Tag Archives: Hulu Plus

Celebrity Cyber Report – LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Dave Chappelle, Kanye West

LeBron James

YouTube has added another big name to its Red subscription streaming service. NBA legend LeBron James will get executive producer credit for “Best Shot,” an eight-episode documentary covering a high school basketball team. The team is being mentored by former NBA star Jay Williams. “Best Shot” follows the players struggles with life’s everyday challenges while simultaneously chasing their hoop dreams.

The documentary will be directed by Michael John Warren. Warren has impressive credentials and is best known for his documentaries on hip-hop stars Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj. No date has been released for “Best Shot” so look for it on Red sometime in 2018.

Dwayne Wade

Another NBA star showing up on streaming media is James’  teammate Dwayne Wade. Facebook is offering a reality based show with the NBA star.  The show, which premiered on November 20th,  gives fans a look inside the star’s daily life.  Entitled “BackCourt” cameras follow the three time NBA champion as he travels to Europe for fashion events, attempts to master golf all the while managing his business interests.

Wade will be joining other pro athletes with Facebook programs to include Lonzo Ball of the L.A.Lakers and his family,  and Raider’s running back Marshawn Lynch.  Episodes of “BackCourt” will air on Mondays.

Dave Chapelle

According to Variety comedian Dave Chappelle’s third Netflix special, “Dave Chappelle: Equanimity,” is set to debut on the streaming service on New Year’s Eve.  This is Chapelle’s first exclusive comedy special for Netflix. Last year Netflix announced that Chapelle would perform three specials for the channel.  The first two performances, released in March, were  shows performed at Austin City Limits entitled “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “The Age of Spin: Live at the Hollywood Palladium.” Both were previously un-released performances. 

In addition to Chappelle’s specials, Netflix is rumored to have dropped $40 million for the rights to two Chris Rock specials.

Kanye West

Rapper and all around attention getter Kanye West is taking his business empire into cyber space. According to reports West’s business people recently filed a trademark for a new service called “Yeezy Sound.” “Yeezy Sound” is intended to do everything from stream music to broadcast television.

“Yeezy Sound” trademark statement reveals the service will offer “streaming music, audio, images, video, and other multimedia over the Internet, mobile devices, wireless networks, and other computer networks and electronic communication networks.”

Essentially Kanye is getting into the merciless combat that is fought among the likes of  Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and YouTube. Other services from “Yeezy Sound” will include “providing online chat rooms, online electronic bulletin boards and community forums” allowing fans and other users to communicate.

Kanye is known for his ego and grand aspirations. “Yeezy Sound” is no different. It appears that the bruising he is sure to receive in the music streaming game is not enough. “Yeezy Sound” will also seek  “broadcasting of cable television, television and radio programs” as well as “video streaming services via the Internet, featuring independent films and movies.” So it seems he is also picking a fight with heavyweights Hulu and Netflix. Good luck brother!

Your Cable Box is About to Die

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Courtesy: BrandonSigma

Cable television has been under relentless pressure for quite some time now. More and more Americans are simply cutting the cord. Tired of the high cost of cable programming bundles and equipment rental many people are finding streaming to be a better option. This fact is especially true for black people, who according to Pew Research watch more television than any other group.

The Internet and streaming media services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have shown American television watchers there is a cheaper, easier and more convenient way to watch television. 

A new survey from ComScore revealed that among 18-34 year old viewers 24 percent don’t subscribe to a traditional pay TV service. This is a prime demographic for advertisers. Of that group nearly 46 percent of those viewers never had cable to begin with, while the rest simply cut the cord. And the number of Americans moving away from cable television has been steadily growing since 2009.

Now the F.C.C. has turned up the heat on cable companies further by deciding to kill the cable box as we know it.

On Wednesday the Federal Communications Commission announced a proposal that would allow cable and satellite subscribers to pick the devices they use to watch television. Currently nearly all cable customers must rent those set top boxes from their cable companies and pay, on average, $231 a year for these devices. Looks as if those days are coming to an end.

The move would save the consumer plenty of money because they would pay a one time price for the new device. The move would permit tech companies like GoogleTV, Amazon and AppleTV to expand their footprint in the television markets by introducing technology that blends television and Internet. As you can imagine the television industry has fought this move for some time.  The reactions to the announcement has been predictable. Technology companies love it. Cable television hates it.

