Digital redistribution, however, severely hampers them. They can't "buy" copies of movies anymore. Instead, they must pay for the right to stream a movie for a certain amount of time to a certain number of users.
It's an unfortunate outcome, and it's all but guaranteed by the way copyright law works. If there were a law change to allow the digital equivalent of "owning one copy" or, say, allowing the owner of a DVD to stream its contents to exactly 1 recipient over the Internet per DVD owned, I think Netflix's catalog would be an order of magnitude larger.
In general it seems to me inefficient to have laws which prevent suppliers from charging fees close to the value they create. For example, if the government says "farmers cannot sell tomatoes for more than $2 per kilo" that would clearly restrict the total size of the 'economic pie' produced by growing tomatoes (shared between farmer and consumer). Similarly if we place restrictions on the kind of agreements that movie producers can negotiate with distributors it also limits the size of the movie industry.
TV and Movie owners already have copyright laws and DMCA laws giving them legal control on who gets their content and how it is used. The situation with Netflix is that now they can remove their past supply from the market to limit competition from their older titles. New content won't be better or more sought after than the older, it will just be the only one conveniently available. And as we move to more and more digital releases, there might not be any alternative way left to get the older content anymore.
You are right that this will pay salaries for industry people, but I agree with the parent that it's unfortunate.
And you have property laws giving you legal control over who gets your physical property and how it gets used. You could, for instance, loan your car to your family all you want, or agencies can rent their cars out as they wish. But the moment some stranger makes off with it, the government law enforcement agencies are obliged to help.
The legal distribution of content is a free market -- there is no government price setting agency and no monopoly more than other forms of ownership -- the public only needs to be better educated about what they are paying for.
With your exemple about cars for instance, if every car maker decided to refuse to sell their cars, and only accepted loaning them, they'd have a lot more control than they have now, as long as they collude to all go loaning only.
They could block reselling, forbid you by contrat from using your car for specific uses (or you'd need an extra fee for professional use for instance), they could get rid of all the second hand market and force old cars to retire prematurely. You are right that we'd fall exactly in the situation we discussed with Netflix.
The main issue is not digital property or not, it's basically that we have a model where there is no tranfer of property, and the producer only lends to the consumer instead of outright selling. As it was said in another comment, Netflix could own the physical DVD while now they only rent the digital copies.
The implication that this leads to a better movie offering is dubious. Would you say better movies are coming out now than 10/20 years ago? Even if more movies are coming (which I would find very easy to believe), I doubt (as in: I'd need to see some evidence) it's a consequence of digital distribution rights.
The tomato example is also bogus. Yes it's inefficient if this restriction does not have a raison d'être. But (completely) free markets do not magically create a societal optimal.
This can be easily solved. We solved it with music.
If that's the case, how can Taylor Swift or Garth Brooks etc keep Spotify from streaming their music? Why aren't all streaming music services catalogs exactly the same? And how can labels demand YouTube take down my video slideshow of vacation pictures that features popular songs?
Why can't we fix the law so movies can work the same?
Hulu used to be their great big hope, since it's owned by several media companies, but they seem to have given up on that (even as Hulu has finally been worth using as they finally gave an option to pay and not still see ads).
Let's examine the Hulu usecase & customer storyboard. Who the fuck would want to pay, to watch selective programming...with commercials? What customer wants a worse, more tempermental version of their DVR box, that forcibly eliminates the features making a dvr/tivo box useful?
Not only that but HBO? are they kidding. I am an HBO customer and I pirate HBO shows because they load faster and are in at least as good quality.I used to do this to Adobe. I commend them for lowering their product price and really getting competitve/offerig a ton of value. I pay $20 for creative cloud which is totally worth it for me vs. the time/aggrevation of pirating.
I would've paid for hulu if I could watch shows as they aired, and anytime after, without commercials. Obviously, I can never pay for/trust them and never will, now. Netflix really needs a competitor...
edit, to people saying HBO Now is good. HBO Go started in 06'. If it takes your company (one with the highest leverage in the industry) one decade to achieve mediocrity, you're already dead.
Let's explore HBO further. HBO is a compan that primarily buys an resells content through a dying (but currently critical) distribution mechanism. Sure they develop their own content too, and it is really good tbh. It's just that when they end up like blockbuster, they will have to sell it through netflix. I mean, how the fuck didn't they see this coming...
Most homes do that. The people that hate commericals are a small but growing minority. And Hulu just recently released a no-commerical plan for like 13 bucks a month.
>I am an HBO customer and I pirate HBO shows because they load faster and are in at least as good quality.
