Culture

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
tv, video, walled gardens

Companies:
disney, netflix



As Netflix Locks Down Exclusive Disney Rights, The New Walled Gardens Emerge

from the meet-the-new-boss dept

Back in 2012, Netflix and Disney struck a deal wherein Netflix would be the exclusive online provider of Disney content starting in 2016. And while we knew that the deal had been struck, it was only this week that Netflix announced on its blog that the exclusive arrangement would formally begin in September. As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films -- you need to do it via Netflix.

Given the popularity of the Marvel films and the now-annual release of new "Star Wars" titles, that deal has become bigger and more important than ever, making it a pretty large coup for Netflix. Especially if you consider that Disney is co-owner of Hulu, which is planning to dramatically scale up its own subscription streaming video service later this year or early next. In fact, while Hulu for years was little more than an uninteresting ad for traditional cable, data suggests that Hulu's catalog is now much larger, thanks in large part to Netflix's tight focus on original content.

And while this is good news if you already subscribe to Netflix, this ongoing quest to lock down content in exclusive arrangements has a notable downside as the practice expands. As Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon have tried to each lock down their own exclusives, finding your favorite movie or TV series has become a frustrating game of hunting and pecking to ferret out which provider has the exclusive rights. It's also becoming increasingly confusing for consumers to understand when these deals expire; something that's not effectively communicated by most streaming companies.

And, ironically, while many streaming video customers cut the cable cord due to high prices, exclusive arrangements are now forcing those customers to pay for countless streaming services if they actually want to access all of their favorite shows and movies. There's a certain danger in replacing the cable industry's long-standing walled gardens with newer, different walled gardens, and it's pretty clear most of these companies either don't see the potential pitfalls or, in a rush for eyeballs, just don't care.

And as broadcasters increasingly realize they can cut out the middlemen and launch their own streaming services, it seems inevitable that the exclusivity wars will only get worse. For example, if you want to watch the new "Star Trek" TV series from CBS when it launches in January 2017, you'll need to subscribe to CBS's $7 a month, All Access streaming platform. There's likely going to be a lot more where that came from, especially as Comcast takes a bigger role in managing Hulu (NBC Universal merger conditions preventing it from fiddling with Hulu to prevent anti-competitive shenanigans expire next year).

So while the streaming industry and broadcasters are intent on following the exclusivity concept deep down the rabbit hole, few if any seem to notice that while these kinds of exclusive deals may be good for one company over the short term, they're not going to be great for the broader streaming industry over the long haul. There's a lot of potential here to fracture content availability, confuse paying customers, and drive frustrated customers back to piracy after all of the work done to get them on legitimate platforms in the first place.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:50am

    Oh, boy. Karl writes another article, I get angry at his lack of understanding, and yet another pointless post will be made given I know damn well he's not going to change his opinion.

    Karl, how is this any different than current entertainment licenses today?

    Exclusive is what supports the consumer's purchase. Fair? Probably not, but it's been this way for centuries.

    Let's put this in perspective so you can understand it better. Disney recently purchased both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises.

    Prior to the announcement from Netflix, where could anyone stream any movies of these franchises? I'll tell you: No where.

    Now, for the first time ever, in the history of both Marvel and Star Wars, people can actually stream these shows.

    First. Time. EVER!

    Yes, the industry is moving like a glacial landmass to work towards providing people what they want to see and are willing to pay for.

    But the reality of the situation is people do not have to hunt and peck because there are only three services:
    Amazon
    Netflix
    Hulu

    Maybe 4, if YouTube can figure out what the hell it wants to do, but those are the big three.

    Just like the big three in "radio" are:
    Apple
    Spotify
    Pandora

    Yes, there are others out there, but if you're looking to license exclusive content, you're going to go with the bigger players who have established the customer base.

    What we should be taking away from this isn't criticism, but appreciation that maybe, just maybe, the rest of the movie industry will get off its lazy ass and do what Disney is doing, even if this means we have all three subscriptions which is still cheaper than cable.

