AT&T announces $43 billion deal to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by NashGuy, May 16, 2021.

  1. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member DBSTalk Club

    2,127
    647
    Nov 19, 2010
    I keep seeing people say this and it is just not true for all NBC shows being on Peacock the next day. One example is The Blacklist that doesn't make it to Peacock for a week. And last time I checked Dateline it was the same thing.
     
  2. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

    1,806
    235
    Nov 14, 2006

    But that's kinda my point. At some point "the big players" whoever that works out to be, will own most if not all of this and then pricing will be at their discretion. And if it costs $40 a month or more for "all that content" so be it. We either pay or we don't. Remember we were, not that long ago in this boat. The cable companies can charge whatever they wanted for content, because A) where were we going to go? B) because they can. Once these 3-4 mega companies buy up all the content, it's going to be the same thing. I'm not saying NBCU's Peacock is going to be the answer, and you could be right, they could merge their content with another mega media corporation, but eventually that's where we are headed. Either companies will realize that they can't do it on their own (kind of the idea behind Hulu) or they will get big enough to buy up the competition. I think there's going to come a point where Netflix is going to struggle to get new subs with all of this competition out there, ones with more cash or more longstanding industry standing (which would help them with finance). I expect Netflix to get bought up by a company that wants to make a big splash or their own isn't working (Comcast?) I think it'll take about 5 years or so for it to sort itself out and I expect the landscape to be quite different by then. Seriously, how many subs can people do without it getting too costly and confusing? I'd say that most people aren't going to do what folks here often do, float from one to another for a month or two at a time watch all the content and then move on to the next. Most people will subscribe to a few services and just watch those.
     
  3. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    23,160
    488
    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    The question remains as to whether or not cable companies should be able to hold content hostage. Comcast agreed not to do that as part of their merger with NBCU.
     
  4. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    OK, fine, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. But in general, Peacock Premium has next-day access both new and returning NBC series, much the same as Hulu. (The Blacklist appears to be a special case, maybe because of its deal with Netflix. Peacock only shows five recent episodes at a time, but always lagging a week, while Hulu doesn't have the show at all unless you have their live TV add-on.) And FWIW, last Friday's episode of Dateline shows up in Peacock Premium for me right now. Although I have no idea if it appeared next-day (i.e. last Sat.).
     
  5. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

    1,806
    235
    Nov 14, 2006
    This has nothing to do with what the cable companies are doing now, or what they might be like in the future. Lets say you are Mega Company 1. You have certain content. Now you want more content. So you merge with Mega Company 2 (or do like AT&T just did, spin off Time Warner, to merge with Discovery. Suddenly you have one company with two sets of content, and if they combine them, then it's one company controlling both.). Imagine if Amazon scoops up A&E, Comcast scoops up Lionsgate, TW/Discovery scoops up another. Or Amazon and Comcast realize it's in their best interest to pool resources and make one mega company for streaming their content (a la Hulu). Suddenly as a user we have much less choice. While there's an advantage to having only a couple of streaming services, instead of the dozen or more out there, price wise, we will lose (and we could revert back to a cable model where there's this giant company that controls everything.) I think the next 5 years will determine this. And before you say Anti-Trust, remember we have seen a lot of promises made by these companies in past mergers that they renege on as soon as it's worth it to them (i.e. the fines don't cost more than the benefits).

    In the end, as always it's the consumer who's going to suffer. I for one am not celebrating deals like TW/Discovery. Consolidation is normally not consumer friendly.
     
  6. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    At some point (if the government is doing its job), it won't allow any further media consolidation. But if 95% of streaming video ends up in the hands of six major competitors, I'm not sure that's a huge anti-trust problem. I mean, consumers would still have options and that would be enough competition to keep prices in check and spur product improvement. (Now that said, I do expect all these service to increase their prices somewhat over time. But if you've got five other big competitors, you can't just double your price without losing a lot of business to the competition.) Now, if things got *really* concentrated -- say if you only had three major media competitors (as is now the case in US wireless service) -- I'd find that significantly more worrisome.

