPD is paying MOUNTAINS of money to the content providers/media companies, especially if the VMVPD does not have critical mass, and not a single VMVPD service today has sufficient critical mass to demand lower cost for rights to the programming. Look at SlingTV's subscriber count (I think Dish just this last quarter finally showed seperate subscriber count for Dish and SlingTV) and all the other VMVPD's will have FEWER subscribers. You have fewer subscribers you pay a HIGHER rate to obtain the programming. In other words, DirecTV, Dish, et al. are paying less in programming costs than their seperate, but wholly owned VMVPD servcies are today. Add to that the "digital rights" to allow content to be recorded and stored for the subscriber on the cloud. The more genrous the restrictions on the recorded content (such as allowing skipping of commericals and keeping recordings for longer periods) the MORE money an MVPD must pay. At this point of no VMVPD having sufficient critical mass to demand lower programming costs, the content owner/media companies dictate all the terms and demand higher payments compared to MSO's (cable companies) and satellite providers. At leaset for some years to come.

    The way the business works is this: be willing to lose money for years until you reach the sufficient critical mass to demand lower programming costs, and then start making money. This is why Apple passed on creating their own VMVPD service (as so many were hoping they would provide an VMVPD service because it seemed a "natural" for Apple with their Apple TV already in homes) because they, " . . . just couldn't get [their heads around] around the business model." (V)MVPD for Apple " . . . was a buniness they just couldn't understand [or make sense of]." It was mystery to them. And consider how Apple created a business with very high margins, a physical product and content that they controlled and "charged" others for the priviledge of selling in their App Store, and those app developers to enter the walled garden of Apple and it millions of users, all providing immediate cash flow and HUGE profits, while by comparison the (V)MVPD business was absolutely OPPOSITE to how they, Apple, have made money for so long. They just couldn't fathom spending billions of dollars and having to wait several years before they could make even the most modest amount of money. Apple could have easily afforded such a business as an MVPD, but it was just counter to how they make money each quarter without having to wait and risk for profits many years down the road, went the less expensive route of providing more content for the Apple TV, instead, rather than a full-blown VMVPD service.

    Years of loss for VMVPD's in the future, just as it was in the MVPD biz, but no gurantee that the tech won't change long before they come close to making a profit, providing us an unimaginable way we will consume content that does not involve anything resembling an VMVPD.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  11. Sep 9, 2019 #111 of 119
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Eh, I largely agree with you, except you omit the fact that some of these vMVPDs are owned by major content owners, making the economics much different for them. Hulu is owned by Disney. AT&T TV is owned by AT&T/WarnerMedia. YouTube TV is owned by Google/YouTube (which has a ton of user-uploaded video content that they can monetize via ads). I don't believe that Disney, when you look at the totality of the company, is losing money on subscribers to Hulu with Live TV, which itself buys a lot of live and on-demand content from other parts of Disney.

    I agree with your assessment of why Apple never got into the vMVPD game: they didn't see the point of jumping on board a cable TV model that is in decline, requiring them to lose money on it in the first few years before making it profitable. Better to just go straight to where it's all going anyhow: your own direct-to-consumer service with your own high-quality exclusive content. And that's exactly what Apple TV+ will be.

    Now, it could be that Amazon is thinking the same thing. "Why bother getting into the cable TV game? We've got our own good thing going with Prime Video, home to a growing slate of Amazon Originals." But Amazon does differ from Apple. Amazon is, I think, less conservative in terms of their risk appetite and the scope of their ambitions. And because Amazon is mainly about retail sales, you can see how they might be more interested in advertising than Apple. That's surely why Amazon has gotten into free ad-supported video with their IMdB Freedive service. Maybe they see value in also distributing ad-supported traditional cable channels too, which still get a lot of viewers, especially for live sports and news. Prime Video in Canada has already begun selling a mini-bundle of live cable channels. And Amazon isn't shy about pouring cash into ventures for a few years until they can turn profitable if they think that it's a business that they can become dominant in.

    As far as some new, unseen technology coming along that will supplant vMVPDs, I can't imagine what that would possibly be. There's not going to be some new thing that replaces the internet (not for a long time anyhow). Nothing is going to replace streaming video entertainment via the internet in the next couple of decades at least. (Sure, it might move to new forms of video, like 3D virtual reality, but that will just be an evolutionary outgrowth of existing 2D video.)
     
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  12. Sep 9, 2019 #112 of 119
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    Apple didn't get into the vMVPD game because it's not the future. On-demand streaming is the future. The old cable model isn't the future. IT's the past slapped onto the internet.
     
  13. Sep 9, 2019 #113 of 119
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I agree with that to an extent. Apple is very conscious of being a trend-setter, always looking forward, never back (sometimes to the frustration of their customers who, for instance, miss headphone jacks on their iPhones).

    But I do believe the rumors that Apple was very seriously looking at launching their own vMVPD a few years back. Word is that they couldn't cobble together the bundle of channels they wanted at their desired sub-$40 price point. It was said at the time that Hollywood/cable networks were very wary of getting in bed with Apple after seeing what iTunes did to the record business. So instead, they ended up making deals with players they saw as less powerful/dangerous than Apple for the first crop of vMVPDs. And, after those rolled out, I think Apple just lost interest in trying to come out with their own me-too cable bundle service.
     