    PS: there's still no such thing as unlimited data. >:]

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 6:49am

      Re:

      This is simply not true. I've been able to stream Star Wars and Marvel content from Amazon for years now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 6:51am

      Re:

      "I get angry at his lack of understanding"

      You seem to be somewhat lacking there yourself, I'm afraid.

      "Karl, how is this any different than current entertainment licenses today?"

      Part of the problem is that it's not. The new problem is that in previous eras, people would generally be subscribing to all the channels and would just have to know where to look to get the channel showing the show/movie desired. The consumer would just have to pay extra if the content wasn't on basic cable.

      Now, they're being asked to subscribe to and pay for each one separately. Not a bad thing if you're happy with the content on one or two services, a very bad thing if they're spread over many more.

      "But the reality of the situation is people do not have to hunt and peck because there are only three services"

      Your point goes out the window when you're wrong yourself. There's a *lot* more than 3 services out there. Hell, one additional service (CBS's All Access service) is directly referred to in the very article your whining about being wrong.

      "Yes, there are others out there, but if you're looking to license exclusive content, you're going to go with the bigger players who have established the customer base."

      Oh, sorry, I forgot - if you ignore facts then you're right...

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      • icon
        morganwick (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        Part of the problem is that it's not. The new problem is that in previous eras, people would generally be subscribing to all the channels and would just have to know where to look to get the channel showing the show/movie desired. The consumer would just have to pay extra if the content wasn't on basic cable.

        Now, they're being asked to subscribe to and pay for each one separately. Not a bad thing if you're happy with the content on one or two services, a very bad thing if they're spread over many more.

        "This is what we told you would happen if the cable bundle was broken up." -legacy content and cable companies

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    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 25 May 2016 @ 7:07am

      Re:

      "Just like the big three in "radio" are"
      https://www.google.com/search?q=internet+radio&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

      "First. Time. EVER!"
      Ha ha ha you're a year behind.
      http://decider.com/2015/04/07/star-wars-streaming/


      "there are only three services" (That YOU know of)
      https://www.google.com/search?q=movie+streaming+service&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

      "and yet another pointless post will be made"
      You got that right.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      "The current situation is terrible. We started moving towards a new situation, but it's starting to look a lot like the old situation. But it doesn't look identical to the old situation, therefore everything is better in all ways, and that means it's perfect."
      Fuck off with your bizarre rose-tinted spectacles, thanks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kallethen, 25 May 2016 @ 7:11am

      Re:

      The problem will exasperate more when the exclusiveness extends to each media company's own streaming services, as indicated in the article. That $10/mo each for Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu will grow as you have to tack on CBS, ABC, Fox, ePix, HBO, Showtime, ESPN, etc, etc, etc.

      I know I've looked into it and it feels like I'd be paying just as much for my current cable bundle as I would trying to cut the cord and still have access to the shows I want... and add in that I have poor reception of local TV thanks to some mountains.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chris-Mouse (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      Yes, there are others out there, but if you're looking to license exclusive content, you're going to go with the bigger players who have established the customer base.

      Or, as the article mentioned CBS doing, you could also go with the service you control, meaning consumers may end up having to subscribe to one service per production studio.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        Plus, different content has different audiences and thus may be more suited to different services. Unless you're pushing the most mainstream content, you might be better off with a smaller service where your content is more likely to be seen by a majority of subscribers rather than hidden away under better known content.

        It's not just that the "only 3 services" is a lie about the present state of the industry, it's also incredibly short-sighted about how content not from a major studio will be handled, even if you did assume that they'd only licence it to an existing player.

