Ironically, Too Many Video Streaming Choices May Drive Users Back To Piracy

from the adapt-or-perish dept

To be very clear the rise in streaming video competitors is a very good thing. It's providing users with more choice, lower prices, and better customer service than consumers traditionally received from entrenched vanilla cable TV companies. It's the perfect example of how disruption and innovation are supposed to work. And given the abysmal customer satisfaction ratings of most big cable TV providers, this was an industry that's been absolutely begging for a disruptive kick in the ass since the 1980s.

But we've also noted that, ironically, the glut of video choices--more specifically the glut of streaming exclusivity silos--risks driving users back to piracy. Studies predict that every broadcaster and their uncle will have launched their own direct-to-consumer streaming platform by 2022. Most of these companies are understandably keen on locking their own content behind exclusivity paywalls, whether that's HBO Now's Game of Thrones, or CBS All Access's Stark Trek: Discovery.

But as consumers are forced to pay for more and more subscriptions to get all of the content they're looking for, they're not only getting frustrated by the growing costs (defeating the whole point of cutting the cord), they're frustrated by the experience of having to hunt and peck through an endlessly shifting sea of exclusivity arrangements and licensing deals that make it difficult to track where your favorite show or film resides this month.

In response, there's some early anecdotal data to suggest this is already happening. But because these companies are fixated on building market share, and this will likely be an industry-wide issue, most aren't seeing the problem yet.

Others are. The 13th edition of Deloitte’s annual Digital Media Trends survey makes it clear that too many options and shifting exclusivity arrangements are increasingly annoying paying customers:

But the plethora of options has a downside: Nearly half (47%) of U.S. consumers say they’re frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want, according to the 13th edition of Deloitte’s annual Digital Media Trends survey. An even bigger pet peeve: 57% said they’re frustrated when content vanishes because rights to their favorite TV shows or movies have expired.

“Consumers want choice — but only up to a point,” said Kevin Westcott, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader, who oversees the study. “We may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue.'”

As it turns out, people don't like Comcast, but they do ironically want a little more centralization than they're seeing in the streaming space. What that looks like isn't clear yet, but it's something that will slowly get built as some of the 300 options (and growing) currently available fail to gain traction in the space:

All told, there are more than 300 over-the-top video options in the U.S. With that fragmentation, there’s a clear opportunity for larger platforms to reaggregate these services in a way that can provide access across all sources and make recommendations based on all of someone’s interests, Westcott said. “Consumers are looking for less friction in the consumption process,” he said.

Variety's otherwise excellent report doesn't mention this, but a lot of these customers are going to revert to piracy. It's not clear why this isn't mentioned, but it's kind of standard practice for larger outlets to avoid mentioning piracy in the odd belief that acknowledging it somehow condones it. But if you don't mention it, you don't learn from it. You don't understand that piracy is best seen as just another competitor, and a useful tool to gain insight into what customers (studies repeatedly show pirates buy more content than most anybody else) really want.

It's easy to dismiss this as privileged whining ("poor baby is upset because they have too many choices), and that's certainly what a big segment of the market is going to do.

But it would be a mistake to ignore consumer frustration and the obviously annoying rise of endless exclusivity silos, given the effort it took to migrate users away from piracy and toward legitimate services in the first place. The primary lesson learned during that experience is you need to compete with piracy. It's not really a choice. It's real, it's impossible to stop, and the best way to mitigate it is to listen to your customers. Building more walled gardens, raising rates, and ignoring what subscribers want is the precise opposite of that.

Filed Under: piracy, streaming


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 6:02pm

    Silos are like weeds

    The silos will continue to grow in numbers, but size will be limited because each silo has limited content choices feeding them. They will become tall, but not wide. Then, because their corporate masters demand increased profits, quarter after quarter, the rise in prices will become a reduction in subscribers. A cycle that those masters will not digest well.

    Then someone will get smart and start combining silos, making them wider. A few will get together, and then a few others will get together to compete against the first combination. Then the above scenario will play itself out, all over again.

    Then, those combination silos will consolidate, yet again, until there is only one silo left. That leaves us with what we have now, a single cable company providing service. The only difference will be that they don't necessarily own the cable running to your door (though they may be related to some degree with a different monopoly providing your internet connection in various markets). Of course, by this time, price sensitivity will be a real thing and I doubt that any of the combined silos will be able to demand anything like what the cable companies are asking for today. Not only will things be cheaper, but quality will go down, in terms of content, and possibly also in deliver quality (lower bandwidth).

    The other choices, pirating as mentioned in the article as a potential competition, as well as the world may come to the realization that there are other forms of entertainment than video and go and invest time and money in those. Which leaves all this investment in the video entertainment business where?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 3:40am

      Re: Silos are like weeds

      And we will call the winner of the Silo wars... Disney.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 2:00pm

        Disney

        Vader was totally willing to murder his commanders to show how evil (that is, a man of will) he was (also to put that fear of failure into his troops). Snoke (post Disney) was supposed to be even more evil, but wasn't willing to just squish Hux messily like a car crusher which he totally should have done. (Both were happy to blast colonized planets to gravel and kill billions at a time.)

        Disney has an issue with getting too sexy or too brutal, and that will always be a problem. There will always be content that Disney won't allow in their silo, and as such there will always be a demand for silos that do.

        Then there's a problem with being king of the silos. Steam used to be that, but then its staff got lazy and now Epic (which offered a half-baked client) is now contending with timed exclusives. Meanwhile the end users have to have half a dozen clients on the system to play our games.

        I suspect we're going to have a dozen movie services and will have to use separate indexing services to determine what movies are available on which.

        Because all this is for corporate convenience, not society's.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:03pm

        Re: Re: Silos are like weeds

        I'd call it Steam, personally.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Silos are like weeds

        "And we will call the winner of the Silo wars... Disney."

        Followed by the block buster release of

        • Silo Wars - Revenge of the Disney

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    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 6:08am

      Re: Silos are like weeds

      The narrow streaming silos as you note are unstable. The model narrow model presumes one does not have any interest in watching something outside of the silo. If you will consider as silos the various TV and cable networks, each has narrow content and most are interested in content from many different silos. So the cable and satellite services have combined the silos into a package that you can chose which silo to watch. (Never thought anyone would say anything good about the cable companies.) So with cable you pay one fee and get many silos but with streaming services you have to pay a fee to each silo. As the number of silos subscribed to the total fees might approach the cable fee.

      Now as you speculate someone could offer a front end service that allows a user to select content from multiple services for one fee they might make fortune. The problem is the content creation industry is notorious Ludditic when comes to technology and will see something like this as a threat instead of something to be embraced.

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      • icon
        nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:45pm

        Re: Re: Silos are like weeds

        A metaservice that, say, automates the churn process any of us could implement with some effort and inconvenience (January is Netflix, February is Amazon etc) would certainly be worth a small uncharge. If churning through 6 services with 2 months apiece per year is an average cost of say $14, then Apple could charge us $15 and have a tidy business for themselves.