  14. Sep 9, 2019 #114 of 119
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    I think what Apple really wanted was to able to show off the content in a way that delights customers. And of course to do it at a great price.

    And yeah I don't think they could get those terms.

    By doing their content they can create that experience they think will delight customers.

    IT will be interesting to see if they announce a pricepoint for it tomorrow. $9.99 probably. But maybe free with their new hardware for a year or something. Free with Apple care? Bundle with Apple Music and icloud storage?
     
  15. Sep 9, 2019 #115 of 119
    gary.buhrmaster

    gary.buhrmaster Active Member

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    And it will be called Apple TV Prime!
     
  16. Sep 9, 2019 #116 of 119
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Hopefully we get some solid details about Apple TV+ tomorrow. Knowing Apple, they will, as rumored, price this new service (with a paucity of original content and zero back-catalog) at $9.99/mo. I think that's a mistake. Better to set the regular price (at least for now) at the same $7/mo price that Disney+ is charging. And then also give it away for an extended trial to Apple hardware owners. (A year would be great -- it would encourage widespread sampling, generate buzz for their content, and allow folks to get hooked on series without worrying about paying -- but that's probably hoping for too much. More likely is a 3-6 month free trial, I'd say.)

    At any rate, I do expect them to offer discounted rates for bundling Apple TV+ with other services like Apple Music. If they're both regularly priced at $9.99, maybe they'll sell them together for $14.99.
     
  17. trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    But they aren't competing with Disney. It feels like they are competing with HBO. And HBO is $15/mo.

    All they really need is 1 hit show. And people will buy in and many will stick around for the other shows.

    Free trial would be 30 days. 3 months is too long for a tv service. You could watch every episode of the first slate of all their tv shows in 3 months. 30 days is plenty. And assuming they release an episode per week, you'd get to watch to watch the first few episodes for each show released at launch. I could see them just making the first few episodes of each show free too and that would be the free trial.

    I don't see bundles with Apple Music even though I mentioned them. Not Apple's style. And I don't think they make much money off Apple Music.

    I could see it being given away with hardware and/or Apple Care. 1 year free with the purchase of a Mac, Ipad Pro or iPhone. An extra year with AppleCare. :) I mean one thing about a streaming service is the main costs are paid for up front afaik. The UI and the development of the shows and the hosting needed. After that it is only bandwidth. I don't think that is a huge cost per customer. So it a very attractive thing to include free as a value add to their hardware. If it helps increase hardware sales by some small amount each year it could pay for itself. IF the shows are high quality and you're getting the service for free with hardware it becomes very attractive value add.
     
  18. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Feels to me like the tone and type of content on Apple TV+ will be somewhere in between HBO and Disney+. But unlike either of those services, Apple TV+ will only have its own originals, and a few small amount of them to start off. Which, I guess, is why they're pricing it even lower than the $7/mo price point I suggested. Instead, it's just $5/mo.

    Yeah, maybe. But again, there's going to be so little there to begin with to temp folks. It's rumored that the roll-out strategy will be to immediately drop the first 3 eps of each series, then roll out one new ep per week thereafter. If the service launches on Nov. 1 with four series (The Morning Show, For All Mankind, Dickinson, See), well, that's a whopping 12 hours of content available the first week. On the one hand, that's enough to keep a lot of folks occupied if they have any other sources of TV to watch (and virtually everyone will). But it may still be a hard sell getting lots of folks to try it out, even at just $5. I mean, HBO Max will launch with 10,000 hours of content! And look how much is on Netflix and Hulu and even Disney+. Or what about Epix at $6/mo? They've got a growing library of premium originals, plus recent films from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.

    But I do think that if at least half of the Apple Originals get strong reviews and get some buzz going, they'll be able to pull in a decent number of samplers at just $5/mo. Whether folks will think there's enough there to keep them month-in and month-out, we'll see.

    Well, turns out the free trial for everyone is only 7 days. Heh. And no, for a service launching with so little content, and backed by a company with so much cash to burn, I don't think 3 months is too long of a free trial. I don't even think 1 year is too long. If the battle is establish Apple TV+ as a long-term staple of the American video diet, to build up a large viewer base, ensuring that launching the app and watching its new stuff every week becomes a habit, I think they'd be smart to offer all Apple hardware owners an extended free trial. Habits take time to form. And it's going to take time for Apple TV+ to develop a sizable library of original content.

    At any rate, Apple IS doing the 1 free year, but only for folks who are buying a new Apple iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. For those who buy a new Apple device every year, perhaps Apple TV+ will always be free. Or maybe this free year offer will only last during the service's early days.


    As services becomes a bigger deal for Apple, with Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+, (along with AppleCare and iCloud), I do expect we'll eventually see them offer some kind of services bundle.
     
  19. trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    Yeah called it with the 1 yr free with hardware. Price surprised me on low side.

    As far as ATV+ subscribers go, they already “signed up” 60+ million customers over the next year. The 60+ million who will buy Apple hardware over the next year. :).

    There is room for lots of services just like there is room for multiple cable channels. And with streaming you can start and stop easy. I mean every service has different content anyway so they aren’t Apple to apples comparison.

    edit: they sell 200 million iphones a year, 40 million ipads and 20 million Macs. So the ATV+ service will be free to a ton of consumers for 1 yr every year.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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