With a focus on improving the overall television experience the  F.C.C. is looking to remove a prime source of consumer complaints; the set top box, cable company restrictions and expensive long term contracts.  Tech companies like Apple and Amazon make devices that connect to televisions and have new interfaces, but they provide streaming Internet video and do not replace the cable box. Many blue ray disc players and gaming consoles also provide streaming entertainment. The objective is to blend these devices into a more streamlined device that does it all…for less.

F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler said; “It’s time to unlock the set-top box market. Let’s let innovators create, and then let consumers choose.” Wheeler  wrote of the proposal on the technology news site Recode. According to the F.C.C. prices for other consumer technology such as smartphones has been on a steep downward spiral while estimates for set top box and other cable technology devices rose 185 percent over 20 years.

Opponents of the proposal believe that the industry was already providing more streaming options. The opponents said that F.C.C. intervention was not needed to spur innovation.

Cable companies have been slowly coming to the realization that streaming media is taking over and have been trying to adjust. Last November Time Warner Cable began a trial offering of cable television lineups through devices made by Roku. Charter Communications also offered its subscribers streaming TV through a Roku App. Cox Communications, an Atlanta-based cable company, allows customers to view programming through TiVo.

Television networks like HBO, Showtime and CBS recently introduced new offerings of à la carte offerings allowing customers to subscribe to an individual network without paying for the traditional full cable bundle.

Advocates believe that if the F.C.C. announcement is approved, consumers will see immediate savings.  Consumers could begin using just one device to access video content whether its video streaming online or cable television.

President and CEO of Consumer Reports, Marta Tellado,  said the changes were long overdue.

“With the ever-increasing price of cable and all of the advances in technology,” she said, “why should consumers have to keep renting a set-top box?”

 

 

Cable Television is Feeling The Heat

Slide1There is not a single black person who has not waited half a day for the cable technician to show up at our house; if they showed up. And who hasn’t put up with poor customer service and high cable bills for channels we don’t watch? You know the package where you get the two channels of you want and fifteen channels of crap! We have paid enough and put up with enough.

Video streaming is what’s happening now. The number of people dumping cable televison, or cutting the cord as some call it, is growing. Research conducted by TiVO subsidiary Digitalsmiths shows that 8.2 percent of former cable TV subscribers have cut the cord. That’s up a full percentage point from last year.  Another 45.2 percent reported having reduced their cable or satellite TV service during the same time frame. A practice known as cord shaving. These stats are putting huge pressure on the cable television industry.

Cord shaving consumers are chosing to go with smaller pay TV bundles. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are becoming the video entertainment of choice. Why? Convenience is the first thing that comes to mind. Anywhere, anytime is a very appealing option. Second is the cost, streaming video services are significantly cheaper than cable television. Third, the shows people know and love are there for the viewing. And finally, cable customer service sucks!

Cable companies are feeling the heat. Verizon FIOS is the first major cable provider to go for the ala carte menu. They now allow cable customers to pick and choose what channels they want to pay for. But in defense of the cable companies they were in a bad position. Many media companies demanded that if the cable company offers one network they had to offer all of them. The result was expensive cable bills for the consumer.

Cable companies are also offering you that DVR thing that costs you so much a month to use but never own. Welcome to the age of the Internet, video streaming, on demand, wherever we want it. NOW! Its becoming obvious that the cable television business model is slowly dying.

Many people are worried about their Internet service and live programming like sports. But that is no longer a concern either. Keeping basic cable and Internet has always been an option. And new streaming services like SlingTV from DISH Network will provide ESPN and ESPN 2 for just $20 a month. You can get other ESPN channels for just $5 more.  And lets not forget that live sports will eventually become a regular part of the streaming media package. Yahoo will stream a live NFL game on October 25th. Its a sign of things to come. Other interesting services that are coming into the marketplace include HBO’s new service HBO Now. This allows you to stream HBO programs and movies as a stand alone service.

But lets get back to the cost of cable television. It is not unheard of for cable bills to be as high as $200 a month. African-Americans need to look at their bill and really make some hard choices about their cable package.  Black families can get an idea of the money they may save by using the interactive calculator provided by MarketWatch.com.

According to the survey 15.3 percent of consumers are planning to either switch, change, or cut the cord completely to cable television service.

Streaming media services offer original programming that is recieving high acclaim. Orange Is The New Black is an extremely popular program that is only available on Netflix. One of the most popular shows in the history of telelvision, Seinfeld, is now available on Hulu Plus. Another one of televisions hottest shows, Empire, is also streaming on Hulu Plus.