I have really good experience with HBO NOW (and before it GO). It'll stream in 1080p the second the show airs on tv. They had some fuck ups a could years ago during some premiers, but since they moved to being hosted on mlb.tv, it's been great.
I'm going to have to stop you there. With the exception of the 4 hours surrounding the superbowl, you go out into whereever you live and find someone who wants more commercials. Maybe you are correct, that people who hate them is a minority as it is a strong sentiment, but they certainly aren't going to pay hulu? Why the fuck would they, they would just simply be purchasing a worse expereince than the DVR box they currently own? I mean maybe, if they demanded portability, and had an unliited data plan, but this is a strawman, as netflix exists.
> I have really good experience with HBO NOW
That's cool, and I respect that. One of my buddies worked on HBO Go when they started to think through the idea in 06. So I can't really trust a company that has arrived at mediocrity after a full decade of tackling a problem.
 This is a thought experiment. You are super obviously wrong. The majority of people, of course, fucking hate commercials.
The bottom line is, the content creators have everyone by the balls and no matter how few ads the streaming sites show or how fancy their video player is there is very little they can do about it.
Where as you correctly observed, the content is the only thing that matters for video.
I disagree that it's mediocre. It's just different from Netflix, and has worked well when I use it.
Also, this is a well entrenched company in the cable industry that is working hard to maintain their current revenue stream while opening up a new revenue stream from a completely different distribution channel.
I can think of a number of companies that have failed to do this. Oracle and SAP in the cloud are at the top of mind. This is challenging for any company to do.
However, hbo go started getting developed in 06'.I am not saying it isn't difficult to do, but if you can't do video at scale in 2016 when your core product is video and you have 8-10 years of developer hours spent on it, I mean, what are you doing? The reason, if I understand correctly, it is pretty decent now is because hey bought/licensed mlb.coms tech.
Also, your Netflix answer for mobile is a non-answer. Jaccard similarity between Netflix and Hulu is pretty low.
> Also, your Netflix answer for mobile is a non-answer.
Again, not super sure what you meant. However, I was arguing that hulu is pointless vs a dvr. It is all around worse (price, performance, convenience, reliability in programming & behavior) than a dvr box, except portability. So I viewed it like this:
1. Hulu has only 1 single advantage over dvr
2. The advantage is portability of media & devices.
3. Netflix too has all the advantages of a dvr AS WELL AS portability.
4. Hulu has virtually 0 value as 2 substitutes exist in the market that are leagues better than it.
So again, i believe we are agreeing ;).
Just because they were bad 10 years ago and are good now does not mean it took 10 years to get good. It means sometime in the last 10 years, they got good. That may have been yesterday, it may have been last year, or the year before, or the year before, etc.
I had no hair on my head when I was born. I have hair on my head now. Did it take me decades to grow hair, or did I grow it years ago and merely continue to have hair on my head to this day?
To be clear, software design is hard and sometimes you need to iterate. However, you are HBO so we can assume that you are either incompetent or just DGAF. Either way, GO floundered for the next halfish decade as an utter piece of shit totally eclipsed by for profit pirating sites doing a 10x better job delivering the content someone ripped from a box and then put online into native media players they wrote themselves that bury 2-3 layers if iframes into the page so they can still try and serve ads...this was a 10x better experience than HBO go. You had to find your cable password and go through an insane experience of finding passwords and cookie failures to get the privelege of a horrible search, viewing and quality experience.
After a decade, HBO licensed technology from a completely independent party and now has halfway decent UX/UI. So I do not feel perfectly qualified to speculate on how your hair progressed because I don't know you. However, I would say that if you spend 1 decade avidly working on an application which would prove to be core to your business had it been successful, and then you ultimately just end up leasing one...well yeah you're fucking dead. I mean what does HBO do?
It buys content and sells it. So they just lost the decade head start to build a distribution platform for that.
> But they develop their own original programming!
Everyone was thinking that. Correct, they mostly buy scripts and fund projects that have been pitched to them. Sure they do some stuff, but it would be a lot easier for netflix to buy the people (or the process) of developing the few shows HBO actually has a hand in creating (rather than simply buying and funding a pilot) than HBO has of recreating Netflix.
So HBO is dead. Hulu is somewhat dead, I suspect due to the ties with legacy rent-collectors it will not "die" but just rebrand and be a slightly less horrible version of itself.
> Did it take me decades to grow hair, or did I grow it years ago and merely continue to have hair on my head to this day?
Humans grow hair at a semi average rate of 0.5 inches a year. So if you were a typical human, unless you hair is over 60inches long then the hair is from new growth < 1 decade old.