    Well, that was a different situation. In the early era of cable TV, distribution of the service was handled exclusively by companies that built and owned their own wired distribution networks (i.e. coaxial cable) but didn't own the actual channels they offered (which were pretty much the same regardless of the cableco). And rarely did a competitor spend the money to wire up an area where another cableco had already done it. So cable TV was originally pretty much a bunch of small companies with local monopolies (which is why they typically had to be granted permission to serve an area by a local government authority, which would monitor the cableco's rates and practices).

    But then satellite TV came along and suddenly there was *some amount* of competition for cable TV service. And these days, any form of video entertainment, whether "cable TV" or direct-to-consumer on-demand (e.g. Netflix, HBO Max), can ride "over-the-top" of any internet connection, regardless of who owns the network infrastructure (AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Verizon, SpaceX, a rural fiber co-op, etc.).

    So while, yes, we should be wary of TOO much concentration of power in any given industry (in this case, media), I don't see what's happening now as being analogous to the history of cable TV distribution. I mean, yes, if you just *have to have* Marvel Comics-based shows, then yes, your only choice may eventually be Disney+ for that. But that's not really a monopoly. HBO Max will gladly present you with a bunch of DC Comics content as an alternative.

    I dunno, is anyone big enough to buy Netflix now? They're a $215 billion company. Disney is bigger ($306 bn) but the government would never allow them to merge. I'm very skeptical that Comcast ($249 bn) would be allowed to do so, given their power in both media (their NBCU unit) as well as the fact that they're the nation's largest broadband provider. Netflix appears completely uninterested in merging with or acquiring another smaller media company like ViacomCBS. Hastings has built his own empire apart from old Hollywood and I think he wants to remain an independent operator. But I would agree with you that Netflix's gonzo growth days are over. They're facing some real competition now.

    The only companies I can see who may be big enough to buy Netflix are the big tech titans: Apple ($2.1 trillion), Amazon ($1.6 tn), Google ($1.5 tn), and Microsoft ($1.3 tn). Because of their already substantial media operations, I think Amazon and probably Google would be barred from the deal. So that leaves Apple and Microsoft. Apple has always been the one talked up as a potential Netflix buyer but so far they seem more interested in organically building their own smaller thing with Apple TV+. As for Microsoft, I dunno, seems like an odd tie-up but I guess anything's possible.

    Yep, I agree with you. As for how many streaming services folks will have (i.e. how much they're willing to pay), keep in mind that at cable TV's peak in the US (early part of last decade), about 90% of US households had it, paying an average of about $100 per month on TV. (See here and here and here.) I don't really know if the average amount spent on TV will change, we'll probably just see a smoother distribution of household spending, with some having only 1 SVOD, others having 3, others having 6, and then a declining number of households also having some kind of cable TV package. Households with more income/more people/differing tastes will tend to keep more services. But yeah, over time, most will figure out which services they like and tend to stick with them. For instance, I'm an HBO Max guy but really have no use for Disney+.

    As for it being too confusing to keep multiple subscriptions, that problem can be solved by the services participating in streaming devices' aggregated content UIs (e.g. the new Google TV system), which allow them to search across services, see recommendations across services, and maintain a universal watchlist to help them keep track of what they want to watch without having to remember which app plays a particular show or movie.
     
  7. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

    3,748
    624
    Dec 28, 2007
    That's my biggest complaint with streaming. I don't want to manage / deal with a dozen providers.

    Is that Google TV thing 100% hiding the separate apps from you? From the little I can find on it, it just aggregates search / watchlists, no? You still have to go into the separate apps to watch and do stuff, correct?

    That's a step closer... but not good enough if you still have to deal with separate apps. If Google can completely hide that concept from the viewer, that would be a game changer. But I can't imagine Disney, HBO, etc. being like "Yeah, sure Google, you can strip off all our branding and put our content in your generic Google app". Not gonna happen.