Cutting your cable may be a no brainer for some people. For others its a decision that may take some thought. But the bottom line is cable television is being threatened by a new technology with better choices and convenience.  Cable televison operators are fighting to stay in the game but its not looking good. I can take my tablet, laptop or cell phone anywhere and watch whatever I want, when I want.

Fox’s ‘Empire’ to Stream on Hulu Plus

fox-empireFox’s new showEmpire is big! Really big!  In the history of television the show is unequaled.  In the 23 year since Nielsen began tracking TV ratings no other program has grown its audience show after show, week after week. Last week’s finale captured over 16.5 million viewers leaving CBS’s Survivor in the dust by 7 million viewers.

Streaming media company Hulu has grabbed exclusive streaming rights for all past and future episodes of this record setting program.  Currently the entire first season is available for Hulu Plus subscribers. Future episodes will stream on the service the day after it airs on Fox. Hulu Plus is the paid, commercial free version of the service.

facebook_share_thumb_default_huluplusThe streaming media business is an extremely competitive business. Hulu is not publicly traded so it is not required to release financial data.  Netflix, Hulu’s biggest competitor, ended 2014 on a high note with a 26 percent revenue increase and adding over  four million more subscribers. The company earned $5.5 billion last year.

Amazon Prime is the other big player in the streaming game.  Amazon is usually quiet about its subscriber base but recently announced it has over 20 million Amazon Prime members globally.  This subscriber base is bringing in an an estimated $1.7 billion annually according to Forbes.com.

Apple is also launching a streaming television service that would let users stream up to 25 channels to Apple mobile devices and the Apple TV set top box. According to the Wall Street Journal Apple is negotiating with broadcasters to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks as soon as this fall. ABC, CBS, and Fox are reported on board.

Hulu used its advantage to get Empire. The streaming service is owned by Twenty-First Century Fox,  the Walt Disney Co., and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. But even though Hulu would appear to have a fighting advantage over Netflix and Amazon Prime the war over streaming rights is hot and expensive. Netflix picked up The Blacklist for a reported $2 million per episode. It grabbed rights to Gotham before the show even premiered.

Hulu will not be outgunned in the streaming war. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins announced the company is extending its relationship with CBS. It has also signed an exclusive deal for ABC’s Nashville and improved it’s children’s selection with exclusive access to Fraggle Rock spin-off  The Doozers.

Some content will be available to all Hulu subscribers for free. This includes CBS’s Everybody Loves Raymond and Wings. 

Hulu offers 1,650 shows, 2,500 movies, original programs and broadcast favorites including:

  • Scandal
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • The Mindy Project
  • Glee
  • Blue Bloods
  • Elementary

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Netflix offers over 9,000 titles and original programs along with these popular television shows:

  •  Mad Men
  • Breaking Bad
  • The West Wing
  • Friend
  • 30 Rock

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Amazon Prime offers the following programs and original content:

  • Justified
  • 24 Live Another Day
  • Falling Skies
  • The Good Wife
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Americans

Breaking It Down

What you see happening is the death of three different forms of video entertainment. Cable, broadcast television and movie rentals are all dying! The streaming media business is offering everything the consumer needs and wants on demand, anywhere they want it, and on any device they want. For black people this means saving yourself a lot of money by getting rid of your cable or at least reducing it to basic service.

Let me explain. Broadcast television has slowly been dying since the invention of the VCR. If not for live sports they would be gone already. Why? Because broadcast television held to a rigid schedule. All programs were aired on a certain date and time. The VCR changed all that allowing you to record your program and watch it when you wanted to. Cable came along offering movies and more adult oriented programming. Television has been fighting, with some success, to compete. But it is a struggle.

Cable television had the same problem but they were airing programs a few times a day so if you missed a show you could catch it later. But some cable bills are as much as $300 a month. And there is the DVR. That costs too.  Yeah, if you could master the technology you could access your DVR away from home using a computer or laptop. But again, it is expensive. Have you seen the cost of the data plans lately?

And let’s not leave out Red Box movie rental. That big Red Box is slowly becoming a big red coffin. Same as BlockBuster and those other movie rental stores.

Streaming media like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime do it all. Now you can pretty much watch any movie or television show anywhere you want anytime you want. Even on your smartphone.  You are completely in control of your time and entertainment choices. Cable can’t do that. Television can’t do that. Red Box can’t do that. And they sure as hell can’t do it for less than $10.00 a month as these services do. Cut the cable and save your money.