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    • icon
      MadAsASnake (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:44am

      Re:

      Even if you were right, you missed the point. Breaking up streaming content into "exclusives" and time boxing is exactly what drives people to alternatives. While I understand that these companies are trying to give people a compelling reason to buy, more often they are giving them a compelling reason to obtain it from source in which no-one gets paid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PRMan (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      And most of the Marvel movies have been free on Netflix repeatedly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 6:58pm

      Re:

      ...even if this means we have all three subscriptions...

      Nope, not happening. Just like I have no interest in going to three different stores for my groceries, I have no desire to prop up their decrepit business model by having multiple subscriptions. Exclusive licences are anti-consumer and should only ever be viewed with scorn.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 26 May 2016 @ 6:37am

        What if the MPAA did something useful...

        ...by setting up or collaborating with a streaming service, e.g. YouTube, to provide all the entertainment we want, perhaps via a subscription, then collected and distributed the ad and/or subscription royalties to the studios, etc.?

        If they did that instead of fighting streaming services or encouraging their members to fragment the market into separate walled gardens, content would be paid for and everyone would win.

        Sigh! 'scuse me while I put my pipe away, I've finished dreaming.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 26 May 2016 @ 7:23am

          Re: What if the MPAA did something useful...

          Three instant problems:

          1. Disney is part of the MPAA, so that wouldn't help the current situation. They could choose to still licence to a 3rd party rather than take on the extra costs & work involved with a new service.

          2. When the people in charge of the content try setting up their own service they have a habit of either making it woefully inadequate, locked down so far it's not usable or vastly overpriced. An MPAA-created streaming service would be horrible for the consumer.

          3. If they had their own service, do you honestly think they'd be giving fair deals to licence content to competitors?

          TLDR - if MPAA members were of the mindset to create a useful comprehensive service that would work, we'd already have one. This situation is the best we can hope for in the short term, I'm afraid.

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  • identicon
    Chris, 25 May 2016 @ 5:44am

    Streaming

    @Violynne I disagree completely. Amazon has the best platform currently, and you are certainly able to stream via prime or rental, a number of marvel movies:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dinstant-video&field-keywords= marvel
    Disney and Pixar movies:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_consumption_type_1?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A2858778011%2 Ck%3Adisney%2Cn%3A2858905011%2Cp_n_consumption_type%3A9052272011&bbn=2858905011&keywords=dis ney&ie=UTF8&qid=1464179814&rnid=8953052011
    And the newest Star Wars:
    http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Force-Awakens-Theatrical/dp/B019G7X8DS/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-vid eo&ie=UTF8&qid=1464179873&sr=1-1&keywords=star+wars&refinements=p_n_consumption_ type%3A9052272011

    Now unlike Amazon, Netflix does not allow for rental currently. Which means that portions of the catalogue of these properties that Disney does not want to allow unlimited streaming of (would require rental fees) are now simply going to be unavailable. Maybe you can find them in a redbox sometimes, but exclusivity means some of these titles will simply be unavailable unless you purchase the physical media (or presumably a digital copy somewhere).

    Exclusivity is not pushing anything forward, it is just moving backward. Things being 'this way for centuries' is a terrible argument for why it should stay the same. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have been major disruptions to the entertainment marker, but that innovation is now reverting to these companies shift toward being the next Comcast and TWC... Wider availability and competition are best for the consumer not exclusive deals.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 6:46am

    Not me

    exclusive arrangements are now forcing those customers to pay for countless streaming services

    I have seen the need for multiple subscriptions coming for quite a while now and I will not be participating. I can wait for Redbox to get the movie for $2 rather than pay for 2, 3 or more subscription services. It will cost as much as cable and you still won't have all of the content.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 8:18am

      Re: Not me

      I can wait for my local library to get it and watch it for free.

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:16pm

      Re: Not me

      I'm waiting out the crazy-proliferation and crash/consolidation phases by hanging onto Netflix DVD service. I gotta get pretty esoteric to find something they don't have, and for Adventure Time beyond season 2, there's always the local library.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 25 May 2016 @ 6:58am

    "finding your favorite movie or TV series has become a frustrating game of hunting and pecking to ferret out which provider has the exclusive rights."