        But the problem here is, that means Apple has the relationship with the customer, the credit card numbers, and invaluable data on customer behavior. My bet is that the streaming wars in the end come down to a fight to control customer data.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 8:40am

      Re: Silos are like weeds

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 8:46am

      Re: 2Many Food Choices

      'The glut of Food choices in America (restaurants, fast-food, home-delivery, supermarkets, etc) -- increasingly frustrates consumers because they can't possibly afford to buy all this desirable food stuff.
      This situation risks driving eaters to theft ... paying with phony/stolen credit cards, bad checks, walking out without paying for meals, shoplifting from food stores, etc).

      Studies predict that every food entrepreneur and their uncle will have launched their own direct-to-consumer restaurant, food-market, food-service) by 2022. Most of these food companies are understandably keen on locking their own food menus/offerings/services/profits behind exclusive commercial paywalls.

      But as consumers are forced to actually pay more and more to get all of the available food choices they're looking for, they're not only getting frustrated by the growing costs (defeating the whole point of cooking your own meals at home), they're frustrated by the whole experience of having to hunt and peck through an endlessly shifting sea of exclusive paid food arrangements.
      Thus the entire food market landscape seems unsustainable.'

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      • icon
        Gary (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

        Yeah, that doesn't actually make any sense with the food. The problem in streaming isn't the variety of choices, it's when must-have shows are locked away in a new service as an exclusive. A problem that is increasingly apparent with Disney stripping their shows off Netflix.
        Restaurants charge by the meal, not by the month. Sign up to CBS just for one show? Much easier to watch a stream or a torrent.
        And if I steal a steak from a restaurant, they have one less steak. Watching Discovery without a subscription doesn't leave CBS with less bytes...

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 4:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

          ...top restaurants don't "lock away" their product as an "exclusive" offering available only from them ??
          Tell Wolfgang Puck.

          and lots of home-delivery-meal-services operate on a monthly or annual subscription basis.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

            Home cooking is killing the home-delivery-meal-services industry.

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            • icon
              Gary (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 8:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

              And every time I cook at home, I'm stealing from those chefs!!!

              Wolfgang Puc doesn't have any sort of exclusivity at all, you can't copyright pizza. Yet. Nothing he makes can't be made by a competitor - or you.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2019 @ 6:44am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

                Pirates cooking at home is felony interference with a business model.
                lol

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

            ...top restaurants don't "lock away" their product as an "exclusive" offering available only from them ??

            Did you miss this part? "Restaurants charge by the meal, not by the month." To make the analogy work, you would have to imagine a world where there were a few restaurants where you could eat for free (broadcast TV), but most people bought a restaurant subscription (cable/satellite). As the subscription prices went up, more and more people ditched their dine in restaurant subscription for multiple take-out/delivery subscriptions, each of which gave them access to one or several restaurants, but not as many as the old packages. Now they're getting frustrated with rising prices and a harder time figuring out how to get the food they want, so they've started cooking at home more.

            This analogy still fails in one sense because "if I steal a steak from a restaurant, they have one less steak. Watching Discovery without a subscription doesn't leave CBS with less bytes..." but it's much closer.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

              The fun fact is that even if you take his analogy at face value, all it tells him is how badly businesses have failed to meet demand.

              I've heard a lot of complaints from restaurants over the years, but rarely have I heard something along the lines of "those people are stealing from us by cooking at home". What I have seen, especially among the top restaurants, is offering something that cannot be replicated elsewhere. This may be service, ambience, the skills and quality of the chef or something unique.

              This is all lacking in the entertainment industry. Whereas restaurants hire the best waiters and chefs, cinemas have reduced their staff to the point where you can't find someone to kick out the annoying asshole on the next row, or to correct the image after it started in the wrong aspect ratio. Restaurants compete by giving you the best version of a dish they can provide, whereas streaming service are increasingly just trying to make sure you can't get the dish anywhere else.

              Therein lies the issue. The restaurants he lauds succeed because they offer something you can't get at home. The movie industry would rather do the equivalent of charging you 10 times more than you'd spend at home to reheat the same frozen food packet you'd eat there, and sue you into the ground if you have the audacity to recreate the dish yourself.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

        This analogy does not work because both markets are very different, but you got me thinking.

        I just want to imagine what it would be like if food was sold like movies. The primary way to purchase food, aside from expensive trips to the food theater, would be to purchase a monthly subscription from a restaurant. Since food is more expensive than a copy of a film, I can not just use the same price as a Netflix subscription(around $10 a month) for a restaurant. The university near me charges 550 a month for a meal plan if I did my math correctly. This works out to 26,400 a year for a family of four. I do not think a restaurant can be cheaper than 175 dollars a month, because they have to assume many people will eat exclusively at it. This is 8,400 to feed a family of four for a year. However, many people would get tired of only eating from a single restaurant, and want to subscribe to multiple at the same time. With the price listed above, this would be very expensive.

        To work out the cost of a single meal from this system, it looks like I can rent Avengers infinity war on YouTube for 4 dollars, and it was also available on Netflix at some point. So the cost to rent a movie is around the same as a third of a month of Netflix. Thus buying a single meal from a restaurant is $50 to $185, probably to incentivize people to purchase monthly subscriptions.

        Grocery stores would be like movie studios, and purchasing ingredients to make a meal would be millions of dollars, but you would get the recipe. Going to the theater to enjoy some newly invented food might be $150 - $550 a person, and that is not including the food equivalent of popcorn...

        I have definitely overextended this metaphor.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

          few people get all their meals from restaurants and few people get all their entertainment from home video

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 6:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

            Yes, but if you listened a little more to my ideas about how to serve the community more effectively than current approaches, then everyone would benefit, even you. The more you accepted my analysis and nodded in a bovine fashion and supported my results publicly then the better society as a whole would be. Think about it - instead of Netflix, Netfood. Download the food of your choice to a local 3D food printer for the same price you pay Netflix for movies. While you watch a movie, the 3D Netfood printer would print your meal, and you could then eat and not waste any time doing anything between movie watching and eating. If you listened to my logic, your life would be better. If you sent me all your money, wait, in fact if there was NO MONEY, and NO PROPERTY, and you accepted EVERYTHING FROM ME. You Would Be Much HAPPIER!

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            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 6:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

              Quite the ego you have there. Can you tell us about how you portion it?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

              What new and inspiring idea, I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

              "The more you accepted my analysis and nodded in a bovine fashion and supported my results publicly then the better society as a whole would be. Think about it - instead of Netflix, Netfood."

              That's some really thick and smooth sarcasm you've got going there, but I'll bite.

              The problem being, of course, that although there will always be a herd of sheeple all too happy to be led around their noses like cattle, it doesn't "fix" the issue the stakeholders - in this case, the middlemen intent on serving these herds - have.

              Namely that 1 out of 5 are never going to be content with the continued serving of the off-the-shelf confectionery cookie-cutter entertainment offer and will turn to filesharing as the convenient alternative to shopping for umpteen services all offering one favorite each.

              And those, ironically enough, will turn out to be the primary money makers since they are the demographic most invested in buying multiple hardcopies to proudly display on shelves.

              And this renders the "netfood" idea very shaky. To people who are less discerning about the specific taste and texture MacDonald's is as good as Burger King, Pizza Hut, or even...Taco Bell...
              Those guys will get their daily noms at the most convenient outlet.

              The connoisseurs with higher standards will never go for any of the carefully introduced one-meal-to-find-them-all concepts.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

                I'll add a brief comment to the previous statement:

                The fact that having to go to too many places in order to get the whole menu is what we 20 years ago used to call a primary motivator for piracy.