Broadcast TV DVRs like HD Homerun and Channel Master DVR+ are currently under-utilized (even TIVO, the leader, is), but eventually may become well-known and used.
People like me.
I suspect that one of the things that Netflix cannot afford using AWS is to have content available that not enough people watch. They end up paying the storage charges with no revenue.
> I suspect that one of the things that Netflix cannot afford using AWS is to have content available that not enough people watch. They end up paying the storage charges with no revenue.
Licensing is a vastly higher cost than the AWS bill. It's all about what they can afford to license.
That is incredibly wrong.
Conservatively speaking, the average film can be stored with 1gb. The Library of Congress has 1.7 million videos (the largest film collection in the world).
1.7PB could be stored on S3 for $54k a month which is, while not insignificant, is almost certainly insignificant compared to Netflix's streaming costs.
> Conservatively speaking, the average film can be stored with 1gb
Well actually.....Netflix transcode their material to hundreds to different formats. I think you'll find that a single film will probably take up several gigs, possibly hundreds once it's been transcoded:
Also, I've never gotten close to 10GB for even 1080p films.
However, as others have pointed out, these moves are about licensing deals with the content providers.
Edit: My point is that storage cost of their content is basically a non-factor in their decision making process.
I suspect that their licensing fees are orders of magnitude more than the distribution costs. The size of the catalog seems to me like it would be limited by the content owners terms more than storage prices.
"The goal," he says, "is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."
Agreed on the Hollywood part. They are asking too much.
I've found their selection to be really poor. As someone else said their back-catalogue for movies is wafer thin.
How about we also get Spotify, iTunes and Google Play to step up the exclusives on their music services so I can never have a single place to go to listen to music.
Remember, part of what made Netflix possible to begin with was the fact that the content they were licensing had already made its money through theatrical runs, cable deals and home video for movies, and original network fees and syndication rights for TV shows. So the content holders only had to worry about marginal revenue over negligible costs -- you can get very little for the content and still come out ahead. As streaming becomes a bigger and bigger piece of the pie, it canibalizes those other revenue channels, and more and more streaming money is required to make it revenue-positive. The market is reacting.
The problem with this argument is, financially, I'd be willing to pay $NN/month for access to everything in a single distributor like Netflix.
If the effort required to stay legal exceeds reason [which is what you are suggesting with N channels purchased separately] why bother?
I've honestly reached a point where I'm completely indifferent to anything that isn't already on Amazon Prime or Netflix. Create a dozen distributors and people will just pirate things.
I'm talking about the quality/difficulty of service access, not the price.
I probably should have just used $NN as the price. I've changed the OP from $50 to that if it makes it clearer.
If you make me sort through 10 services, the time for the consumer to access the desired content is faster via piracy.
The problem with this argument is, financially, all the content distributors and rightsholders we currently have right now can't survive on that price. I mean, you're breaking out the dumb pipe provider into their own price bucket, so it's not apples-to-apples with current cable companies, but think of how much an everything package with a cable or satellite company costs, and think about how much content you don't get in such a package.
Making money off their old catalog is more like a freebie when it's all milked out.
In contrast, TV comes with a built in meta-discovery system. You can effortlessly switch between channels and even quickly summon up an overall display of which channels have which.
It seems like there might be a hole opening in the market for a streaming aggregator which will provide a unified interface for managing your various subscriptions and switching between them (including to paid sources). It's too bad that every company would likely oppose such a service and thereby make it technically and legally impractical to maintain.
A nice feature I recently discovered of the Roku. It exposes a "Search" feature that searches across all the various streaming channels and apps. Then, when you click on it, it takes you to the relevant page seamlessly (so long as you have a subscription to that app).
Not sure if the other streaming devices have that, but a Roku is all I've tried up until now.
2) Dogpile vs. Google
> Combining the cord-cutting trend in recent years with the growing number of consumers who have never subscribed to cable television, a total of 24.6 million households, or 20.4% of all U.S. households, were cable-free at the end of 2015.
And yeah, I don't really care about changing minds at this point. I've accepted I'm never going to be in the majority on anything.
There is no god-given reason for any of these choices. Notably, there is widespread room for disagreement on what constitutes "fair use" of these items that circumscribes the space of what makes them a product. These are legal constructs, and they exist to the extent that they are enforceable by law.
Now, for example, we are seeing attempts to cast copyright ownership across particular tunes or styles of music; if this succeeds, this is a new paradigm in ownership, it is not some pre-ordained law.
Property of all forms is a legal construct, a man-made thing. Where we set the bounds determines, to a large extent, who ends up owning it and reaping the profits. For example, the DMCA provisions required certain proprietary anti-circumvention measures to be included in all audio-recording devices; it is difficult to argue that this is how the market "should work".