    You know the service that has EVERYTHING? Yup.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 7:04am

    Yo ho, yo ho.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:21am

    The elephant in the room

    Hard to believe a piece like this on TechDirt made it through editorial approval without the requisite paragraph on how this will only encourage more people to seek out unofficial sources for the content.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dreddsnik, 25 May 2016 @ 7:29am

      Re: The elephant in the room

      "Hard to believe a piece like this on TechDirt made it through editorial approval without the requisite paragraph on how this will only encourage more people to seek out unofficial sources for the content."

      It doesn't really need to be said anymore.
      Everyone else seems to get it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Brian (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:46am

      Re: The elephant in the room

      You may want to reread the final paragraph.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 25 May 2016 @ 7:38am

    Different Feathers - Same Bird

    I really want anyone who is anti-cable (or pro-cord-cutting, or whatever) to explain to me the difference between paying $65 for cable, or paying Amazon $100 a year for Prime, $10 a month to Netflix, $4 a month to Hulu, $7 a month to CBS 'All Access', and more?

    I mean, if you 'cut-the-cord', all you really are doing is cutting the cord. You're STILL paying for cable, whether your provider is one company, or seven companies auto-billing your credit card each month.

    Sure, I've got cable - and a decent 'cable only' package for about $60 (after fees) a month. I add the obligatory $10 for Netflix (for a few shows that will never syndicate again) each month, and MAYBE a $6-hit at Redbox once a month. Ok, that's $76. I know a LOT of people paying $76 for just their cable - so tit-for-tat.

    Why has this turned into such a public opinion war? My god, it's like being young again (the early '70's) and watching 'Ford-vs-Chevy' mania all over again. You DO REALIZE, all that did was benefit both Ford AND Chevy, right? The prices for both still went up each year, as the quality dropped.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:57am

      Re: Different Feathers - Same Bird

      "I really want anyone who is anti-cable (or pro-cord-cutting, or whatever) to explain to me the difference between paying $65 for cable, or paying Amazon $100 a year for Prime, $10 a month to Netflix, $4 a month to Hulu, $7 a month to CBS 'All Access', and more?"

      Choice. Nobody *has* to subscribe to any of those services, let alone all of them. You're also free to choose your own schedule when to watch the content, as well as having the ability to watch outside of your home.

      If you cut the cord then spend the same to access the same shows, you would want to ask yourself why. But, not everybody wants to do that - and were forced to pay for content they don't want regardless before they cut the cord. Not paying for crap you don't want to pay for, even if you end up paying the same at the end of the day, is also part of the appeal.

      "Sure, I've got cable - and a decent 'cable only' package for about $60 (after fees) a month"

      That's a problem with competition meaning that many people don't have a choice other than stick with their cable provider for broadband, which is a separate issue. In places where you have a real choice between multiple DSL or cable providers, etc., things seem to be cheaper (sometimes with streaming access included).

      "You DO REALIZE, all that did was benefit both Ford AND Chevy, right? The prices for both still went up each year, as the quality dropped."

      My American history is a little rusty, but wasn't that why Japanese imports started to sell at higher numbers than either, and ultimately led to the near collapse of both companies and the local manufacturing industry? I might be wrong as I'm talking off the top of my head, though. If I'm right, I wait with bated breath for the competitor that will blow apart this market too.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: Different Feathers - Same Bird

        Cars are a separate issue but still applies to your point, adaptation in the marketplace. The japanese cars were small vehicles that were good on gas when we were going through a gas crisis. The American car makers were still making land yachtes and scrambled to come up with products. Cable companies are even less likely to respond to their customers. When I had Cox Cable my signal would drop constantly and I could never get an HD signal. Cox never fixed the issue but was more than happy to take my money. I now only use their broadband and as soon as they have a reliable competitor I'll jump ship altogether.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re: Different Feathers - Same Bird

        You kinda just pointed it out. If you did sign up to all those streaming services, you are still saving $35 a month compared to your cable package.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 8:29am

      Re: Different Feathers - Same Bird

      If you're someone that must have access to all content ever created, then you might as well stick with cable.