                The only things which have changed is that a few major actors have changed and the tech model has gone from cable to streaming. The walled garden model of fenced-in exclusive offers remains the same.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re: 2Many Food Choices

        Oh, are we having a Shitty Analogy-Off?

        Streaming services are like, uh, hats. In that I subscribe to Netflix to keep my bald spot from getting sunburned, and...it has my college's logo on it.

        ...no, you win; your analogy is still dumber than mine.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 6:02pm

    'Requirement' is not 'choice'

    It's easy to dismiss this as privileged whining ("poor baby is upset because they have too many choices), and that's certainly what a big segment of the market is going to do.

    When those 'choices' take you from getting what you wanted to watch from one service and the one bill you had to pay for it, and change that to numerous services and numerous bills, to spin that as people objecting to too many choices is disingenuous at best, and likely to anger people already upset and drive them to the infringement option even quicker if they're lucky(not so lucky and people will just start ignoring their shows/services entirely).

    People are't getting more choices, they're seeing what they already have being split up and silo'd away into numerous exclusive services, such that it's less 'choice' and more requirement, where if you want to watch the same shows as before you are required to sign up with multiple services, each with their own costs(monetary and otherwise).

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    • identicon
      Scote, 5 Apr 2019 @ 7:46pm

      Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

      "People are't getting more choices, they're seeing what they already have being split up and silo'd away into numerous exclusive services,"

      This ^.

      The market is fragmented, not filled with "choices". The headline is a bit off.

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    • identicon
      ryuugami, 5 Apr 2019 @ 8:59pm

      Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

      A-yup. It's not "too many choices", it's "too many exclusives". The article for some reason conflates them.

      The exact same issue is happening with online game stores. Store exclusives are hurting the entire market, and clients are "competing" on game selection instead of on quality of surrounding infrastructure (interface etc.).

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:06am

        Re: Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

        "Store exclusives are hurting the entire market, and clients are "competing" on game selection instead of on quality of surrounding infrastructure (interface etc.)."

        That's basically the core of the argument. The market fragmentation is due to the copyright holders squeezing every cent of profit possible out of their monopolies.

        And to leverage those monopolies properly they need to use exclusive outlets.

        So it's basically the same tired old song we've always seen when it comes to media - the gatekeepers are clinging to their old models with whitening knuckles because they believe that being sufficiently restrictive will eventually force the entire market to pass through the gate and toll they've set.

        With the predictable result that most of said market eventually learns to use filesharing methods to obtain from one place what they would otherwise have had to look for in sixteen different places.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 3:24am

      Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

      What you say is true, but depends on the idea that people were getting what they actually wanted to begin with.

      Personally, I was overpaying for services included sports, soaps and other crap I’d never watch, now I pay less for 4 streaming services so full of things I want to watch I could spend a few years before I ran out even if they stopped adding to them today.

      Yes, it would be nice to have that in one service, but what I have now is far superior to what that one service used to be

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:52pm

      Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

      The amount of choice has definitely exploded compared with the old days of one extortionate bill for cable. I can remember having 500 channels and struggling to find anything worth watching. Just Netflix alone does a far better job of providing watchable stuff, for about a tenth the price. Netflix, Amazon etc are making shows that would never have been made for cable. What cable outlet would have ever made The OA?

      If you absolutely must have access to everything, there's always DVDs. Netflix has much more stuff on DVD than streaming and the library has an astonishing range of DVDs for free. I always try to mention that in discussions like this. Check your local library, you might be very surprised.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:39am

      Re: 'Requirement' is not 'choice'

      Truth in advertising ... LOL

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  • icon
    bloodnok (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 7:57pm

    "As it turns out, people don't like Comcast"

    that's because comcast is a shitty company and nobody with a even half a brain likes being screwed over by them

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  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 9:17pm

    The exclusivity silos are where my issue lies

    The fragmentation is frustrating, but my Roku does a pretty good job of telling me what streaming services offer what I want to watch. But if that selection is not available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or something else I already pay for, I am not interested in paying for yet another streaming service.

    Sorry, Disney, but pulling the Star Wars franchise from Netflix is not going to convince me to pay for your service. I will seek out, ahem, "alternative" methods of watching what I want to watch, and you will miss out on earning ANYTHING from my viewing. How can you have any pudding if you won't eat your meat?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 10:51pm

    info

    INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:54am

      Re: info

      Sigh, if you're going to post that, post the whole god damned quote.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:08am

      Re: info

      The full quote would be:

      "The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time."

      It can still be summarized in five words but a lot of context is lost.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2019 @ 10:56pm

    And we're also seeing this with PC gaming - particularly now with the Epic Games Store/launcher.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      Actually not quite, though similar. Epic Games Store isn't a subscription service; you buy individual games from them.

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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 3:21am

    Irony? It’s literally as every tried to tell them. Again.

    Someone should do a study calculating the sales lost between the time people tell the industry they should do X and when they finally go “hmmm... maybe we should do X”. It’s probably more than they’ve ever actually lost to piracy

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 6:25am

      Re:

      NIH syndrome

      (not invented here)

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:57pm

      Re:

      Here's the thing, the streaming industry isn't going to lose sales. What's going to happen is that the streaming industry will become a handful of global behemoths that make insane amounts of money while the also-rans just a step below the behemoths face extinction. The whole thing is going to crunch down to a small handful of winners, with a lot of losers who end up with nothing.

      Everyone is terrified of this. Nobody wants the fate that awaits the losers, which is on display for us right now, in hatchets being taken to the workforces of Fox and Time Warner after being purchased by Disney and AT&T respectively. That's what happens in consolidations like this. You keep your job if you work for Disney and AT&T before the merger. If you work for the company being merged, you are far more likely to be fired.

      Nobody is just going to happily watch their jobs vanish. A lot of jobs will vanish, but we can expect the future victims to fight this, and they will fight it by trying their best to transition to the new world, like CBS is doing. Probably won't work, but at least they are trying.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:43am

        Re: Re:

        Then after the dust settles the surviving behemoth will declare they are unable to locate qualified employees to fill their vacant positions and request an increase in the H1B allowances.

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  • icon
    amoshias (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 4:51am

    Is it really choice?

    I think part of the problem here is that the language we use to talk about economics is really primitive. (Mostly because economists are voodoo shamans, not scientists, I presume.) But this article repeatedly uses the word "choice" to describe the difference between different content platforms.

    This is the same word we use to describe, let's say, healthy competition in the realm of countertop blenders - where consumers have a lot of choice. The thing is, the choice we're being offered with the blenders and with the streaming platforms are not the same at all. Blenders are all close to functionally equivalent products. I can choose based on price, features, color, or whatever - but I'm still getting something that does 90% of what I want to do. My blender isn't going to stop working because I throw the wrong company's bananas into it.