Without legal protection, you're absolutely correct that a film cannot be excluded from consumption by non-payers and infinite reproducibility makes it non-rivalrous.
That doesn't make films fungible though. They are very far from being even imperfect substitutes. If I am somehow able to keep the latest Avengers film excludable then very few will be willing to accept the "substitute" of a knock-off rom com with C-list actors.
In markets, profits flow to whoever owns a monopoly.
This goes too far. There are clearly better movies and worse movies, but if you have the choice between two movies of the same quality, they are basically fungible. If one of them is on the streaming service I subscribe to and the other one isn't, I know which one I'm going to watch and which one I'm not going to get around to.
> It's the content creators driving this.
You're agreeing with the post you replied to.
I understand it, and I'm not sure why you felt the need to state it.
> My reading of his argument is that it's a conspiracy between Netflix, Hulu, etc, to make more money for themselves.
I was trying to find a nice way to say "I think that you read the argument wrong".
darpa_escapee's argument is about a conspiracy of content owners. The conspiracy that they're talking about is spreading content from the major providers across as many distribution channels as possible, so that one would have to subscribe to half a dozen services to get access to all the media produced by a particular content owner, for example.
Most of those streaming services work on virtually every console and standalone streamers like AppleTV and Roku.
None of what you said holds water when you look at it objectively and economically. I hate cable companies as much as the next guy, but if you actually compare your budget on cable vs streaming, you'll often find that streaming costs more if you're trying to get close to the same offerings.
Pretty much the only thing that keeps me from dropping cable TV is the fact that I can't get anything OTA so dropping cable TV would mean dropping TV 100%.
(I do periodically toy with the idea of idea of dropping down to non-HD basic cable. But it's a bit like dropping landline phone service. It would save some $$s but I would be giving up a service that I use, albeit lightly.)
Conversely, the more market power netflix gains, the better they can negotiate with more rightsholders for more content while piracy -- as a free grey market alternative -- hopefully keeps them from abusing their position too much.
A few years back  Netflix was getting too strong, and fearing the iTunes effect the studios pushed back and stopped licensing their best stuff to Netflix.
Is there any app like that but standalone, where you don't need a special speaker for it?
Still it's not much different from Hulu having exclusive rights to stream airing episodes of television shows. Someone has to be paid for all of this work.
Besides, ITS NETFLIX. Everyone has a Netflix account or a family member's login. If this were done on some other kind of service, then we might reasonably expect a backlash.
That's hilarious, where did you get that idea?
Netflix has roughly 35 million accounts in the US, out of a population of over 300 million. It's the most popular streaming service, but stream isn't that popular yet... internet denizens always forget we are a tiny minority of the US population.
Exactly, that's the real question here. Anecdotally, about half the people I know have access to Netflix.... but that's heavily skewed towards young tech workers. I'm not sure how that matches the general population.
Also remember that there are many Netflix customers that use the physical DVD service without any streaming (I know many older parents in this group).
Which accounts for both those who are using a relative's login, or multiple family members in a household. There's five people in my house using my account, all immediate relatives. A bit more than a year ago, household penetration of streaming was 40% in the US (combined Netflix, Hulu and Amazon). The original statement was obvious hyperbole, but I wouldn't be surprised if well over 100 million people had access to Netflix through those ~35 million accounts.
You'd be surprised, I know many folks that are convinced over half the country uses Netflix. Filter bubbles can heavily influence those perceptions.
> There's five people in my house using my account, all immediate relatives.
My dorm shared an account in college... we had 8 people on the same account. 5 now have their own accounts, including myself, and the rest stopped using Netflix. Conversely, my parents and their neighbors are DVD-only Netflix customers.
I think the truth is somewhere between 100 million and 35 million streamers, which still puts it at (late) "early adoption". In that context the spread of streaming exclusives is a little worrying... "Stream anything at any time for a flat rate" is a very disruptive vision. "Some services have some of what you want" is a much weaker sell.
How about no?
Because the companies that profit off our extremist copyright laws control the media, they don't talk about this very much, but copyright, as currently implemented, is extremely unfair for the consumer, to the extent that many consumers break copyright laws several times a day and often don't even know they've done anything illegal.
We need serious intellectual property modernization and reform.
Anyway, the alternative would be worse. If there was no reason to pick one streaming provider over another on the basis of content, one would quickly become a monopoly, which would be bad for both content creators and consumers.
This is addressed by something called the "first sale doctrine", which states that IP holders only have control over the direct sale between themselves and the other party, and cannot exert control over second, third, or later sales.