      One streaming service can give me more than enough stuff to watch, and I can changes services throughout the year if I want to see something else. Cord-cutting isn't for cable addicts. It's for people who just want something to watch now and then and would rather spend their money on other entertainment, like books, music, and live theatre.

      Personally, if I can't press pause, I don't watch it. I watch things on my own schedule, so cable and broadcast TV seem antiquated to me.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 9:08am

      Re: Different Feathers - Same Bird

      I really want anyone who is anti-cable (or pro-cord-cutting, or whatever) to explain to me the difference between paying $65 for cable, or paying Amazon $100 a year for Prime, $10 a month to Netflix, $4 a month to Hulu, $7 a month to CBS 'All Access', and more?

      Well, its like this, if you have uncapped Internet, (which I have), there is this minor site called YouTube, and my list of channels worth watching has grown to where adding a channel requres that another one is dropped.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 7:38am

    > As of September 1, if you want to stream the latest Disney (and by proxy Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar) films -- you need to do it via Netflix.

    The latest from Lucas, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will only be available on Netflix in Canada this year. In the US it'll be behind a different wall (Starz) for the rest of the year.

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  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 8:13am

    How is this different from the ala carte system we've been begging cable TV to provide for years? Sounds like we're finally getting it.

    Eventually these services will morph from exclusive content to niche content - catering to specific audiences the way various cable channels serve niche content. Criterion is already leaving Hulu to start it own service targeting arthouse films and Criterion's largely foreign language collection.

    Streaming services will always be hampered by the fact that all content has to be licensed. They will never provide everything the way a store or library or Redbox or other disc-based rental service can.

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    • icon
      crade (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 8:32am

      Re:

      How is this ala cart? This is more like the cable system we always had were if you only want to watch one show, you must pay for a giant bundle of crap you don't want.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re:

        That's not what cable ala carte was all about. It was all about let me pay just for HBO, or just for TCM, or just for the channel I want. Well, a streaming service is more like one of those channels, and we'll probably see more niche streaming services (like sports streaming) that are more like niche cable channels.

        Obviously if you only want to watch one thing, this isn't a solution. Better to just buy that one thing directly (if it's offered). Most people don't want just one thing.

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        • icon
          crade (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 9:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is exactly was ala cart cable is about. The whole point of ala cart (anything, but in this case) cable was to cut down on the extra crap that you have to buy if you want to watch any particular show. Instead of buying a whole bundle of channels, you only have to buy one. It's still paying for extra crap, but at least it's less extra crap. Buying a whole streaming service for a particular program would be paying for more extra crap you don't want rather than less.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 2:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A channel and a streaming service are the same in this instance. A service might offer more content than a channel, but you're basically paying for a limited selection. It's the same as paying just for HBO or Showtime - even if both channels offer some of the same movies.

            Cabel ala carte was never about watching one show.

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  • identicon
    Purple, 25 May 2016 @ 8:27am

    Netflix and Amazon

    Most people already have Amazon Prime and Netflix. With Amazon you get more than streaming videos you also get streaming music and free shipping so it is more than worth the $8/month. If it is not on one of those two, I just don't watch it.
    I can see how this is an issue, and how they ignore history, but what do you expect? Look who is making these decisions.

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 8:43am

    I kind-of think that the focus on exclusive content will not end up being that large a deal going forward. Most people just won't care enough to buy multiple services. Those that do will not be enough to support the fringe services and they won't last. This is my prediction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:21pm

      Re:

      Exclusive content will last. The insane number of services won't. A crash is coming that consolidates the services down to 3 or 4 majors that keep growing into global behemoths. Cable and broadcast will go under.