    Sounds more like a Roku competitor.
     
    ThaPhenom likes this.
  8. B. Shoe

    B. Shoe Mentor

    382
    142
    Apr 3, 2008
    Illinois
    There's a lot to be said with this. We've always been paying for much more content than we'd ever actually watch, be it streaming services, cable, satellite, etc. (Unless, you're just really, really into watching TV. By all means, do your thing.) Think about it; how many linear channels do you actually watch on a regular basis? Mileage varies here, of course, but my list was 18. And some of those were fringe, at best, to describe as "regular". Would our household keep Netflix and Hulu if it wasn't for the significant other and 13-year-old? Likely not. But our budget allows it, so we keep it for the present. But this balloon of available content just seems to keep growing. Somewhere along the line, there has to be a breaking point between the amount being produced vs. what's being consumed/purchased. But that's for the general public as a whole to determine.

    Yes to all of this. The concept that "having multiple subscriptions/services" is a deterrent of streaming keeps losing weight to me. Every day, people hold a miniature computer in their hands with dozens of apps that they bounce back and forth between, on the regular. They keep up with different social media accounts, and potentially upon their employment, operate multiple computer systems/programs. But trying to get back and forth between HBO Max and Netflix is too much? That dog doesn't hunt. If it's a preference, fine. People are preferential by nature. But don't say it's systematically a deterrent.
     
  9. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

    1,806
    235
    Nov 14, 2006
    Just wanted to comment on Netflix. Right now, they are the king, but I really see them having issues down the road. For one, they have spend a lot of money (and from what i understand have taken on debt) for producing and bringing in content. At what point, with all the competition out there now, does that become untenable? And the competition has deep pockets. As you said, Amazon and Apple are among them and I think Google wants to be. At what point do they get leveraged? I see it happening in the next 3-5 years. If not a full on buyout, maybe they merge with someone like NBCU, or Viacom. I don't know. I don't see Apple taking that on, as it seems a bit away from their culture (though they did take on the recording industry pretty successfully). I think they probably want to make a go of Apple TV+ first.
     
  10. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

    1,806
    235
    Nov 14, 2006
    I think the idea they need to go after is that the apps are just channels. They might be getting closer to that, but there still needs to be a way you can subscribe to a bunch of them for one set fee. That I think is a long way off. Something like $80 gets you HBO Max, ATV+, Hulu, etc.
     
  11. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Google TV is absolutely a competitor to Roku and you're right that these powerful apps will never allow their content to be completely divorced from their own apps/UIs. That's why Netflix so far won't fully participate in either Google TV or the Apple TV app (which has a similar approach and, so far anyway, still works better than Google TV). But all the other major on-demand apps do participate.

    While Roku basically just presents a grid of apps, Google TV presents a row of apps plus lots of other rows of recommended content from within those apps. You're not going to see *all* the content from the underlying apps in the Google TV home screen. That would be a crazy amount of content to scroll through and not very useful to the user. So if you want to deep-dive browse what a given service offers, you'll still need to open their app and browse there. But if you want to search for a specific title, Google TV will allow you to search across many services. (Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV all do this too.) You can click on a title in the Google TV search results, the same way that you can click on a recommended title on the Google TV home screen, and you'll see Google TV's info page for that specific movie or series, showing you the different "ways to watch," i.e. apps it's available in. From there, you can click to play it in whichever app you want and the title will begin playing inside that app. You don't have to look for it again in the app, it takes you right to it and starts the playback.

    You can also save titles that Google TV surfaces (via its recommendations or its search results) to a universal watchlist. So you don't need to maintain separate watchlists inside each app if you don't want to. (Except Netflix, which won't allow their original content to be included in the Google TV system.) Click on a title in the watchlist and it's info page opens and from there, you click to play it. (The underlying app should keep track of which episode you're ready for next.) For some reason, though, they don't put the watchlist near the top of the main For You tab, so you have to navigate around to get to it. A nice touch is that you can also add titles to your watchlist from within Google search results in a browser if you're signed into the same Google account as you're using on Google TV. You can even see your Google TV watchlist by searching for "my watchlist" in Google.