Tesla, of course, is not obligated to offer their cars for sale in any particular venue. They cannot, however, stop someone else who possesses a Tesla car from offering it for sale either as a private party or through a third-party dealer. This is why you can go to the Ford dealer and leave with a used Honda. Honda didn't give that car to Ford, but it legally came into the dealer's possession through an intermediary, and thus, the Ford dealer has every right to sell it on their own terms.
The difference here is that we're discussing direct physical goods that may contain intellectual property, whereas Netflix and the internet remove the necessity of the physical medium. This is really where our existing technology access laws begin to fall down. They just do not adequately contemplate a world that does not require transactions of hard physical tokens to exchange substantial sums of information. Of course, the very fact that computer networks don't require that is what gives them their power.
>Anyway, the alternative would be worse. If there was no reason to pick one streaming provider over another on the basis of content, one would quickly become a monopoly, which would be bad for both content creators and consumers.
I don't think this makes sense. Just the opposite is true. If everyone could license the content at a reasonable price and show it on their streaming service, the best streaming service in terms of actual quality would be able to win. Under the current regime, if you don't have both the capital and the clout to spend months in secret meetings with the big media companies, your video streaming startup will simply never gain steam at all. It's much better for the competitive landscape if everyone is legally allowed to show the content.
> If everyone could license the content at a reasonable price...
...I think you're touching another precedent: compulsory licensing (or statutory licensing, in UK parlance).
This is an interesting idea, although it'd be tough to get the right people to agree to it. It also raises the question on just what streaming services would be competing on, if not content. UX, perhaps?
My guess is that under a scenario like this, the price for any one service would be substantially higher than what we're paying now for Netflix and competitors. I'd personally be just fine with a service that had, say, a $30-40 month range, even if it were partially supported by ads the way Hulu is (although it'd be nicer if, like Hulu, you could pay a little more to make most of the ads go away).
You are the one who is trying to mis-apply a legal doctrine developed for physical objects (first sale doctrine) to digital files.
The old adage is "possession is 9/10ths of the law". We need to think about how that applies in the digital age, when much of what we "own" is only represented by a relatively small handful of bits on a drive in a datacenter somewhere, and not in the legal owner's direct physical possession.
I have season pack DVDs and I have season packs I've bought on Amazon Video (I also have over 200 games on Steam, where this issue is probably much more salient). Ideally, the medium wouldn't matter, legally speaking; what would matter is that I owned a copy of something. As it stands, I have substantially more rights with a DVD than with a bit assigned to my user profile in Amazon's database somewhere. We need to find a way to port the first-sale doctrine to the digital world, and otherwise update our arcane technology access laws.
Separately but relatedly, we also need to weaken copyright protections substantially to grant a more even balance between the financial interests of the rightsholders and the cultural interests of the public at large, and to correct the economic inequities that flow from government's grant of a practically-eternal (since most copyrights that come into being today are not going to expire until most or all of us are dead), almost-unlimited (since copyrights allow the rightsholder to squash almost any use and since it requires millions of dollars to fight the media conglomerates and establish as valid just one single, isolated usage as legally fair) monopoly to the rightsholder.
You mean the public that still exchanges terabytes  of pirated content every month in the US alone that the rights holders are unable to stop?
1. Sandvine estimates single digit percentage of daily Internet traffic in the US is BitTorrent. That is huge in absolute numbers.
EDIT: Also, it's improper to classify all BitTorrent traffic as piracy. It was specifically designed to transfer large files. Applications like World of Warcraft use it internally to distribute game files.
I'm not real optimistic that people will ever come to see exclusive media deals as contracts designed to increase revenues.
Streaming services are the worst. I shouldn't have to subscribe to a half dozen different services. Someone should sell a bundle that gives me access to all of them for a lower price.
But a la carte hasn't taken off in streaming services, so now we're recreating channels. Next will be bundles where you can get Netflix and Hulu and Amazon together. Blah.
Instead we have all those channels in a perpetual race to the bottom to attract just enough eyeballs to be worth "keeping on the payroll" of the bundle.
The racing footage I used to be able to get on Speedvision (on the rare occasion where my local provider HAD Speedvision!) was worth far more to me than the $0.20 they got from my subscription.
I for one, welcome our a-la-carte overlords, where my dollars go to the content I want.
(Say there's $30 on average of revenue in the cable bundle with only $15 of it being desired spending on average. The channels get a lot more revenue with the opaque bundles, and they are still competing to some extent for the revenue.)
Here's a NYTimes article from 2012 titled "The 'Mad Men' Economic Miracle". http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/09/magazine/the-mad-men-econo...