      Who is going to produce shows then? The surviving streaming services will produce them as originals. And of course they will be exclusive to each service. They're not going to share nicely! Why should they? They will have tens or hundreds of millions of global subscribers and ALL the power then. Bwhahaha!

      No wonder everyone wants to try to be one of the winners. Most will fail but if they don't try, they KNOW they're screwed!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 8:43am

    Consumers are part of the problem

    If this Disney/Netflix exclusive brings in more Netflix subscribers then Netflix will seek more exclusives to bring in yet more subscribers.

    Someday maybe the studios will see they can make more money by licensing to numerous streaming services.

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  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 9:31am

    As I see it, I have two options as I'll definitely not subscribe to several such services at the same time.
    1. I subscribe to one service at a time, with a rotation as I enjoy a month of one service then switch to another. Doing this with Cable would be more difficult and costly. Not a great solution, but legal and much cheaper than before. Still have to fish around for specific content. And spend time juggling subscriptions.
    2. Forget them and just torrent whatever I want. No subscription, no exclusives. If those guys don't want my money, why should I be the one going through hoops and loops to give it to them?
    They're making things a nightmare for their customers, then complain that they find "alternatives".

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 9:48am

    exclusive arrangements are now forcing those customers to pay for countless streaming services if they actually want to access all of their favorite shows and movies
    Replace "if they want to access" with "if they want to pay to access". The PR people have done a pretty good job of convincing people it's somehow wrong to see stuff without paying (but, if nothing else, broadcast television still exists—usually with better quality than cable, if you can get the signal).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dingledore the Flabberghaster, 25 May 2016 @ 10:53am

    There is a slight difference

    in that some of the larger streaming providers - I'm thinking here of Netflix and Sky's Now TV - don't push a contract onto you. You can stop and restart your subscription as you see fit. That pushes providers to make sure that there's at least something a lot of people want to watch and that the something makes the monthly payment worthwhile.

    In my eyes, the biggest problem with cable packages - here in the UK that primarily Sky, Virgin, and BT - insist on 12-month-plus contracts that allow them to be patchy with their quality programme volumes.

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 1:05pm

    I got out just in time!

    There's no way I want a single dime to go to Disney if I can avoid it, so I'm quite happy that I canceled my subscription last month.

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  • icon
    mb (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 1:19pm

    Antitrust?

    Can anyone explain to me how this sort of arrangement is not a gross violation of FTC/Antitrust laws?

    A mandatory licensing scheme (similar to music/radio, but broader) should be implemented. If you own the rights to a work, you are entitled to profit from it, but you MUST allow equal access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 1:22pm

      Re: Antitrust?

      I can't think of an antitrust law that this would be violating, but I'm no lawyer. Generally speaking, antitrust laws only come into effect when it looks like someone is abusing a monopoly. I don't see how that's what is happening here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:24pm

      Re: Antitrust?

      What happens when Netflix funds an original like Jessica Jones and doesn't license it to Amazon? That's legit, right? They made the show, they should keep it.

      Well this is where it's all going. Streaming services will drive cable and broadcast under by stealing their customers. So then how will new shows get made? They'll all be Netflix or Amazon or HBO originals. How can you go after them for "antitrust" then? Does Ford allow Chevy dealerships to sell their cars?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 26 May 2016 @ 6:45am

        Re: Re: Antitrust?

        The argument is that having multiple companies charging high rents for access to content is going to backfire by driving people to piracy. Bear in mind that you'd have to have a subscription to EACH AND EVERY service to watch EVEN ONE of the shows you want to see. Unless you are willing to stick to but one provider, this could prove expensive. Enter the piracy dragon.

