1. HBO Performs Hardball

In an electronic mail Friday morning, Lightshed’s Rich Greenfield dropped the bomb that AT&T plans to sundown each the HBO Go and HBO Now apps on July 31st. His proof was an electronic mail Roku despatched to Go subscribers that said as a lot, so except somebody screwed up the e-mail, Greenfield’s not speculating.

Previous to this, everybody had assumed that HBO was going to sundown the Go app, and switch Now into one thing known as HBO, which might perform similar to Now and permit the seven million or so Now subscribers to proceed watching through the app, which seems to now not be the case.

However late Friday afternoon, Warner reached out to Greenfield and clarified that they might not really be sunsetting the HBO Now app on Roku gadgets. (Possible attributable to contractual obligations.)

Amazon Hearth TV customers, OTOH, are nonetheless SOL, as they won’t have any HBO apps, Max, Now, Go or in any other case.

Why It Issues

Fast recap: Amazon, Roku and AT&T are engaged in one thing that appears, feels and sounds rather a lot like a carriage charge negotiation. Amazon and Roku wish to make the brand new HBO Max app a part of their channel shops, the best way Go and Now have been, which signifies that many (presumably most) viewers will entry the app through Amazon Prime or The Roku Channel and never the devoted app AT&T has created for Max. 

This is a matter for AT&T as a result of (a) they lose subscription income, (b) they lose advert income, (c) they lose viewer and promoting knowledge, and (d) their app is designed to extend stickiness and time spent with Max.

That mentioned, someplace between two-thirds and three-quarters of all streaming TV viewers entry TV through Amazon and Roku, each through the gadgets and through TVs with the OS.

And that’s why it issues, as a result of if Max is unavailable on each these platforms, viewers are prone to simply overlook about it.

Or blame AT&T/HBO

Or each.

And given the large confusion across the app and the place it’s and isn’t accessible prefer it’s going to be the doubtless end result.

What’s occurring proper now’s that they’re each simply taking part in an enormous recreation of hen, solely the stakes are a lot increased for AT&T than they’re for Roku and Amazon.

Few individuals are going to do away with Hearth TV as a result of it doesn’t have a devoted HBO app. Particularly because the important various, Roku, gained’t have a manner for them to log in with their Amazon credentials, and neither working system may have a manner for anybody to obtain HBO Max.

What’s extra doubtless is that Amazon’s HBO subs will watch through Amazon Prime and get used to watching that manner. And that subs who subscribe through an MVPD (the Go subs) will obtain the TV All over the place app their supplier affords and watch HBO exhibits on demand that manner.

If it’s even a problem–aside from the Perry Mason reboot, there’s not a lot new on HBO proper now and there are numerous different Flix choices for somebody who’s trying to watch reruns and isn’t wedded to the concept that they have to be Buddies reruns. 

That will change quickly sufficient, however for now, there’s not going to be an enormous demand for HBO, which supplies Roku and Amazon an excellent greater benefit.

The opposite factor to observe right here is who customers blame for the trouble and proper now it appears to be like like HBO has an enormous goal on its again.

In the old-fashioned carriage beefs between MVPDs and networks, customers blamed the MVPDs. However the motive for that’s twofold: customers historically had a contentious relationship with MVPDs (e.g., they hated them) and it was straightforward for customers to grasp that the meat was all about cash. 

Right here, most individuals like Amazon and (particularly) Roku, as they see the latter principally as a tool that makes their lives simpler and doesn’t price some huge cash. Then there’s the second half, that what HBO is asking for isn’t cash, however knowledge, as in “we would like Roku to show over your viewing knowledge to us” and as you may suspect, that’s not going to create a number of sympathy for HBO.

So there’s that and that indisputable fact that we’re nonetheless not satisfied that individuals who subscribe to HBO to allow them to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and Westworld are all that bothered that they don’t have entry to Buddies reruns and Harry Potter motion pictures.

Only a hunch. 

What You Want To Do About It

Should you’re AT&T, you’d higher be feeling actually fortunate or perhaps you already know one thing we don’t. As a result of watching HBO through Prime or TRC isn’t all that onerous and most of the people gained’t be all that conscious you’re nonetheless beefing with Roku and Amazon. There are seven different Flixes on the market proper now, so it’s not like they don’t have choices.

Should you’re Roku and Amazon, simply maintain your eye on the spin. Proper now, if social media is any indication, viewers appear to be inserting the blame on AT&T/HBO.

Should you’re everybody else, time to clean up the popcorn.

2. Amazon Goes Linear

Some good sleuthing by our buddy Janko Roettgers at Protocol revealed that Amazon is trying to launch some linear channels on Prime (or perhaps IMDBTV–it’s by no means precisely clear the place one ends the opposite begins.) There are job listings posted and all that, so it’s clearly gone past the “simply occupied with it” stage.

Why It Issues

Amazon (and everybody else) has been trying on the success of the FASTs (free ad-supported streaming TV companies) and pondering “yeah, we would like a few of that too.”

Three of the most important FASTs, Pluto, Xumo and Tubi are actually owned by VCBS, Comcast and Fox, respectively, in order that they’re not going wherever. 

It appears folks do like watching linear feeds too–one much less factor to consider after they activate the TV, and if these feeds are principally reruns, they don’t really feel too dangerous about tuning in halfway.

It appears Amazon is in search of 24/7 streams too, so there’s additionally the prospect they’re going to see if a few of the smaller cable networks, those prone to get lower from MVPD lineups when cord-cutting picks up for actual (40 million+ unemployed will try this) are keen to bounce. 

That’s one thing we’ve been speaking about for some time–that the Flixes are logical new properties for smaller cable networks who will assume extra of a studio position, placing out say 5 to 10 hours of recent programming each week, however principally counting on reruns.

And to circle again to an earlier snide comment, will probably be attention-grabbing to see the place IMDBTV falls out in all this. Will Amazon maintain attempting to make it occur or will they simply fold it into Prime, which is what we’d suggest. (Not that anybody is asking us, but when they did…)

What You Want To Do About It

Should you’re Amazon you may learn the bit in Alan Wolk’s e book “Over The Top: How The Internet Is (Slowly But Surely) Changing The Television Industry” the place he talks concerning the rise of customized linear channels on OTT, just like Spotify’s Each day Mixes. Should you’re Amazon and you’ve got all that knowledge, that may’t be too onerous to do and would get you hella PR.

Should you’re a smaller cable community and your future isn’t feeling all that sure, a Zoom name with Seattle may be so as.

Should you’re a cable bundle (work with us on this one), this isn’t excellent news for you. You may wish to contemplate your choices, like a brilliant skinny model with simply the printed networks. As a result of linear channels on the FASTs have that “free” factor going for them and that’s onerous to argue with.

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