AMC was making $30 million per MONTH off 80 million subscribers despite Breaking Bad having less than 3 million viewers.
Their price is a reflection of how much people want it. ESPN (and sports as a whole) are a big driver of cable subscriptions, which helps all cable channels.
Now how is that any different from cable?
In my mind, exclusive content is great for a business and bad for the consumer but for some reason people think its a good idea to market it to consumers. If you said Netflix has popular XYZ shows and they stopped being available elsewhere, it would avoid people realizing that Netflix is now playing the same games as the cable mafia did/does and instead people would just be happy that they could watch things fully on demand with all the conveniences of netflix.
I can understand why they would market it. If you love Disney, now you know that you need to have a Netflix account to watch it, so Netflix is using it to attract customers.
I'm skeptical of the assertion that most people care, at all. Outside of specific circles (overrepresented on HN), I know vanishingly few people who are willing (able?) to tie company's actions to their market-level consequences.
Marketing this seems like a no brainer: allowing consumers to think this feature isn't exclusive to you just means that they're more comfortable switching to or picking your competitors. Being clear about exclusivity means that you're shifted well up the "must-have" spectrum for many consumers.
"I'm skeptical of the assertion that most people care, at all" - agreed BUT - do you think them advertising exclusiveness is something people care about? because if only a few people remember its exclusive (and wouldn't otherwise have picked up netflix) then it could be that the effect of the consumers paying attention and being annoyed is greater than those converted by exclusiveness
I absolutely do. Lucasfilm, Disney, Pixar, and Marvel are probably top of the list for studios with actual (and powerful) brand recognition. (By contrast, most movie goers probably couldn't tell you which specific movies Miramax or Universal or whatever make).
People see this and it translates as "if I want to stream The Avengers or Frozen or Star Wars or Iron Man or [etc], I better get Netflix". It's hard to think of a set of movies with better brand recognition.
Why September if the deal started in 2016? It covers movies that premiere in 2016 or later, and September is nine months after the January 29 release of The Finest Hours, the first Disney movie expected to be exclusive to Netflix.
 — I earlier opined that Zootopia would kick it off, but The Finest Hours was Disney's first 2016 release and since 7-9 months is the typical wait for a pay-TV window, it seems Disney movies will be on Netflix 9 months after release.
You can look at stock price sure but Disney revenue has been going up by billions year over year and I don't see that changing much, even if ESPN starts to shrink, because of the valuable movie IP they have.
Some of the recent chip maker mergers come to mind but that's a different market - when does a company merge with a company that by revenue is ~10x smaller and by net income 2 orders of magnitude smaller?
Does that mean we will have to pay to watch them? Makes sense from a market standpoint since they are likely to be highly sought after but this pay per movie looks like new turf for netflix.
Perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising given the ongoing spat between Amazon and Disney. Sad to see we are at a place where competition is high but rarely makes the best decisions for users.
I would have assumed the US pay TV Home of the latest films from Disney and its subsidiaries would be the Disney Channel?
I'm not paying for 3-4 streaming services with all exclusive rights, nor i'm willing to constantly change apps for finding the right movie.
What does that even mean? Can someone who understands the lingo clarify this for me? Does that mean I'll have to pay per-view to see Disney content on Netflix?
"Pay TV" is in contrast to "broadcast TV". A basic cable package would be included in "pay TV". HBO, Showtime, and Starz are "premium channels", which would be a subset of pay TV. Netflix is also a subset of pay TV, but I think that most people wouldn't include it in a list of premium channels. CNN, FX, and other cable networks are examples of "Pay TV" that would be left out of your definition, as I understand it.
What it doesn't bar is Disney movies showing up on channels that don't necessarily require a subscription, like ABC (Disney owned network).
"The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."
Did you think they were going to get the same value for 1/10 the cost?
: first google search result :/
: more googling
Media companies have refused to learn from the $0.99 iTunes store years ago: people don’t want albums anymore, they want songs. They do want your TV show, they just want to download it from anywhere they damn well please. They do want your game, they just don’t want to have to buy an entire new console to get it. And so on. If you’re supposed to be in the business of selling X then sell it; don’t conjure up scheme after scheme to try to force consumers to get other crap. And definitely don’t complain when they see through it all and refuse to give you a dime.
If all the streaming services offer the same content then none of them are special. And if one service ends up offering something you can only get from them then they have a leg up on the competition. Soon other services start trying to compete by getting exclusive content and eventually anyone who doesn't play the game is pushed out.
If we're serious about hating exclusive and if we want to move away from them then you need to talk about the system that causes it to happen.
Why doesn't it work like this for example?
