Years and Years (of Pay TV Industry Predictions)

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by NashGuy, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Jul 23, 2019 #61 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Addendum/Erratum

    [Plant tongue firmly in cheek before continuing.]

    2Q 2020: Hello, Juno.

    NBCUniversal launches Juno, their new nationwide OTT SVOD. This new service would eventually grow into the company's answer to Hulu. The company's branding mavens wanted a modern, yet friendly-sounding name. It was a given that they would go with a two-syllable nonsense word that followed the typical consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel phoneme pattern (see also: Hulu, Vudu, Roku, TiVo, Vevo, Quibi, Xumo, Philo and Tubi).

    Focus group testing for the name Juno was through the roof and corporate brass loved the sound of it. Couple small hitches, though. To score exclusive use of the trademark, NBCU had to buy the rights to the quirky 2007 indie comedy film of the same name, starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera, from Disney's 20th Century Fox. NBCU decided that the movie Juno, about a high school girl who gets pregnant with her best guy friend and chooses to have the baby, would permanently be featured in the movie section of their new Juno service. If any movie could appeal to both red and blue America simultaneously, they figured, it was this one.

    Also, NBCU had to completely buy out a small dial-up and DSL internet provider named Juno. "Didn't that company go out of business in like 2003?" the marketing team asked. "Nope," their lawyers replied. So they bought Juno, shut them down, and used the mailing list of former customers to advertise Comcast's various services.

    The company launches a kick-off ad campaign for Juno exploiting the joke that the name sounds like "you know".

    Person speaking to an anonymous voice assistant: "Who has my favorite classic shows from the past like Miami Vice and Murder, She Wrote plus exclusive new premium originals like Angelyne starring Emmy Rossum?"

    Voice assistant: "Juno..."
     
  2. Jul 23, 2019 #62 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, look what our good buddy Dave Zatz apparently turned up at the FCC (per a new report over at Cord Cutters News):

    Verizon is Planning to Release a Streaming Player Called Stream TV - Cord Cutters News

    When details of this new streaming TV player emerge, remember, you read the prediction for it here from me first. ;-)
     
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  3. Jul 24, 2019 #63 of 373
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    Att said HBO Max will have live sports. MLB, NBA and soccer aka TBS and TNT from the sound of it.

    Also DTV lost 770k satellite subscribers in Q2.
     
  4. Jul 24, 2019 #64 of 373
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    From the linked article: "From the sounds of it, this could be very similar to Comcast’s streaming player they recently launched earlier this year."

    That would be the "Flex" streamer? Have you seen any feedback on this or Comcast's "Instant TV" service?
     
  5. Jul 24, 2019 #65 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Well, they had already told us a couple weeks ago that eventually DirecTV Now (or some aspects of it) would integrate into HBO Max. In other words, HBO Max will have an optional add-on bundle(s) of live cable channels, which would necessarily include sports and news channels.

    But then, aside from that, there have been some hints that live sports specifically from their Turner and/or Bleacher Report properties would appear in HBO Max. My question is whether that will be some kind of optional add-on tier (maybe priced at $5/mo, the same as ESPN+) or if those AT&T-owned live sports events will simply be included at some point in the $16-17 base price for HBO Max.

    Here's my *slightly updated* thinking on all this:

    HBO Max will be the app targeted at a pool of consumers that we'll call "modern". These would include those who could be described as any of the following: cord-cutters, more budget-conscious consumers, those who prefer direct-to-consumer on-demand apps like Hulu and Netflix, and those who watch a lot of video on their phones and tablets. The HBO Max app will be available for all major retail devices (TV-connected and mobile) and the service will be given away for free as a perk to most AT&T Wireless post-paid customers. At some point in 2020 (probably around the same time that the DirecTV Now and AT&T Watch TV apps/services are killed), HBO Max will offer the option of adding various live channel bundles (i.e. the same bundles sold under the AT&T TV brand: Select, Plus and Max). It may also offer a less expensive add-on that only includes the live sports and news offered directly by WarnerMedia.

    AT&T TV will be the service targeted at consumers we'll call "traditional" -- these folks want a dedicated TV box and remote custom-designed for channel-based TV, with a traditional channel grid guide, full-service DVR, and large bundles of channels owned by many different companies (e.g. Viacom, Discovery, A+E, Disney, NBCU, Fox, etc.), although they like the idea of having access to popular streaming apps on that same box. (The typical TiVo owner would fall in this category.) I increasingly believe that AT&T TV *will* require subscribers to take at least one of AT&T's own Android TV set-top boxes. My guess is that customers will place their order to initiate AT&T TV service online, via the phone, or in AT&T Stores, at the same time purchasing (or getting for free) an AT&T TV box that will be shipped to them or handed to them at the store. But one's credit/debit card won't be charged for the first month of AT&T TV service, and the service won't actually be accessible, until the AT&T TV box is connected to a TV and to the internet and the user agrees to the service terms and activates the account. There will also be an AT&T TV app, with a very similar UI to the one on the AT&T TV box, for Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, smart TVs, etc. That app can be used on secondary TVs and non-TV screens. Just like DirecTV Now, AT&T TV will offer anywhere-access to live, recorded and VOD TV to any device over any fast-enough internet connection.
     