    Streaming services don't offer me choice in the same way. My goal, when I go to netflix, isn't "to look at something through the Netflix client." It's to watch 'my favorite shows and movies' . But Netflix doesn't offer me that, and therefore it doesn't provide me choice. If I want to watch Good Place or Parks and Rec, Netflix works. If I want to watch the new Star Trek, I need CBS. Game of Thrones is on HBO. Adventure time? Hulu only. And I think I'm currently screwed if I want to rewatch 30 rock or Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    So I'm only being offered "choice" if you think my goal when I want to turn on the TV is "silently gaze at whatever is being offered on the screen." But it's not, and as a result, what the 900 streaming services offer me isn't choice. Each of them have a fragment of a highly-differentiated market. It's like if blenders made exclusive deals with different fruits. (Seriously though, I never use my blender and barely know what it's for.) My "banana and strawberry" blender wouldn't be a "choice" compared to a blueberry and papaya blender, because depending on what my use case was I simply couldn't use my blender at all.

    I don't have better terminology to propose. But "choice" isn't right.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Cowherd, 6 Apr 2019 @ 5:21am

      Re: Is it really choice?

      Right. Two grocery stores to go to is choice if and only if both of them actually sell what the customer wants to buy.

      Having one store for meat and another for potatoes is no more choice than one store that sells both. It's just more inconvenient.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:45am

      Re: Is it really choice?

      Error 418: I'm a teapot

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:42am

      Re: Is it really choice?

      "I don't have better terminology to propose. But "choice" isn't right."

      Your description is correct and delivers the answer. The "choices" on the market here concern only the choice of which monopoly you want to sponsor.

      That's why the media market has always seemed so out of tune with any other market - copyright allows every product to be a monopoly production, because just as you illustrated in your blender example, you'll never end up choosing between two different versions of a given movie, except as part of an attempt by a gatekeeper to double the revenue on what is essentially the same product in a different package.

      It's one of the reasons why I believe copyright is as alien and irreconcilable to a healthy market economy as the indulgence sales of the medieval church would be.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 6 Apr 2019 @ 5:17am

    "It's not clear why this isn't mentioned, but it's kind of standard practice for larger outlets to avoid mentioning piracy in the odd belief that acknowledging it somehow condones it."

    Or the even more odd belief that some people still don't know piracy exists and not telling them keeps it that way.

    Stupid, yes. But stupid beliefs are in no short supply when it comes to copyright.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 7:08am

      Re:

      Every time the Pirate Bay was taken to court and the media had stories about it, the number of new users went up. Eventually, they realized that even having an overly friendly judge giving them win after win was costing them the war.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 5:47am

    What that looks like isn't clear yet

    Personally, it means I search for what I want on traditional TV, look to Netflix next, try Hulu if I still haven't found it, and then torrent it I must.

    No matter how many streaming services launch, this will remain SOP.

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:01pm

      Re:

      I think the far more common reaction is: I look for what I want on Netflix, Hulu, maybe Amazon if I get that too. If I don't find it, I forget about it and watch something else that suits my mood instead.

      Most people don't really demand to see this or that thing. They want an action flick, a comedy, a sci fi adventure, etc. Some folks are very wedded to a brand, such as Star Wars, and won't accept The Expanse as a substitute (even though The Expanse is objectively better). But other than a few monster brands, mostly owned by Disney and AT&T now, media is fairly interchangeable and that's what'll keep down piracy.

      Pirates are fussier than most folks. I increasingly think what drives piracy is simply that some people care more about others about media in general. The people who don't care much don't bother to pirate anything.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re:

        "Most people don't really demand to see this or that thing."

        And those people are at the same time the low-hanging fruit and the media monopolies biggest grievance. They will Moo loudly and migrate towards whatever is the most convenient and cheapest choice.

        The truly demanding are the really profitable customers, who often sponsor their chosen hobbies by purchasing collector's editions, plenty of merchandise, bring friends and family to a cinema to watch a movie they've seen three times before, etc.
        ...and who also use torrents to satisfy their insatiable demand, making them the most eager and persistent of pirates.

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  • identicon
    Toro, 6 Apr 2019 @ 7:53am

    Walled Gardens are not "choices"

    Had this discussion with my wife last weekend.
    We love lots of shows on different networks and services. Huge star trek nerds but we refuse to sign up for CBS.
    Why?
    We already have Netflix , Amazon prime and a cable sub. even if we drop our $100+ a month cable sub we still have to pay the cable company 2/3 of that cost for out internet alone. then to get everything we want still have to sign up for CBS , Disney , AMC , FBI , CIA , NSA , all the acronyms.

    what does it come down to? we either refuse to watch something we might love or we Arrrggghhhh Matey , pirate it. Cause well fuck them.

    If they all can't get their shit together and come up with a content sharing agreement across their platforms that is their own fault, imo.
    I'm not going to pay you to make my life difficult.
    I'll pay you to make it easier / better

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:53am

      Re: Walled Gardens are not "choices"

      "what does it come down to? we either refuse to watch something we might love or we Arrrggghhhh Matey , pirate it. Cause well fuck them. "
      "I'm not going to pay you to make my life difficult.
      I'll pay you to make it easier / better"

      ...and this basically summarizes the thoughts of 90% of all pirates everywhere. By and large the copyright cult will insist on retaining their monopoly offer on their "chosen" gatekeeper outlet where they can do their damnedest to f*ck things up for their competition - at the cost of every consumer, something no other industry anywhere could ever afford.

      And when that doesn't work they'll wax holier-than-thou like petty medieval popes, shrieking "Theft! Blasphemy!" at the heretics unwilling to lie down and meekly get fleeced by their "owners".

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 9:05am

    it's over-pricing stuff and holding back on availability that drives people to piracy. the movies industry knows this. why do you think it does nothing to really stop it from happening? exactly! it wants to use piracy as a weapon, continuously, with the 2-faced fucking politicians who take the industry's money and introduce new laws that chip away at the rights of the people, in favor of the rights of copy right owners etc. the EU has screwed up the Internet for the whole planet, but the effects aren't yet being felt. when they are, it will hit the EU countries first but the USA is on the verge of trying to do a similar thing, that way, the entertainment industries will be in total control of the Internet, just as it has been working towards, bit by bit, lie by lie, cheat by cheat and most importantly, bribe by bribe!

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  • identicon
    Philly Bob, 6 Apr 2019 @ 9:15am

    It's a conspiracy by big streaming to drive us all back to cable...

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  • icon
    Ted the IT Guy (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 9:44am

    I currently have Dish Network, NetFlix, Amazon Prime and HBO.

    Like many Americans, I happily paid hundreds of dollars a month for years just access to the movies and shows I wanted to watch. The cost just kept rising until I finally decided to put an end to the cycle.

    Last year, I shaved $100/month off my Dish subscription by moving to a 'bare minimum' package (and I made them upgrade my hardware, for free, just to keep me as a customer for 2 more years). The only 'premium' we still watch is HBO, but even then, I dropped it from Dish and went with HBO Now. I will probably drop Dish at the end of my contract, HBO may go sooner than that. I left the decision to drop HBO up to my wife, as she's the one that is into Game of Thrones.

    As long as NetFlix continues to not suck, that's not going anywhere.

    I was an Amazon Prime customer for years before they added video, but I'm addicted to Prime shipping, so that's going to stay. The Prime video client kind of sucks on my Android TV, so I rarely use it. If needed, I have some software that can be used pull content from Amazon and dump it onto my home media server, so, problem solved.

    I've tried Hulu, CBS, Starz, Showtime and a few smaller ones - their interfaces were slow and there was very little I considered worth watching to justify the monthly charges.