Distributor gradually sells the film, and gets percentage of each sale (and the rest goes to creators). Then creators benefit from using as many distributors as possible, because it will maximize profit in the long run. If they are just paid once by the distributor, then sure, they can't rely on potentially growing amount of sales over time.
In case of games it works like I said above. And in case of music it can work that way too. So why not for films?
What you have described essentially exists now with video-on-demand (tied with IPTVs usually) that have, essentially, displaced brick and mortar video rentals. It's more of a case of you getting percentage out of them then they out of you. That's due in part because of large user bases and monopolies. If you want viewers to rent or buy your stuff you have to go to the larger players, and they are aware of that.
There's another issue at play here, in contrast with games. Films and television programmes have a life cycle that is usually tied to initial theatrical or television run and that is decoupled from its life in rental and buying later on. Both business lives of a movies don't even have to be tackled by the same business entity/owner. In order for a film or series to live through direct sales it needs marketing or very strong brand recognition (and even then marketing). Most films do not have that. Most rights holders hold more than one film too. For a successful rental/vod/buying there needs to be marketing effort and in order to mitigate that industry has devised film channels and specialised channels that run stuff you might be a part of. That way, all of marketing is concentrated on channel's programming and stuff is pushed onto that. Trouble is, those channels do not like if stuff is also available on vod that isn't theirs. Another trouble is that rights holders do not like to sell one movie at a time, it's not viable. Usually, what happens, is that rights holders know they have a strong movie and package several weak ones with it in order to push sales for those as well. It's also common for a channel to seek for a particular title and they get pushed other content in a package to them, or they want a package, etc. Various permutations of that exists.
What happens with vod is that sales are, for the most content, dead. Dumping your catalogue onto a vod renders your sales with channels dead as well. So, it's a bit of a conundrum from which side to tackle the issue at all.
Those are just my initial thoughts on what I see each day in that space. It has a lot of intricate details layered below and above that, but it all boils down to the fact that channels render money for your entire catalogue and vod only for a select few titles. If you want to sell your entire catalogue, you go through channels since they buy those great titles of yours as well as packaged crap ones. VOD is a harsh mistress that loves only the pretty ones and you still have to tackle marketing for that by yourself and accept whatever the gods of the vod platform will give you.
Then there is the period of gradual sales, i.e. people who don't buy the game because it's new / hyped, but because they like the genre, discovered it years later and so on (assuming it's a good game, and not some junk that gets forgotten for good as soon as it comes out). Over time such sales can be even significant, but they don't directly contribute to critical expenses recovery.
So for games both use cases are commonly addressed through similar distributors, yet for films this somehow poses a problem.
You're forgetting a key factor here. Unlike games sales channels, films and tv shows also have programme channels which are willing to pay for running your old shows. And, unlike vod/direct sales, they tend to generate money for all of your catalogue. You kind of have that with games through those bundles every now and then. Issue is that, with game analogy, those bundle sellers (who upfront the marketing for your old stuff) aren't willing to have your stuff if it's on steam as well. Also, they don't pay from what they sell, but a fixed fee for each run.
So, it kind of is like games and isn't at the same time. Namely due to tv channels which generate the most money for that after life. Also, take into account that most rights holders have a catalogue of items which has dead weight in them which they try to capitalise on. Hence package deals and channels wanting or being forced into getting them in order to get hot items. That's, I presume, reason why you see, in games, distributor bundles as well. Business ideas have converged already, apart from tv channels where there's no analogy in games. I'm still waiting to see what will become of widespread and free platforms like youtube where, I am sure, there will be sponsored screenings of certain parts, if not whole, catalogues as well.
Regarding TV channels - I think they are slowly declining and eventually will die out completely, because they aren't really a flexible method, that's why you don't see anything similar in games which is a newer industry and has less legacy baggage to deal with.
With TV channels going away, my instinct was the same - being oriented more towards "I'll watch what I want and when I want" and different outlets that enabled that have been booming (youtube, torrents, netflix-like platforms, etc). However, TV is bringing in more business than ever. It seems that it's not a zero-sum game between those two. In fact, it seems those two aren't even competing.
It's true that "Wider reach = more potential users who pay for it" but it's the amount they pay that's more important.
It's still more expensive than monthly netflix but at least I own it rather than having anxiety over losing access to it.
One thing people aren't mentioning is that this is 'pay TV'. So Netflix is starting to sell short term rentals?
If I were Disney, I'd create my own service. HBO claims such a thing is hard but I don't buy it. Charge $50-100 for some ever-changing sub-set of the library. Profit. Still provides plenty of room to cut deals with all the movie services and maintain some artificial scarcity.