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  6. Jul 24, 2019 #66 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. Similar strategy. Comcast's "Flex" streamer is really just their Xi5 or Xi6, which is the standalone IPTV box that they're now giving by default to ALL new Xfinity TV subscribers in many parts of the country now. (Both the Xi5 and Xi6 run the X1 operating system/UI; the difference is that the Xi5 is HD while the Xi6 is 4K HDR.) Comcast no longer markets the Xfinity Instant TV service. Basically, Instant TV is now their "regular" TV service, except that it has of course expanded to allow any and all channels to be ordered through it, as well as have the standard 20 hours of cloud DVR expanded to 60 hours for an additional $10/mo. Note that right now (although I believe this will change by the end of 2020), these little Comcast Xi5 and Xi6 boxes are only useful for any kind of streaming video if you have Xfinity Internet service. I believe that Comcast will take their cable TV service nationwide as an OTT service, available via any internet connection, just like AT&T TV and YouTube TV. Competitive pressures will force them to do it. (And their European subsidiary, SkyTV, has already been doing it over there for a few years now via their NowTV service.) And when that happens, I think Comcast will distribute their Xi5 and/or Xi6 to consumers nationwide for use with the OTT version of Xfinity TV service. They may be only sold/rented directly from Comcast, although maybe they'll also be sold at popular retailers like Walmart and Best Buy right next to Rokus and Fire TVs.

    The new Stream TV box/dongle/stick that Verizon is developing is probably more like the box that will be offered for use with AT&T TV. I predict that the Stream TV, like the AT&T TV box, will run a customized version of Google's Android TV operating system, including the Google Play app store and the Google Assistant. And Verizon will offer the Stream TV for use with the YouTube TV service that they have already begun bundling and selling with their FiOS Internet, 5G Home Internet, and Wireless services. As I predicted earlier in this thread, I think the Stream TV will use the YouTube TV app as its home screen. The "normal" Android TV home screen -- see photo below -- might be accessible via pressing an Apps button. (Or, like the AT&T TV box, it might not offer the standard Android TV home screen at all but use an alternative presentation for installed apps and general Android TV system settings.) And I expect that the remote for the Stream TV -- just like the remotes for the AT&T TV box and the Xi5/Xi6 -- will have buttons suited for channel-based TV, e.g. channel up/down, volume up/down, TV power, last channel, channel guide, DVR, etc.

    home-screen-3.png
     
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  7. Jul 24, 2019 #67 of 373
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    ??? The ROku actually makes it easy. It allows you to follow your shows and the info will show up when they are available. It's how I keep track of some of the shows that I buy outright.
     
  8. Jul 25, 2019 #68 of 373
    chiguy50

    chiguy50 Well-Known Member

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    Could you please explain what you are referring to here? Unless I am missing something, the Roku does not aggregate the shows you follow on the separate VOD apps. So, e.g., if you have a favorite series on HBO, you would first have to launch HBO from the Roku's menu to find where you had left off watching that particular show and then do the same again for each of your VOD services.

    OTOH, as far as "what is available where," if that is what OP meant in its literal sense, the Roku does a good job of returning specific results among the VOD apps for that type of search.
     
  9. Jul 25, 2019 #69 of 373
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    You can follow shows on the roku. And you will be notified when new stuff appears. Then you will see a list of what apps it's available and a price. And you just select it and it opens the appropriate app. There are shows I purchase an entire season of. Ones that are not available on streaming services without commercials. And those are the ones I follow on my Rokus. I need to buy it that way to be able to avoid commercials.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  10. Jul 25, 2019 #70 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    I believe aaronwt is referring to Roku's "My Feed" feature. See here:

     
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  11. Jul 25, 2019 #71 of 373
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    Why is satellite seemingly losing a lot more subs than cable?
     
  12. Jul 26, 2019 #72 of 373
    OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    There's lots to unpack here, you've clearly given these predictions a lot of thought. Although I do think you're severely underestimating the impact of Disney's plans. Launching Disney+ at $7/month is going to undercut just about everybody and will be an absolute content juggernaut w/ Disney proper, Marvel, Star Wars & 20th Century Fox back catalogs. I agree that CBS, Viacom & probably Lionsgate too are going to combine one way or another.