        This situation has arisen because the vertical integration business model is permitted when it shouldn't be. To be consumer friendly, you should EITHER make programs and films OR broadcast and distribute them. To do both captures and locks down the market for those programs or films. This is what comes of treating cultural items like physical property; they're not a scarcity so they shouldn't be treated that way at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 2:06pm

    Basically instead of learning and adapting to the internet and streaming, all the legacy entertainment companies will just transfer the same business models to the internet and have their own exclusive streaming platforms, many of which will probably be awful and not worth the hassle and price to watch the few things a month you might want to see.

    I'd like to see the new Star Trek series when it comes out but it's not worth paying just to see one show especially when I already have Netflix.

    Disappointing to see it going that way but hardly surprising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      The trick is making a service that more appealing than Netflix.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nerdrage (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Who the heck has the money to accomplish that at this late date? Apple? Google? Why not Disney. I'm sort of amazed they aren't using their billions to compete with Netflix. They'd be one of the few companies that stand a chance of success.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 5:08pm

        Re: Re:

        They really are making it impossible for anyone to make an appealing service with their short sighted walled gardens they're all making. It's not appealing to anyone to have to pay $5-20 a month for each service just to see one or two things that's exclusive to each service. And constantly switching every month to a different service to catch up on each services exclusive content is just insane, no one wants to do that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shilling, 25 May 2016 @ 2:12pm

    In the end all these exclusivity deals will only hurt the platforms themselves if they keep their cancel anytime policy. As a cordcutter you just subscribe to 1 service for a month or 2 per year and then hop to another platform when you watched all the shows that interest you. The danger here is that they will most likely introduce year plans and cancel the monthly plans altogether or they only provide content for 2 months out of the year so you have to be subscribed all year round not to miss anything like that silly vault Disney had (or still has?) Where they would lock certain movies out of the market for a couple of years.

    All in all there is still room to screw over cord cutters even more then what they did thusfar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nerdrage (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 4:11pm

    it's a passing phase

    We're in a crazy-growth phase of the transition into streaming as the dominant distribution medium for global entertainment (outside movie theaters). This will be followed by a crash as consumers get fed up of looking everywhere for content they want, and just opt for one or two of the biggest services with the most stuff. (Or piracy, but that will be neutral in this game since it doesn't send money to one of the major players who stand to win or lose.)

    This will result in a virtuous cycle for a few services above a pretty high threshold and a vicious cycle for the rest. Netflix is assured to be above that threshold. Ditto for Amazon, maybe HBO, possibly Hulu, beyond that who knows. I don't begrudge CBS its bid to join the winner's circle using their best brand for this purpose, Star Trek. They probably will fail and Star Trek will end up being made for licensing to Netflix or Amazon.

    All the players understand that the power will be in distribution and the direct relationship with the consumer (and their juicy credit card) rather than content creation, which will proliferate beyond even today's crazy level and result in a few distributors who can afford to be very picky and cheap when it comes to what content they want to pick up. When those distributors control access to the audience, everyone will finally understand that content is NOT king.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 4:58pm

    Just remember this: If you pay for Netflix, you pay for DRM.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2016 @ 6:31pm

    Low-budget alternative

    Just wait a few months, grab pirated copies off the 'net. Much easier and obviously cheaper than trying to pay $7 here, $10 there, $6 there to walled gardens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 25 May 2016 @ 6:39pm

    Karl, nice of you to wake up to the reality I have been trying to explain to you for more than a year. Cutting the cord doesn't always lead to cutting the costs, rather if you want to maintain what you have you may end up spending more unless you are going to pirate stuff (and you could pirate cable for free too, so it's a moot point).

    Even if you shave down your programming options, it's pretty easy to spend a fair bit of money each month on various streaming services to get what you want to watch.

    The next step almost certainly will be "cable companies" for streaming, who will unite all of the various streaming services into a single interface app / settop box / website so that you can pay a single fee to get a selection of channels, putting everyone right back where they were.

    Perhaps this proves the theory that there is no such thing as a free lunch, not even a FREE! lunch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2016 @ 3:42am

    If you want to do it legally you mean. Still a lot of options for those who don't mind watching stolen videos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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