    If I gave a crap about any of their exclusives, I doubt it would be difficult to find the shows through other means. Assuming I did, I really have only two choices: Sign up for their crappy service, install their crappy app an (assuming one exists for Android TV), and watch it buffer every 7 minutes. Or, I could grab a pirate copy, for free, put it on my media server and watch it, without interruption, whenever I want, wherever I want, forever.

    Anyway, after cutting back on media services, the money I saved is enough to take the family to see 2-3 movies per month in the theater, including popcorn and drinks! I have zero interest in signing up for a new fly-by-night streaming service to get content I used to be able to get on NetFlix.

    A few notes for the new service providers:

    • Your playback client isn't stable
    • Your interface sucks
    • You have a crappy content delivery network
    • Your selection is smaller than what I have on my media server
    • Heck, your selection is smaller than my dwindling VHS collection

    Learn to work together people, it will benefit you all.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Sounds like a very expensive addiction, I wonder if the present day addiction advertisers have a plan for helping people quit.

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        What addiction are you referring to? Watching content or advertising? Right, advertising is content, how will they distinguish? Oh, the horror!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Addiction to the idiot box can get quite expensive.

          And you are correct, all content is advertising. Ads are blended right in to the standard news broadcasts these days, makes the news somewhat worthless.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:29am

    CBS All Access's Stark Trek: Discovery

    Wrong universe. Although with the addition of a Q and an apostrophe Thq'anos could sound like Klingon.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:04am

      Re:

      "Wrong universe. Although with the addition of a Q and an apostrophe Thq'anos could sound like Klingon."

      Great. That's all we needed. Thanos with a cloaking field.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:30am

    What do you by may ???
    Napster version equivalent is alive and well in 2019 :=0

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:34am

    Yep
    P2P via VPN
    Rock me baby all night long
    Gonna love that dark web all night long .
    ROTFLMAO

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

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 12:49pm

    Where is the competiton in video streaming?

    Spotify appears to rake in billions for the music industry, according to a recent Tech Dirt article - an all-you-can-eat-subscription to the tune of $10 per month.

    Video streaming started of in a similar way - but keeps fragmenting to a point where users have to pay several subscriptions to access the content they want to watch. The movie industry conducted a study recently concluding that around 22 subscriptions are needed for access to all current soaps and movies. Extra ones for legacy content, and some more for sports.

    Even if there were people around who could afford to 250 Dollars a month, they'd get lousy value for money.

    Until the industry gets their head around the fact with their reduced role in the internet age, they'll have to accept lower profits, people will resort to piracy since there simply isn't a legal option with acceptable terms.

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:06pm

      Re: Where is the competiton in video streaming?

      There's never been a time when video streaming had "everything" for $10 or any price. That would be Netflix. I've had Netflix streaming since almost the start and never dropped DVDs, which I still have, and have used consistently all those years. Because streaming has never been anywhere close to comprehensive but the DVD library is far better. And as the content production goes through the roof, Netflix streaming just falls farther behind proportionately even though it's also growing in sheer volume.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 5:58am

      Re: Where is the competiton in video streaming?

      "Spotify appears to rake in billions for the music industry, according to a recent Tech Dirt article - an all-you-can-eat-subscription to the tune of $10 per month."

      For the music industry, yes. Sony, BMG, all the other major labels are raking it in hand over fist because their contract with spotify allows them to take almost all the profit.

      The artists themselves earn pennies on spotify - worse than they ever had it with CD sales (which is saying something).

      And spotify itself is consistently operating at a dead loss which means it's a matter of time before the labels associated with spotify have finally managed to carve the goose laying the golden eggs up. At the end of it, spotify will drop dead once it's financiers get tired of leaving all the revenue to the labels for licensing.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 6:30am

        Re: Re: Where is the competiton in video streaming?

        Your talking points need updating. Spotify recently posted operating profit, meanwhile it's been overtaken in the US by Apple Music.

        "The artists themselves earn pennies on spotify - worse than they ever had it with CD sales (which is saying something)."

        Yes, because you'd have to be a moron to expect the same income from one-off rentals as you would with a permanent sale. But, most artists have had to supplement their record sales income since the beginning of the recording industry, so this is not a problem, unless you're dumb enough to think that people should happily pay the same to rent as they do to buy.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Where is the competiton in video streaming?

          "Your talking points need updating. Spotify recently posted operating profit, meanwhile it's been overtaken in the US by Apple Music."

          I assume you mean spotify posting it's first ever positive GM?

          https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/spotify-just-turned-the-first-net-profit-in-its-history-a nd-its-not-particularly-happy-about-it/

          There are some issues with that. A company which has had to survive on cash infusions for well over ten years before it finally makes a profit of a whopping 3,2% - due mainly to cost cuts and a fortuitous tax break - is pretty obviously going against the market flow.
          Let's wait and see but I maintain my point stands until they can show a profit which isn't exclusively related to cost cuts which spotify themselves are saying has hurt their expansion ability.

          "Yes, because you'd have to be a moron to expect the same income from one-off rentals as you would with a permanent sale."

          You'd have to be, yes. I'm saying that the revenue the artists can expect on spotify is at the point where they won't even make minimum wage. Youtube has even worse terms - but only if you are an artist with a label, apparently, as quite a lot of independent youtube streamers without a secondary middleman seem to be doing ok.

          "...most artists have had to supplement their record sales income since the beginning of the recording industry, so this is not a problem..."

          True enough. The lesson taught by radio, MTV, and the internet is that the fan base which allows the artist to raise their brand and sell auxiliary merchandise is the real cash cow.

          But the key issue there is exposure. Spotify, as a platform, has had to rely on persistent investment for many years, and the one time they've showed profit it's been an exercise in self-mutilation.

          Most of this can be tracked right to the way the labels gouge spotify over the licensing. After the labels absorb most of the profit and a few crumbs are left for the artists, spotify, as a business, just isn't doing well at all.

          Which leads us back to my original statement:

          "For the music industry, yes. Sony, BMG, all the other major labels are raking it in hand over fist because their contract with spotify allows them to take almost all the profit."

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Where is the competiton in video streaming?

            "I assume you mean spotify posting it's first ever positive GM?"

            Yup. Which changes your point that it has never done so, and is pretty good in the face of the supplier issues they have.

            "I'm saying that the revenue the artists can expect on spotify is at the point where they won't even make minimum wage."

            If you're an artist expecting to make a living wage from a single outlet, you're a moron. That applies to anyone self-employed expecting a living wage from a single supplier, by the way, but it's especially obvious in the case of musicians who have never had so many options before without signing to a label. For the independent musician, not only have the days of sitting back and making a living from record sales alone ended, they never really existed for them to begin with.

            "Spotify, as a platform, has had to rely on persistent investment for many years"

            As have a lot of services online, many of which don't have the same issues you describe.

            I know your point, but you're ignoring a lot of context and history to make it, and you're doing your best to attack the company that's been most successful until recently for some reason.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2019 @ 2:43pm

    What I Want Is...

    I don't want a million streaming services, each with 1 show I'd like to watch. I'm not going to pay $10/month just to watch 1 show in someone's content silo. Also, I don't want to have to spend precious time managing these subscriptions, signing up for one this month to binge-watch something, then cancelling before the renewal date to sign up for another service... and hoping one of these services doesn't get compromised and reveal my CC number.

