(LINK) Stream On 🍿 | No Mercy / No Malice

Good take on streaming but somehow I feel like Netflix will find a way to stay very relevant.

Just got Disney+ working and of course it’s awesome to find so much Disney back content and since I don’t have cable it will be nice to see some of the NatGeo stuff for once.

My NYU colleague professor Adam Alter has conducted research confirming that the most end…
— Read on www.profgalloway.com/stream-on

Waiting for Disney

I have kids and I like old Disney movies so I am excited to try Disney+ but I can’t.

The way they have launched shows you the technical prowess that Netflix has over all these guys. It’s silly to me that Disney can’t go global from day 1 and even their 3 country launch was plagued by scale issues. 

Regardless, people want that product. I know I do.

Right now I use Netflix and Prime Video but will add Disney and maybe, but not sure – HBO.

What I am loving about Prime Video is that all the subtitles are always available regardless of my region. I absolutely hate how Netflix bounds subs to the region – which is silly given people live all around the world in countries they are not from. I wish they would fix this.

Good times if you love to watch stuff – I am digging the new Carnival Row show on Prime for example.

Functionality Vs Content – AVC

Functionality Vs Content – AVC

The crux of this post is this part right here:

And most importantly, it is the frustrations of the prior model, as I mentioned above, that creates the opening for the new model.

So if you are working on a new model, for anything (it could be crypto, health care, education, finance, etc, etc), you should look very closely at what are the most annoying and frustrating aspects of the current model and focus on leading with features that remove them.

 

Mostly very real but sometimes I see people working on something because they discovered an annoyance but the market isn’t big enough, or there is not a willingness to pay. I want to caveat that part – the annoying better cross with some revenue potential. That being said I agree that there are things to fix in the world that people will pay for.

On to the streaming part, I admit that the announcement of a service I am even closely tempted to pay for without batting an eye is a Disney streaming service. I have kids, so it is a no brainer. All the back catalog Disney content is the best, and if you add in Star Wars, Marvel and anything else they have that is safe family content then for sure this is a must-have.

I defer on the tech and user experience till we can use it, but I doubt it functions as well as Netflix. I still find HBO lame as an app, and in Singapore, with the excellent internet it still sucks where Netflix is a flawless experience day in and day out. I mention HBO since it is built on Bamtech which is the company Disney mostly owns that started as MLB Tech. I want to guess that Warner sucks in building stuff so hopefully, Disney can do a better job, but all of them have a long ways to go tech wise to catch up to Netflix.

The other piece of this to watch is how this plays out globally, Netflix lite up the whole globe and that means you can get it practically anywhere and I am hoping Disney does the same. I wonder where these leaves the HOOQs, iFlixs, and Hotstars of the world over time. I think it comes down to Netflix, Prime Video and Disney forming the global lion’s share but will be interesting to watch how India fairs. China is China and all walled off so hard to say, but I bet Disney goes hard on it.

 

Montage Sequence #2 – bubbles, loonshots and the OA

Some great stuff in this issue.

This I think about a lot especially in the context of SEAsia:

4/ Finally, I was struck by how all the companies mentioned in the “bubble” pieces – often in reaction to the sticker shock of what seemed like a large valuation back then – went on to bigger and bigger valuations as time went on, often many times over. Which leads me to wonder:
a) why did so many commentators miss the growth that was going to happen to these companies?
b) is the same mistake being made now in the narrative around valuations?

Now I want this book :: Loonshots.

I am still struggling to like OA. 😉

Montage Sequence #2 – bubbles, loonshots and the OA

There is Netflix – and then everyone else

Was listening to this on one of my long walks, https://overcast.fm/+F-0WRB7Pc, and you get the feeling that the tide is slowly turning towards Netflix. Now some of the most respected people in film absolutely love working with Netflix and the stuff they are excited about shows you how much the game has changed.

They way they market, they way they work with the film makers and the appetite they have to try new things.

With all the stuff going on with Disney and Fox – it is clear what their worry is – it is Netflix. Obviously Disney has more than just movies and shows with the theme parks and all that but the battles for streaming must be the biggest fight they have.

As a user of all these services – HBO, Netflix and some of the local ones, I tend to look at the tech or just how well they all work and bar none – Netflix has no competitor. Right now I am stuck in upcountry Thailand using an LTE wifi hotspot to get connectivity for my laptop, my son’s laptop, and 3 or 4 phones. Guess what streaming service works everytime and even supports both of us using it at the same time? Netflix.

Many times it even works better than videos on FB or YT. Add to that the amount of great original content on it and the local subtitles and there is just no comparison. Of course there is the other battle being fought with all the regional players and the telcos. iFlix so far is easily taking the lead but it is still in another class compared to the depth of content and the technical acquity of Netflix but that makes sense given how long Netflix has been around and how much they have invested.

It will be interesting to see how they giants take the battle to Netflix – that is even if they can find the battlefield.

