Paul Sweeting

FCC Seeks Comment on DSTAC Report 

The FCC Media Bureau announced Monday that it is seeking public comments on the final report that the Commission-appointed Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee (DSTAC) submitted last Friday (August 28). The FCC, which also posted the six-page report here, said comments are due Oct. 8, 2015, with reply comments due Nov. 9, 2015. Docket 15-64 has been setup for the process. The FCC has not announced plans to follow with a larger Notice of Inquiry or a full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the matter.

Source: FCC Seeks Comment on DSTAC Report | Multichannel

Hulu’s Ad-Free Epics

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Those looking for evidence that Hulu is getting ready to introduce an ad-free, premium-plus tier got a big helping of it Sunday when the streaming service announced a deal with digital movie network Epix after Netflix decided it would not renew its expiring, five-year old deal with the three-studio consortium.

The deal brings to Hulu films from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, including such recent hits as  “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “World War Z,” and “Wolf of Wall Street,” marking a major expansion of Hulu’s movie offerings.

“Hulu already offers some of the best and biggest titles in television programming, but our subscribers have been asking us for more, and more recent, big movies. We hulu_nocbs-1listened,” Hulu’s senior VP and head of content, Craig Erwich said in a statement. “Through this new deal with Epix, we are proud to now be able to offer a huge selection of the biggest blockbusters and premium films. This is a landmark deal for Hulu and it marks a huge expansion for our offering of premium programming.”

Added Epix CEO Mark Greenberg: “Hulu has become one of the most popular premium streaming services and Epix’s agreement is evidence of their understanding of the value that our blockbuster Hollywood films, deep library of classic film titles and original programming brings to consumers.”

What neither executive said but surely understands is that Hulu will not be competitive at offering SVOD movies if they have advertising breaks in them. There are simply too many other, ad-free options for watching those same movies, as Netflix’s chief content office Ted Sarandos pointedly noted in a blog post explaining the decision not to renew the deal with Epix.  Nor is advertising likely to be an effective monetization strategy for such “premium programming,” given what Hulu probably paid for the rights. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, Netflix is believed to have paid Epix $1 billion over the five-year life of its deal, and with blockbuster  franchises like “Hunger Games” pulling the train it’s unlikely Epix would have taken less this time around.

The big question facing Hulu as it contemplates adding a premium-plus tier is whether simply offering its current TV content without ads is enough to persuade people to pay the $12-$14 a month it’s reportedly considering. Netflix already offers TV content without ads, after all, for $10 a month. To make a go of a premium-plus tier, Hulu will need to offer a more robust selection of premium content — like popular ad-free movies of recent vintage.

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NYTimes: Let Consumers Use Better, Cheaper Cable Boxes 

Connecting a set-top box to a cable line or satellite dish should be as easy as activating a new cellphone on a wireless network. Consumers should have a choice of devices, and they should be able to buy the boxes outright or pay for them through their monthly plan. And using a set-top box should not require an electronic card. Surely, cable and tech companies can come up with software that can verify that set-top boxes are being used by paying subscribers.

Source: Let Consumers Use Better, Cheaper Cable Boxes – The New York Times

Live Sports No Longer TV’s Holy Grail in U.S. as Ratings Peak 

TV networks including Disney’s ESPN, Fox Sports and Time Warner’s TNT and TBS will spend a combined $12.5 billion in the next year for rights to carry professional football, basketball and baseball games and the Summer Olympics, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Those long-term contracts are based on industry assumptions that may prove too optimistic amid evidence of shrinking demand for cable TV.

Source: Live Sports No Longer TV’s Holy Grail in U.S. as Ratings Peak – Bloomberg Business

TV Networks Confront Ad Blockers Erasing Commercials Online 

The rise of ad blocking online has worried marketers and web publishers alike, but even TV networks are having to confront the disruptive technology as it strips commercials from their streaming video players. Consumers can install AdBlock software on their Chrome web browsers, for example, to eliminate both pre-roll and in-show commercials from full episodes of network shows on NBC.com, ABC.com and Fox.com.