    Nor do I want to pay $100/month to the cable company for 200 channels I don't watch. I don't watch any shopping channels or sports networks, but if I want to watch the Science channel, I'm forced to pay for ESPN and HSN, too.

    What I want is for the cable company to let me pick from a menu of channels the 10 or 12 I want and to pay accordingly.

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  • identicon
    E., 6 Apr 2019 @ 2:57pm

    'But as consumers are forced to pay for more and more subscriptions to get all of the content they're looking for, they're not only getting frustrated by the growing costs (defeating the whole point of cutting the cord), they're frustrated by the experience of having to hunt and peck through an endlessly shifting sea of exclusivity arrangements and licensing deals that make it difficult to track where your favorite show or film resides this month.'

    Yep. And yet that's what they want. People to pay through the nose for their content. They don't care how many hoops people have to jump through for stuff either.

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    • icon
      nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:09pm

      Re:

      Most people definitely have a limit to the amount of hoops they will jump through for content. Can't get a certain acton movie? Watch a different one instead. Some people are very fussy and want only certain titles but most folks are far more flexible. Which is why a few big streaming services will end up with all the paying customers, despite not having the rights to all the brands. Netflix can't touch Star Trek or Star Wars brands, but that doesn't prohibit them from inventing their own space opera dramas which hey might actually be better. Who knows? Let them make a half dozen space opera series and let's see if one might actually be pretty good.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Most people definitely have a limit to the dollar amount of hoops they can afford to jump through for content.
        ftfy

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  • identicon
    Agammamon, 6 Apr 2019 @ 3:26pm

    “Consumers want choice — but only up to a point,” said Kevin Westcott,

    OMG, he's not getting it. The problem isn't choice - the problem is we're not getting choice in the things that are important to us, only the things that aren't - its convenience.

    If I'm paying $10/mo to ten different streaming service, each of which has only one thing I want - then I have a lot of irrelevant choice. What I don't have is convenience, nor the ability to choose convenience - which is the thing I want.

    Cut it down to 5 different service, each with two things I want, for $20 ea - I'm not better off.

    But bring it down to one service, charging $100/mo with all 10 options - and yeah, I'm better off. Because what I want to choose is convenience and that single guy does that.

    Oh, and that single supplier is called 'cable' - that's what you have to be more convenient than. If you're not more convenient than cable then people will go back to cable, or go back to stealing the shit again.

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  • identicon
    ReeRee, 6 Apr 2019 @ 5:29pm

    I'm a pirate.

    There are devices and programs that will allow anyone with high speed internet to stream just about any movie or TV show on demand for free. I read a couple of comments where people mentioned downloading shows from torrents or usenet, but that isn't really necessary. People can browse a list of shows, or search for a show, click on it, and it immediately starts playing. They can watch any episode from any season, and new episodes are posted within minutes of the episode playing on the network. And it's free. I'm sorry, but cable companies and streaming services can't compete with that. If there was a single service that allowed me to watch what I want for a reasonable price, I would probably pay for it. But there isn't, and until that happens, I'm going to keep doing this.

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    • identicon
      Rekrul, 8 Apr 2019 @ 12:51pm

      Re: I'm a pirate.

      Two things;

      1. Some people like to keep copies of movies and shows in case they're not available in the future, or in case their net connection is down. Some people just like having a local copy.

      2. More obscure stuff can often only be obtained by downloading.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:30am

      Re: I'm a pirate.

      I'm sorry, but cable companies and streaming services can't compete with that. If there was a single service that allowed me to watch what I want for a reasonable price, I would probably pay for it.

      You just described how they can compete with it. Eradicate it, no, but that isn't necessary.

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

  • identicon
    Smartassicus the Roman, 6 Apr 2019 @ 9:08pm

    I'm a Pirate

    I'm a Pirate.
    I have my reasons and they're good ones. So, in this era of sociopolitical moral relativism I have no problem stealing from the bastards. I don't care what anyone has to say about it, either. I've not paid to see a movie since I saw The Day the Earth Stood Still in Imax on Christmas Eve 2008.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 11:53pm

      Re: I'm a Pirate

      The last film I paid to see was Wind River, in 2017. Well worth the cost of my admission. I don't mind paying for the cinematic experience, especially if I go with a date and we fool around...it's as much that as it is content consumption.

      Bulk of my media, however, is consumed illegitimately.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 6:06am

      Re: I'm a Pirate

      "So, in this era of sociopolitical moral relativism I have no problem stealing from the bastards."

      Except that making a copy of information still isn't stealing anything from anyone. It's making a copy.

      The legal definition is "infringement" and won't change no matter how long copyright cultists such as yourself try to overturn supreme court decisions with bad rhetoric.

      You know, normal people would stop trying to lie about a given topic once they realized the only outcome would be gross embarrassment after every other commenter has consistently exposed the deception - for years.

      By now the only thing you look like, Baghdad bob, is that failure of a clown who thinks the same bad joke which earned him disbelieving laughs twenty years ago will start working again if he only keeps waving the rotted corpse of his prop around long enough.

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  • icon
    nerdrage (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:41pm

    This will all end up with 4 or 5 major global streaming services because consumers only opt for 2 or 3 paid services at a time, and they ignore or pirate the rest. Probably far more just ignore content they can't easily get, given the insane abundance of it all.

    Who has time for all that stuff? Time, not cost is the gating factor and piracy won't create any more time than you already have. That's why piracy won't be much of a factor in how this is all going to shape up. Netflix, Amazon and Disney will be certain; AT&T and Apple possible; CBS maybe if a couple of the others falter; Comcast unlikely. Hulu will be bought by Disney to become their grownup content platform. Now we just wait a couple years for it all to transpire. Huge companies will make billions and billions of dollars. Piracy will continue. Doesn't really matter.

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  • identicon
    Durd Glud, 6 Apr 2019 @ 10:48pm

    Heh.

    Trust me -- piracy on a massive scale is already occurring. Some people (who shall remain nameless) are streaming anything-and-everything they want to see, from a single server for which they paid a single "lifetime subscription" fee, once. And if you know the server operator, you can even request stuff that they don't already have, and it'll appear in a day or two! Now that's customer service and satisfaction! I'm "older," and have always "preferred ownership over access," and have been warning the "younger generation" against the downside of streaming ever since it started to become a thing, because it was bloody obvious to me from the get-go, that having your media on someone else's server, where they can decide to take it away at any time, is going to be a problem. Frankly, I don't trust most server operators "as far as I can throw them," as my Dad use to put it.

    (I don't make much use of "the cloud," either, for the exact same reasons. Say it's secure, all you want, but I know (without proof; I don't need it; just knowing human nature, and its "monkey curiosity," is enough) cloud data is being snooped by unauthorized parties. I'm not putting my precious data on any server whose owner/operator I don't know personally!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 1:30am

      Re: Heh.

      How much content is worth watching twice? How much more that twice? When people get invested in a series or franchise, what they are looking for is the next episode or film.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:53am

      Re: Heh.

      "Trust me -- piracy on a massive scale is already occurring. "

      Was this is dispute?
      What does massive mean in this context?
      Why should I care?

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

  • icon
    Coises (profile), 6 Apr 2019 @ 11:43pm

    An obvious solution

    There is an obvious solution with solid historical precedent; unfortunately, probably everyone in the business hates the idea.

