Fox’s new show ‘Empire‘ 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.
The 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:
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Mindy Project
- Blue Bloods
Netflix offers over 9,000 titles and original programs along with these popular television shows:
- Mad Men
- Breaking Bad
- The West Wing
- 30 Rock
Amazon Prime offers the following programs and original content:
- 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.