How far will Disney push it?

So Disney is buying part of Fox :: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fox-m-a-walt-disney/disney-deal-set-to-value-fox-at-more-than-75-billion-source-idUSKBN1E7348

Will be interesting to see how they play the OTT game from here on out – they have Fox doing their own online stuff, Disney is planning to build Disney online and with this deal they now control Hulu as well.

I don’t see the point in keeping them all going and I personally would prefer the killer Netflix competitor but would they use Hulu or go all in on a Disney only OTT play?

Also listen to this podcast with The Prof :: https://overcast.fm/+BcN1HLmuU – where The Prof talks about Disney going nuclear and making sure their content is only on their OTT property and somehow doing a Disney prime for content and access to Disney offline – the Theme Parks.

Recurring revenue FTW!

All the experts…

I was listening to a podcast the other day and basically heard Barry Ritholtz come to the conclusion during the interview with the Prof that Apple should buy Netflix.

What I find fascinating is how quickly armchair quarterbacks can make an off the cuff declaration that turns into a business meme.

Days after that podcast Barry writes this :: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-11-07/why-apple-should-buy-netflix

Of course people will read Bloomberg and quickly think this should happen but my take is that it shouldn’t happen and it won’t. For many reasons.

First reason is I don’t think Reed wants to be bought. People will counter that with everyone has a price but I generally think Reed has been bought before, has purposefully worked to build a big company he loves to run and has a vision for Netflix that doesn’t include an acquisition.

That point aside it would appear that folks like Barry and others who say Apple should buy Netflix don’t actually get OTT businesses at all. For a company to be successful in OTT they need three things – the ability to stream content, they need the content to stream and they need distribution or devices to consume the streams. Apple already has 2 out of the 3 and most companies have to pay for all 3. They have to build streaming, they have to buy content and they have to buy distribution – in other words they have to spend a shit ton of money on adverstising. This is why OTT businesses are a funding game these days. I always proffer the biggest winners here are Google, Facebook, OVPs and the content guys – not the OTT companies.

Since Apple has 2 out of the 3 then all Apple has to do is buy or make content. Those not in the know don’t realize that before Netflix was an aggregator of content and didn’t produce much of their own content but now Netflix is not only buying content but it is is making content. However making content is not magic and esentially means Netflix operates like any other studio which means it has all the issues like any other studio and with each passing day Netflix has to be a studio and be a aggregator which is not easy.

Plus it is very expensive.

Which means Apple can do exactly what they are now doing. Use their tech and their massive distrubtion – iTunes, iOS, MacOS, Apple TV and whateve else they are creating to highlight content that they will make much in the same way Netflix is doing. This means buying Netflix would be waste of capital. Apple could actually use their cash to outspend Netflix on similiarly great content – like what they have just announced here, http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/apple-jennifer-aniston-reese-witherspoon-morning-shows-amazing-stories-1202610068/

Keep in mind that almost all celebrities in the world use Apple phones. Which means that Apple has a direct relationship with the people that star in and produce content already. Not difficult at all for Apple to get exclusive content for their ecosystem.

John says much the same thing here :: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/11/08/apple-netflix-ritholtz

Also the latest Daily Update from Ben Thompson corrects his earlier mistake where he discusses that Apple should buy Netflix. https://stratechery.com

 

The weak link in OTT

Having been involved in OTT for many a year it was always obvious to anyone working in the industry that the whole DRM system is mostly a waste of time and money. This is the system that the movie industry forces on the OTT industry through lobbying that has driven up the cost of everything.

The idea being that if you pay for DRM that at least if anything happens, meaning someone steals a stream, you can say you are covered by so and so’s DRM. Essentially DRM is like insurance.

However, if you have ever worked in the OTT industry, the general security around how movies are sent around would floor you. Companies mail hard drives around, ship DVD’s, put movies on Google drive and all sorts of file transfer methods that are semi secure or not even remotely secure.

But since all these systems are run by people, usually any sort of leakage starts from the inside and involves people paying for access. Or, there is just a lack of security and any system that is based on people will usually have a flaw or someone makes a simple mistake which will allow a sophisticated tech person a chance to steal stuff.

https://daringfireball.net/linked/2017/04/29/orange-is-the-new-black

In this specific case it sounds like the hacker got into the post production studio’s system and was able to take the episodes. These episodes probably were not even completed or ready to be streamed. Around the emerging markets there is quite a racket for copying the movies and selling them to pirates while they are being transferred around, supposedly in safe hands, but in places like India it is quite common for the film canisters to be dropped off at the pirates on the way to the cinemas.

I am sure Netflix is pissed and will be interesting to see if they figure this one out. As more and more media moves to online only – my guess is this type of situation will happen again. It also brings to light the issue in companies like Netflix realising all episodes at once since in order to do this all the shows have to be ready to go. This means all the shows are sitting there if someone gains acccess where in a normal TV show- they are being made as you watch or getting finished as you watch.