    Just as any radio station can play any musical recording that has been published as an LP or a CD, a sensible compulsory license could assure that any streaming service could stream any program ever released as a DVD or Blu-Ray, broadcast on any over-the-air or cable station, or distributed on any other streaming channel, without prior agreement or negotiation, by paying appropriate, pre-defined royalties to the copyright holders (probably through some intermediary roughly corresponding to ASCAP/BMI for music).

    Give them a reasonable release window—say, six months—during which the publisher has the right to license the work exclusively to selected channels and services; after that, it's open to any properly licensed service to stream.

    Then content producers could focus on producing content people want to watch, streaming services could focus on making whatever their customers want to see available to them as conveniently and cost-effectively as possible, and we could focus on what want to watch rather than the hoops through which we are expected to jump to watch it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 8:00am

      Re: An obvious solution

      iirc, compulsory licensing is not consistent across the different mediums. How will this disconnect be resolved?

      For example, I imagine that compulsive licenses are different between print, radio, tv, internet ... while the item being licensed remains the same. Does this cause any problems and how would they be addressed?

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

      • icon
        Coises (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re: An obvious solution

        Step 1: A federal law is passed defining the basic contours of the compulsory license for published audio+video works, establishing a deadline by which time it becomes effective and assigning policy and enforcement to the care of some new or existing agency.

        Step 2: Hollywood and others spend most of the time until the deadline telling everyone what a disaster this will be and suing to have it overturned.

        Step 3: Hollywood and others realize they're stuck with it and work out the details with said agency because otherwise, they'd have no say at all.

        Step 4: We all find out whether it really works or not.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re: An obvious solution

        usually, to get an audiovisual license for music, they have someone do a cover of the song and then license the cover or produce it as a work-for-hire.

        Dawson's Creek is not the same show on Hulu that it was on network television. It even has a different theme song, and half the music or more that they used was nuked from the reruns.

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

        • icon
          Coises (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 2:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: An obvious solution

          And that's the sort of nonsense that should stop. In the end, it only benefits the lawyers. If copyright can't expire after a reasonable length of time, at least every ordinary use ought to be covered by a compulsory license once a short window of exclusivity has elapsed.

          The idea that songs licensed for use in a program in one format can't be used when that program is changed to another format without re-negotiating the license — which experience shows is often impractical once the music has gained value by being associated with the very work that needs to re-license it — is an absurdity that should have been squashed from the start.

          Since the entire entertainment industry appears to be too greedy and competitive to come to any reasonable agreements on their own... it looks like we need the heavy hand of government to save us from never-ending aggravation, and the studios from themselves.

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

  • identicon
    Slow Joe Crow, 7 Apr 2019 @ 8:26am

    A plague on both your houses

    What about the people who just say I won't watch your stuff if you make it cost extra? When we had cable we used to watch a lot of Discovery and HGTV. Then I got a Roku and dropped cable. Now when I try to watch a Discovery channel show that interests me I get sent off to "activate my device" then get told it's not available so I say sod you I can live without Dave Turin. The same thing happened with HGTV, tried to "activate", got an error. So I'm not watching their shows, not watching their advertising (a necessary evil) and not even going to bother pirating so they won't get word of mouth out of me either. When Disney pulls Star Wars from Netflix, I won't sign up for Disney, I will just stop caring about Star Wars. I dropped cable to save money, and because I was tired of subsidizing channels I disliked. I am not going to keep stacking streaming services.
    Case in point, to watch all of the Doctor Blake Mysteries took Netflix and Britbox for the regular seasons,plus Vudu for the finale, that's no way to run a railroad.

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

  • icon
    REM(RND) (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 9:03am

    Too many what now?

    The issue isn't that there's too many steaming options. The issue is that what I want to watch is spread over too many services. I don't watch anything on HBO except GoT. So, I have no incentive to pay $10 a month or whatever just to see it. I don't watch anything on CBS but Discovery (which I swiftly stopped caring about) so I have no incentive to pay their monthly rates, either. I watch a ton of stuff on Netflix and would prefer the stuff I watch to me on that. Yes, I know. Business models and all that. But I don't care. It's not convenient for me to shell out so much for so little. So, now that Disney is yanking its Marvel stuff away, I'm not going to pay extra for what I used to have. If it's not on the service I use regularly, I either get the dvds of the entire season or I find... other means. I refuse to be penalized because they were late to the game.

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

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 11:28am

    Too Many

    The real problem is that the amount of exclusive content is small and about 90% of it is boring. The non-exclusive content is the same old garbage.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 9:57pm

      Re: Too Many

      The sad thing is that "same old garbage" is new to each new generation, so there's an ongoing value after the huge entertainment dump that established digital media.

      The problem with "legacy copyright" might be its volume, and ability to compete with "already produced" when competing for literally a new audience every year.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:10pm

    No one has to pirate when they can just wait patiently for the free trial month that every service puts out at least once a year.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:12pm

    I use hulu as my only streaming service because it covers almost all of primetime (which is available on the sites anyway), tracks what I'm watching, has a better player than the networs, and is commercial-free. It also has news. old shows, some that were cancelled quickly, some I would have otherwise missed, and a surprisingly good selection of films.

    The remainder I'll do when a free month pops up, which is actually pretty often.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 12:55pm

    Epic Games exclusivity with Borderlands 3

    Borderlands 3 was recently announced, but then it came out it will be released on September 13th, 2019 on a timed exclusive on the Epic Game Store for six months.

    Considering the EGS is a half baked client that has nowhere near the features that Steam has (say, actual high-speed content downloading) the public is livid, with massive incidents of review-bombing of the previous Borderlands games as a result.

    There have been countless threats just to wait out six months, or considering 2K's policies with microtransactions and DLC, avoid the game altogether.

    There have been countless calls to just pirate the game.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Apr 2019 @ 2:00pm

      'Oh, that came out? Didn't notice, had other games to play.'

      There have been countless calls to just pirate the game.

      Which is really stupid when you think about it. If you really want to stick it to a company in return for them doing so to you, paying without paying isn't the route, rather it's ignoring them entirely. Don't download it(paid or not), don't talk about it, for all intents and purposes treat the game as though it doesn't even exist.

      Going the skull and crossbones route means they're not paying monetarily at that time, but they're still paying with their time and attention, and if they talk to others about it those others might pay, resulting in a purchase that might not have existed otherwise. No, you really want to twist the knife in a company that screws you over with excessive greed, you don't even pay them in attention.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 12:36am

        Re: 'Oh, that came out? Didn't notice, had other games to play.'

        Oh, I agree. When Sims 3 was just a vehicle for clothing and furniture microtransactions, I resigned myself to Sims 2 and eventually just not having any decent dollhouse games at all.**

        But Borderlands enthusiasts are as fanatical for their franchise -- or at least just as curious -- as Game of Thrones enthusiasts. They'll have to look even if they know it's going to be bad.

        I haven't decided what to do about Borderlands 3 until I see how awful the microtransaction scheme is (2K has been antagonistic against end-users before). But my own price point is already pretty low.

        ** I also stopped watching The Last Jedi probably about forty minutes in. I am a firm acolyte of the notion of death of the author and it didn't feel like what I wanted from Star Wars at all.

