Seven days doesn’t seem like a long time, but it’s an eternity in the world of streaming. Over the past week we’ve seen more deals, YouTube price hikes and service expansions that change the cord-cutting landscape.
Check out our recap of news from the streaming world….
Death, Taxes, Rising Prices
For many people, the whole point of cutting the cord is to save money by replacing your cable bill with a cheaper alternative. But how long will streaming services be cheaper? As streaming services try to reproduce the cable experience over the internet, they have to become more like cable companies.
We told you last week about fuboTV’s price increase to $45 per month. Now YouTube TV has announced it will raise prices. Engadget reports that the timing coincides with the arrival of several Turner networks. YouTube TV will soon have CNN, TNT and other Turner-owned channels. Starting in mid-March, new subscribers will pay $40 per month, up from today’s $35 rate.
Cable is the Cable Alternative?
At the same time that streaming services are becoming more like cable, cable companies are becoming more like streaming services. Netimperative reported on an industry forecast that predicts the death of cable. The numbers indicate that streaming video subscribers will exceed paid TV subscribers within the next five years, reaching 236 million subscribers in the United States.
Numbers like that have already prompted Comcast to offer a streaming TV service to its broadband-only customers. Cordcutters News reported that Spectrum began pitching its own skinny bundle service. Spectrum TV Choice lets subscribers expand their channel lineup on an a-la-carte basis.
Global expansion is another way streaming services and media companies hope to counter declining advertising. China is always a huge opportunity, but China’s government hasn’t been too helpful.
Reuters reported that Disney is making another streaming run in China. The House of the Mouse signed a deal with Youku to stream 1,000 episodes of content. Not well known in the US, Youku gets 1.2 billion views a day — about as many as YouTube gets in a month.
YouTube’s Red subscription service will expand to as many as 100 countries, TechCrunch reported. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki made the comments at this week’s Code Media conference. She also said YouTube will hire 10,000 people to prevent idiots like YouTube Red creator Logan Paul from tasing dead rats.
Fans Are The Future
Many streaming companies believe focus is a better strategy than size. Serving a specific community, they argue, will generate loyalty and profit.
The Hollywood Reporter published an in-depth look at the way Crunchyroll fosters anime in the US and Japan. Over the past decade, Crunchyroll’s royalty payments have added more than $100 million to Japan’s anime industry.
We reported today that NBC-owned genre network Syfy will livestream Comic Cons in Seattle, Chicago and New York. The deal raises the profile of comics fandom and lets more fans take part in the events.
In related news, gaming-centric network Machinima unveiled a renewed focus on gaming culture to go along with its new lime green branding. This will include more original content as well as live streaming from eSports competition.
Let the Games Begin
Rupert Murdoch’s decision to pull Fox out of the entertainment business is turning into a soap opera. Disney, the owner of ABC and ESPN, shook the media industry when it signed a deal to buy most of Fox’s non-news business.
Now Comcast, the owner of NBC and Universal, may make another offer according to the New York Times and other outlets. Fox, Comcast and Disney each own 30% shares of streaming service Hulu. The winner in this fight will decide Hulu’s fate – and reshape the cord-cutting landscape.
Can You Stream Me Now?
AT&T promoted an analyst report ranking AT&T best in mobile streaming. Global Wireless Solutions, a company that sells services to companies like AT&T, measured 4K streaming performance across the US and found AT&T’s network offered the best quality and reliability. For its part, AT&T said that video traffic grew more than 250,000% over the past decade.
When it comes to sports that require more than a game controller, we saw several developments on the streaming front.
Last week Disney revealed that its future ESPN streaming service would include sports not important enough for its cable channels. This week America’s Major League Soccer shut down its own streaming service to join ESPN+.
At the same time, Spain’s top-tier La Liga’s president told Expansion will create its own streaming service. In addition to streaming live soccer (or football) matches, the as-yet-unnamed service will highlight other Spanish sports to help raise their profiles.
The Tennis Channel announced that its paid streaming service, Tennis Channel Plus, will double the number of tennis tournaments its subscribers can watch. New licensing deals give Tennis Channel Plus access to the 19 biggest ATP World Tour competitions.
RidePass will stream bull riding and other western sports. We reported that the $8-per-month service will cover rodeos and other competitions around the world.
The Curse of Cable
The shift away from traditional TV distribution is just one of the trends reshaping the media industry. Flixed reported on the latest FCC report on American broadband — and it’s not good. While a fourth of households get at least 100 megabits-per-second (Mbps) download speeds, a full 40% of households top out at 25Mbps and nearly 20% don’t get more than 10Mbps.
Fubo on the Future
Word broke last week of fuboTV’s price increases. Since then, the PR team at the sports-centric streaming service has been in overdrive.
SportTechie interviewed fuboTV co-founder Sung Ho Choi about the future of sports streaming. Choi sees high-dynamic-range and 60-frames-per-second video as the most likely improvement in the near term.
Decades out, however, Choi believes immersive video created by “vast numbers of cameras” will create holographic experiences.
Of more immediate benefits to fuboTV’s subscribers, we reported on the service’s addition of more local stations and a promotion with Sears.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.