    Over the next decade, I think there will only be three major standalone subscription video services and one of them will be Disney.

    Between Netflix, AT&T/HBO, CBS/Viacom and Comcast/NBC & Amazon Prime Video, only two will survive as separate services. I would not be surprised if Amazon or Netflix snapped up CBS/Viacom/Lionsgate. They keep losing content the other companies are pulling away and need more back catalog to go toe-to-toe with Disney, AT&T and Comcast.

    I also think Apple's going to stay in its lane--not a mega content creator like one of the others, but they'll make a tidy profit as a high-quality boutique service off to the side but not really in direct competition.

    Amazon's a bit of a wildcard. If they don't eat one of their rivals, they might just keep their video service as a throw-in w/ free shipping and scale back their ambitions of being a content powerhouse and go to more of an Apple-esque boutique model.
     
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  13. Jul 26, 2019 #73 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    For a lot of customers, it's a one-off relationship. DISH has no home broadband or home phone service to sell you. AT&T does, but only in parts of the country (mainly the South, Midwest and CA, and even there, they only offer decent broadband speeds in the cities and certain suburbs). The more services a company can offer a customer, the stickier the relationship is, the more the customer is likely to benefit from bundling discounts, and the less like they are to churn away to a competitor.

    Another reason that satellite TV, especially DirecTV, is losing so many customers is that, unlike cable/telco TV, satellite always requires that 2-year lock-in agreement for new customers. What DISH does is lock in a modestly discounted rate for customers throughout the length of that 24-month period and then go up on them a little once they become "free agents" starting with month 25. What DirecTV does is offer a drastically discounted rate -- about 60% off! -- for the first 12 months, then hit you with a big price hike to the standard price for months 13-24. Which, uh, customers don't like so much. And lots of them, as soon as month 25 rolls around, decide to bolt. And actually, there are a number of cable operators who will offer to pay off your early termination penalty fee for breaking your satellite TV contract early if you switch over to them. So I imagine that a not-insignificant number of DirecTV subs leave at some point in that second year rather than sticking it out to the end.

    Beyond that, AT&T (like Comcast and other MVPDs) is now trying to focus only on retaining the truly profitable video subscribers. In the past, the norm for both DirecTV and DISH has been to offer limited-term discounts to longstanding customers who are no longer under the initial 2-year contract. They knew those folks were free agents, so when they called up and complained about the bill, they were often thrown a bone in the form of $20 off per month for the next 12 months and/or a year of free HBO or whatever. That kind of Turkish bazaar haggling over pay TV billing is becoming a thing of the past, though. Increasingly, the MPVDs just don't care to keep you if you're going to insist on a price point that gives them a profit of like 75 cents a month on your TV account. And part of the reason that the cable TV industry is so hated among consumers is that they feel the need to go through this distasteful song-and-dance every so often to get what they see as a reasonable price for pay TV.

    So lately, DirecTV has become somewhat stingier in giving out those price breaks for long-standing customers. So that's also contributing to the exodus of subscribers.

    I expect that this fall when AT&T TV debuts, it will feature an everyday standard price, with the three main packages priced at $30, $50 and $70, with various add-on channels and features available. I don't think it will require a contract, unless it's a very short one (e.g. 3 months) that one can take in exchange for scoring a free AT&T TV streaming box. (Or they might just require you to pre-pay for your first couple months to get the free box, or make you buy the box but include a promo code in the package for a discount off your first month.) I think AT&T understands that Americans are fed-up with cable TV as usual and so they're going to move on from all that baggage.

    At the same time, I expect that DirecTV satellite will only offer the same set of channel packages as AT&T TV (all of which will include HBO and, when it launches next year, HBO Max). Existing DirecTV customers will be grandfathered into their existing packages but new customers will have to choose from the new set of packages. Except the prices will be higher on DirecTV and still require a 2-year contract. Gotta cover the expense of those pro installations, rooftop dishes, and big set-top boxes/DVRs. If they're smart, they'll switch their pricing for DirecTV so that it only has a modest discount in the first year, so that there's no big sticker shock come month 13.
     
  14. Jul 26, 2019 #74 of 373
    Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

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    Disney+ arrives on Nov. 12, just a few months from now. It's been hailed as the best thing since the invention of sliced bread and that which will lead us into the new streaming evolution. Looks like the same old repackaged Disney Channel to me with 2 walled in movie franchise whose best days are arguably behind them. Lot of brand and nothing interesting here. This might be one of the biggest con's about content ever. Take a look at Disney+ opening line up and tell me this channel (Excuse me, streaming) is going to take off and take the lead from Netflix.