Source: TV Networks Confront Ad Blockers Erasing Commercials Online | Media – Advertising Age

Apple TV 4 coming in October for under $200, Apple TV 3 stays 

The new Apple TV will come at a premium price compared with the current model, which was originally priced at $99 from its launch in 2012, then was reduced to $69 this March. As the new box will be considerably more expensive than popular alternatives from Roku, Google and Amazon, Apple plans to keep the $69 third-generation device for sale as an entry level model within the Apple TV product line. The new Apple TV 4 will be very similar to the current model in appearance, but it will be thicker and slightly wider, sources say.

Source: Apple TV 4 coming in October for under $200, Apple TV 3 stays & gets new streaming service | 9to5Mac

YouTube as you know it is about to change dramatically 

The way you experience YouTube may be dramatically different before the end of the year. According to multiple sources, the world’s largest video-sharing site is preparing to launch its two separate subscription services before the end of 2015 — Music Key, which has been in beta since last November, and another unnamed service targeting YouTube’s premium content creators, which will come with a paywall. Taken together, YouTube will be a mix of free, ad-supported content and premium videos that sit behind a paywall.

Source: YouTube as you know it is about to change dramatically | The Verge

Hang W/ Has High Hopes For Live-Streamed Video

Its newest monetization effort is pay-per-view pricing, which allows video creators to charge between $.25 to $100 for streams, which Hang w/ expects will diversify its revenue stream through more of a recurring pricing model than standard CPM-based pre-roll. Pay-per-view streaming is a relatively uncharted pricing model in the live-streaming space. Although YouTube experimented with the pricing model a couple of years ago to help monetize live event streams, it’s still a novelty.

Source: Hang W/ Has High Hopes For Live-Streamed Video

Radio Giants Facing Bicoastal Legal Demands to Stop Playing Pre-1972 Songs 

CBS Radio, iHeartMedia and Cumulus — the nation’s three largest radio station operators — are now facing multi-million dollar lawsuits both in California and New York over exploitation of pre-1972 sound recordings. The litigation campaign comes from ABS Entertainment, which owns the recordings of Al Green and others, and aims to represent a class that would include such iconic musicians as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles.

Source: Radio Giants Facing Bicoastal Legal Demands to Stop Playing Pre-1972 Songs – Hollywood Reporter

Drake sings for Katrina victims, Apple threatens $20M suit 

Apple Music declared war on rival streaming service, Jay Z’s Tidal, over Drake’s appearance at a charity concert to benefit kids affected by Hurricane Katrina. Tidal faces being sued for $20 million if it streamed Apple artist Drake’s brief two-song appearance at the Friday night show.

Source: Drake sings for Katrina victims, Apple threatens $20M suit | Page Six

Hulu Will Use Facebook and Oracle’s Ad Tech to Sell Ads 

This fall the streaming video service, which is owned by NBC Universal, Fox and Walt Disney Co., will open a private ad exchange powered by Facebook video ad exchange LiveRail to let marketers to buy ads on Hulu as easily as if they were purchasing something on Amazon. To make sure those ads are shown to the right people, Hulu will let brands combine their own data with Hulu’s information on people’s age, gender, location and what shows they watch as well as data from companies within Oracle’s data-management platform.

Source: Hulu Will Use Facebook and Oracle’s Ad Tech to Sell Ads | Digital – Advertising Age

Apple Is About To Lay Down Its TV Cards 

It stands to reason that Apple will be able to push the A8 much, much further than it ever has before given that the Apple TV is plugged into the wall, and not dependent on battery.This will enable developers of games and other resource-intensive applications to produce higher quality and more demanding apps. A native SDK that takes advantage of the hardware fully will, for the first time ever, turn the Apple TV into a platform, a self-sustaining life form that Apple likely hopes will dominate competitors who have done only slightly better about adding third-party support.

Source: Apple Is About To Lay Down Its TV Cards | TechCrunch

Meet the Match.com for record labels: How Creative Commission is challenging music biz rules 

The UK-based site works as an online exchange, directly connecting labels, managers and artists with creative talent across video, design, photography and digital. At no cost to the music industry, rights-holders can post briefs on the site with strict budgets and timelines; creators interested in fulfilling these briefs – for a music video, for example – will then send labels/managers/artists a sketch of their ideas.

Source: Meet the Match.com for record labels: How Creative Commission is challenging music biz rules – Music Business Worldwide