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

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 8 Apr 2019 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Epic Games exclusivity with Borderlands 3

      Borderlands 3 was recently announced, but then it came out it will be released on September 13th, 2019 on a timed exclusive on the Epic Game Store for six months.

      I've always seen console exclusives as a problem, but apparently I'm the only one who cares. Years ago I played Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D in Windows and loved it. I would have bought the two sequels, but they only came out on the Gamecube. Just get a Gamecube, right? Sure, where do I plug in my flightstick?

      The first two Halo games came out for Windows. Where are the rest of the games? Exclusive to Xbox consoles. They support using a mouse and keyboard, right?

      Hey, they released Burnout Paradise for Windows! Um, where's all the DLC that people are raving about? Oh right, it's only available for consoles...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 5:09pm

    This is a natural part of the streaming bubble, where we know only a few companies will come out on top. The problem is no individual company is convinced they won't win so they keep fighting. At some point we'll get a new cord...same as the old cord.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 7:33pm

    When Kevin Westcott says "Consumers want choice - but only up to a point", it gets me thinking. From what I've been seeing, the things that people view as intolerable inconveniences is increasing, and consumers are actually starting to ask for a ludicrously small amount of choices or a one-stop shop where they don't need to make any choices at all. I feel like people need to be more appreciative of just how good we actually have it with the current streaming landscape, and what subscription streaming services have brought to the table.

    These are services that you can subscribe to at any time and cancel at any time. Many of these streaming services are ad-free. You can watch whatever you want on them any time, with no fixed schedules for programming aside from said program's release date or when they get taken off the service. A lot of them have apps on multiple devices, and some of those allow you to download episodes for offline viewing. In trying to compete with one another, they directly fund or acquire exclusive programming that in a lot of cases could be considered too niche for traditional TV networks to create, or old stuff that would've been left forgotten. Stepping back and looking at what these services actually provide to us, they're better than we could've ever dreamed of as alternatives to cable.

    These subscriptions that people can start and cancel at any time, which used to be considered amazing revolutions in accessing large amounts of on-demand ad-free entertainment, are all-too-quickly being deemed "not good enough". We've moved from "Wow, there are so many ways that I can cut the cord and still get all the shows I want!" to "Ugh, another streaming service?! How dare they!" in far-too-short a span of time. Having been spoiled rotten by all of these advances, people's wants and expectations for the convenience of streaming video are becoming absurd.

    Here's the deal: I love animation and animated series of all kinds. Streaming and its fragmentation into multiple services vying for people's subscriptions is one of the best things that's ever happened for the medium. Allowing creators and studios to get out from under the thumb of risk-averse network execs and move to streaming where there's much more creative freedom to be had, as well as giving what were previously just glorified toy commercials room to be their own thing. If other companies hadn't split off from Netflix to try and get their own piece of the pie, would we have gotten brilliant anime like Devilman: Crybaby, an actual good videogame adaptation in the form of Castlevania, or a She-Ra reboot that tells a real story and isn't a cynical ploy to sell merch? Original series are being created as well, such as The Dragon Prince, Cannon Busters, and more. If it was just Netflix and Hulu getting everything with no market fragmentation, I highly doubt that any of these awesome projects would be happening.

    Other companies are building out their animation rosters, too. Rooster Teeth now has multiple original series alongside their long-running parody, Red vs. Blue. DC has resurrected Young Justice (which Cartoon Network had originally screwed over) and is working on a Harley Quinn animated comedy, both of which are on DC's own streaming service. Amazon has multiple animated series out right now and in development, original series and adaptations.

    The market for licenses to stream anime has allowed more series than ever before to come to countless countries in multiple languages, as each service looks to grab the streaming rights for promising shows each season. Netflix, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime, HiDive, Funimation... more companies with more money vying for more anime means that more of it is available in more convenient streaming formats internationally rather than pirated fansubs. Licenses to older series are acquired as well. I can finally watch Macross legally thanks to Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll has a large back catalogue of old-school titles, Hulu has a broad range of Gundam series, and Netflix picked up the legendary Evangelion and is even funding a new dub for it since the original one is stuck in a rightsholder quagmire.

    So yeah, as a fan of animation of all kinds, I'm glad that this fragmentation has allowed animation to flourish in a way that it just couldn't if it was still shackled to TV and the only streaming services were Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll.

    At the end of the day, this competition between 300+ services can't last forever. A lot will drop out of the race and (hopefully) any of their exclusive content will be aggregated into other services that win out, and eventually we get down to a manageable number. What people think that "manageable number" is may vary, but I hope it's at least 20 or so (rather than single digits) to allow for wider competition in exclusive original series and for an array of niches to be catered to. People need to be patient, realign their expectations with reality, and realize that what we've got right now is still pretty damn good compared to the alternatives.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 7 Apr 2019 @ 8:44pm

    Personally, I'll wait for a new video rental store to open so I can join and rent a physical disc in order to see the actual latest releases of whatever is available once it becomes available. Now THAT'S cord-cutting!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Apr 2019 @ 11:46pm

    As long as I have access to the Internet and an account in good-standing at IPT, I'll be downloading (aka pirating) everything I want to watch from there...except live sports (specifically hockey), which I get from Reddit's NHLStreams. Fuck paying for content.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Apr 2019 @ 10:25am

    Too Many Video Streaming Choices Will Drive Users Back To "Piracy"

    fixed

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 8 Apr 2019 @ 1:03pm

    This is such a non-issue. Who's so poor that they can't pay a monthly fee to subscribe to;

    Netflix
    Hulu
    Amazon Prime
    CBS All Access
    HBO Now
    Disney's service (when it's available)
    Google Play
    iTunes
    YouTube Premium...

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      (Note to the sarcasm-impaired person typing up an angry reply at this very moment: Rekrul is being sarcastic.)

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

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 12 Apr 2019 @ 8:28pm

        Re: Re:

        (Note to the sarcasm-impaired person typing up an angry reply at this very moment: Rekrul is being sarcastic.)

        I am not! In fact I just bought a fifth mansion to store the sports cars that wouldn't fit at the first four!

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

  • icon
    MikeVx (profile), 8 Apr 2019 @ 7:18pm

    Streaming has been a poor experience for me.

    I've tested the two big services, Amazon was largely OK except for committing one of the sins that drove me away from broadcast and cable, rubbish over the credits..

    Netflix, however, is masterwork of annoyance, doing all but one of the things that bothered me about broadcast and cable, and doing some new ones of their own.

    All of these annoyances are showstoppers, any one of them is enough for me to cancel service, thus, the trials for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix were terminated as they count as failures.

    I assume that most people have more tolerance for this kind of trashy behavior than I do, because I left free/cable services because of stupidity like corrupted credits, ads for other shows, video playing while trying to search or use a guide, and a few other irritants. I'm not paying to be treated that badly.

    Seriously, how screwed up is it when unauthorized access methods sound like the superior user experience?

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:31am

      Re: Streaming has been a poor experience for me.

      "Seriously, how screwed up is it when unauthorized access methods sound like the superior user experience?"

      Pirates have had the same disbelieving face on over this issue for some twenty years or more.

      The "creative industries" can't innovate worth shit. We can safely assume that any new business model they launch will be a cursory spray of glitterdust over the same stale old turd which has been proven unsatisfactory since the early 90's.

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


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