I'd like to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, but as far as I can tell there is no way to rent it digitally. You can only purchase. If you want to rent it you have to rent a physical disc from RedBox.
Yet I can rent Deadpool and many other Marvel properties.
Does anyone know why Ultron seems to be singled out?
Essentially, Fox owns the rights for X-Men and Deadpool is an X-Men universe character. Fox and Disney have different views on rental and sale windows.
I love the $1 SD or $2 HD rental VidAngel offers on latest DVD releases. Not sure how long this will last though.
What I want from a content delivery service is for them to deliver content, not produce it and not cultivate exclusives. Their business-model changes when they wear three or four hats and who they're serving also tends to change. I like to keep it simple. If you make your service convenient and the content you sell convincing enough, I'll shop there. Just like any store. You don't have to be the only store in town that can sell pickles as long as your store is in a convenient location, you take cash and have a value-priced variety of products. You can bypass all that if you convince all pickle-manufacturers to only sell to your store though. People shouldn't applaud this.
The subscription model makes this more difficult because you become dependent on the store and not the product-producer. Ownership is more ambiguous and who gets paid and how much becomes the storefront's decision as they gain adoption (see Amazon). I wrote more about what I think would be great at an airplane level on another post. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better. It might take a MtGox level Steam shuttering for people to start valuing ownership again.
From September onwards, Netflix will become the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
I don't personally care a whole lot but it's not difficult at all to understand why. The fact that they weren't on any services earlier left the possibility open for them to come to an arbitrary amount of services. Given how ubiquitous streaming services are becoming, one could reasonably consider this somewhat inevitable. The announcement of the exclusivity deal has collapsed the possibility space so now it's certain that they won't be coming to the other services (for the lifetime of the deal).
Pirating content is morally wrong. If you actually disagreed with the media industry, you would not consume their products instead of stealing access to them.
Disregard me if you live in a place where you don't have legal channels of media consumption available...
I don't know. Through piracy, especially poor people in developing countries have had access to a lot of software, books, education, even medicine, that they simply could not have been able to afford otherwise.
I think arguing against education and books is harder, but generally I will stand by my statement that stealing is wrong.
If you do make an argument, I'd advise you to leave the whole "stealing" part aside. It's really only a weak shortcut to proving the immorality of content piracy, and it's better to avoid such tricks and show the full argument.
I would not stand on morality for an industry that thrives on economic inequality and lack of diversity.
Any one of those providers has more content than any one person can reasonably consume.
If you want to have a huge variety of premium content, don't get angry it costs a lot more than a barebone package.
If I go to an Indian buffet, I'm not angry they don't have general tsos. Even though it would be great if they did.
Your conclusion, of course, makes sense in your framework. Pirates reject that framework.
You are making the argument that making a duplicate tractor is stealing a tractor.
With digital piracy, nobody actually loses anything. They don't gain anything, but they don't lose anything either. You can call this whatever you want. To me, the net harm is significantly different than if you took money or property away from someone, so using the same word to describe both situations is inaccurate.
In some cases the entertainment industry benefits from pirating. Some studies have shown how pirating can drive demand, and how the most voracious pirates also spend more money on entertainment.
That's in a class of arguments that include statements like "If you disagreed with the use of your tax money, you would not pay taxes."
Or "If you disagreed with the agricultural industry, you would not consume produce."
There are people who boycott elections because they dislike the candidates being offered. Do we see the political system change when 50% of people stop voting? No, all that happens is that the candidates focus on the people who do vote.
In a market, the biggest problem to a company is competition that will take market share and mind share. A customer that buy a competing product gives money to the competitor who then can invest that money into further competing products. A customer who boycott that market won't benefit you, but it also don't benefit the competition, so the status quo is maintained.
If we want an additional point of view, we can look into monopolies and what happens there when the single controlling entity has unreasonable prices and is strongly negatively perceived, like The Telephone Company of old. People could of course boycott them, but why would they care. So long enough people will pay what ever is demanded, then profits are earned and life will go on. When customers has no alternatives, except for stay outside of current culture and social norms, then they will pay what is demanded. People understood this already around the time of the founding of the United states and viewed monopolies as extremely dangerous and only valid for a very short and limited time, and exclusively for newly created works. That system turned into a 95+ years that we have today, and the consequences are that people no longer respect that deal that was copyright. The moral high ground of the copyright holder was lost a long time ago, and the moral thing to do is to simply deny the legitimacy of the corrupt law.
You could still eat extra meat discarded by others, stolen meat, or free promotional steaks being given away as part of an advertising campaign.
And if I can rant for a bit, why is there no amazon channel on Apple TV?!