    Disney+ launch day lineup includes tons of 'Star Wars,' Marvel and Disney Channel entertainment. Here's the full list
     
  15. Jul 26, 2019 #75 of 373
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Yes. I know I will be subscribing to Disney+ all year because of the very low cost.
    It is only $5.83 a month when paid yearly. The yearly cost will be only $69.99. That is a heck of a deal. I pay around $100 a year to Netflix for the UHD tier. And that is after getting Netflix gift cards at half price.
     
  16. Jul 26, 2019 #76 of 373
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Sounds like a good deal to me if the content will be in UHD/HDR. Either way for only $5.83 a month, it will be extremely inexpensive. Heck, I waste $8 a week on lottery tickets..
     
  17. Jul 26, 2019 #77 of 373
    Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

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    Obviously, getting what you pay for.

    Prediction: Prices will rise.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  18. Jul 26, 2019 #78 of 373
    trip1eX

    trip1eX Well-Known Member

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    where do you get netflix gift cards at half price?
     
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  19. Jul 26, 2019 #79 of 373
    OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush Active Member

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    They won't on day one. It'll take a few years for existing licensing deals to expire and they get more of their back catalog on there, but they'll be adding content at a fairly rapid pace and become the exclusive destination for future theatrical releases. Consider that mediocre remakes of 30 year old animated films are bringing in close to a billion each. There is no shortage of people who will throw money at this.
     
  20. Jul 26, 2019 #80 of 373
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Well, it's true that I didn't talk much about Disney+ in my predictions but I'm not sure how I'm severely underestimating it. Look at my final set of predictions -- post #55 -- in which I predict that by the end of 2024, Disney+ will have more subs than Netflix and rank behind only Amazon Prime Video in terms of total subscribers. (And that's only because of Prime's connection to Amazon's retail behemoth, not because there are tons of folks subscribed to just the Prime Video standalone service because they adore Jack Ryan and Lord of the Rings.)

    You're right, Disney+ is going to be huge. Sort of what HBO and Showtime were to the basic cable bundle from the '70s to the '00s -- premium ad-free add-ons -- that's what I think Disney+ will be for a lot of households, except that instead of skewing toward adults, Disney+ will skew towards families. No one's going to think of Disney+ as their main one-stop-shop for video entertainment but it'll be a premium experience with high-quality on-brand ad-free entertainment from today and yesterday, much of it available in 4K HDR. Disney+ will be a great complement to a mainstream TV service, whether that's the traditional cable channel bundle, or Hulu, or Netflix, or HBO Max, or some combo of those. And, yes, the pricing will be a big key to its uptake. Only $7! Heck, I think HBO cost at least that much back in 1980. ($7 in 1980 is worth $21.76 today due to inflation, BTW.) That said, we should expect that price to creep up over the next few years. Disney is being aggressive on pricing up-front to grab market share.

    As for further consolidation among the major media powers, I'm skeptical that the government will allow it. There's increasing concern on the political left, right and center about too much power getting concentrated into too few corporate hands. We'll see some more small/mid-size media outlets getting snapped up (e.g. my prediction of NBCU buying Crown Media, and CBS/Viacom buying AMC, Lionsgate and/or A+E Networks). But among AT&T/Warner, Comcast/NBCU, Disney, and CBS/Viacom, I don't see any of them buying another in that group. Too dicey, both politically and financially.

    Netflix probably has too much debt already (with iffy future growth prospects) to be able to manage an acquisition of CBS/Viacom; any of the other three are completely out of the question due to size. But Amazon? Yeah, maybe they could afford to buy one, if the government allowed it. But I'm doubtful that'll happen. There's increasing skepticism, if not outright growing hostility, toward Amazon's quest to rule the world. The Trump FTC and DOJ -- a Republican admin! -- are reportedly scrutinizing Amazon on an anti-trust basis. So I'm not sure I see Amazon being allowed to scoop up major US networks, films and TV studios, regardless of who wins the next election. (And can you imagine what a Pres. Warren might do to Amazon, Google and Facebook? Ha!)

    But, as I hypothesized in another prediction in this thread, I can imagine Amazon making a long-term broad strategic pact with Sony (as opposed to buying Sony outright). There are a lot of potential points of synergy for both companies there: an OTT streaming cable TV service (PS Vue), exclusive access to new theatrical films plus older TV series and films, a streaming video game service, a high-end brand of TVs that could run Fire TV OS, and Amazon's uber-important retail channel for selling all those Sony electronics.

    Amazon's ambition with all of their digital media/tech efforts will always be to extend the value of their Prime subscription and increase the amount of time and mindshare that consumers give to Amazon, which can only translate into additional dollars spent on goods ordered from Amazon. As Andy Gibb almost sang, Amazon just wants to be your everything.
     
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