    Google lets you tell it which apps you subscribe to, so its recommendations are mostly (but not completely) pulled from those services. It also lets you rate recommendations with a thumbs up/down and it does seem to learn your tastes pretty well so that it becomes better at surfacing stuff you'd want to watch.

    For myself, and I'd think most people, an aggregated content UI like Google TV or the Apple TV app is a useful tool but it doesn't completely replace browsing within individual apps. IMO, both have their place.
     
    Steveknj likes this.
  12. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    23,160
    488
    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    I still think that carriers shouldn't be allowed to own content. Similarly, I don't think content companies should be allowed to own TV stations.

    Both create a certain leverage with their customers that I don't think should exist.
     
  13. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Industry analysts seem to think that bundling of services will be part of the next phase in the evolution of cable-to-streaming. So your broadband provider, or wireless provider, or the company running the app store on your device, may offer certain combinations of subscriptions for a reduced price. We're already seeing broadband and wireless providers offering one or more service free with their service, at least for a limited time. Like Peacock Premium free with Comcast service, Netflix free with T-Mobile, a year of the Disney bundle free with Verizon, etc.
     
    Steveknj likes this.
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    I agree about carriers owning content. And while the DOJ allowed it, it seems like the market has spoken pretty clearly that "vertical integration" isn't a good idea. Both AT&T and Verizon are now spinning off the media businesses they acquired. That does leave Comcast, though, with NBCU. That's actually worked OK for them but most equity analysts believe more value would be created by separating the two businesses and I expect eventually that will happen. If Comcast wants to see NBCU merge with or acquire another media company to achieve greater scale, they'd be more likely to gain DOJ approval if the deal involved spinning NBCU off, as AT&T just did for the Warner/Discovery deal.
     
  15. wmb

    wmb Godfather

    737
    92
    Dec 17, 2008
    I think part of the problem is defining who a carrier is of streaming. The (v)MVPD model, the carrier was who the end user interacted with. They were a middle man who aggregated content in the form of linear channels and got a cut.

    In the streaming realm, the content owner can provide direct, on-demand access to their content library to an end user. No carrier needed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. b4pjoe

    b4pjoe New Member DBSTalk Club

    2,127
    647
    Nov 19, 2010
    I don't think the Blacklist thing is because of Netflix who don't have any episodes of the current season. I think it is an NBC thing because you can watch it next day on the regular NBC app with commercials you can't FF through.
     
  17. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    23,160
    488
    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    The reasoning is that content carriage should not be made more difficult (i.e. cost more or have unreasonable conditions imposed) just because you're a competitor in other industries (i.e. the broadband space).

    If broadband companies weren't allowed to own content, I suspect that there would be a lot less fuss all the way around.
     
  18. Steveknj

    Steveknj Icon

    1,806
    235
    Nov 14, 2006
    I've been saying this for years. It's a conflict of interest. Sadly, I think that horse has left the barn. I can't see a way they can force that separation any more. But really it's been like that since the beginning of TV. RCA owned NBC so they owned a network AND a Device to deliver the network (RCA TVs were popular in the early days of TV). Philco owned but a TV manufacturing company AND a network. The potential for abuse is much worse now though (no way back in "the day" they could manufacture a TV that ONLY showed one network.)
     
  19. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Gold Club DBSTalk Club

    52,616
    2,795
    Apr 17, 2003
    Michiana
    The "problem" seems to be more of a threat that is perceived by people with a chicken little attitude than a reality.

    AT&T could make it more difficult for their subscribers to access Peacock's servers to try to hurt Comcast ... but they are getting out of the content business so they will no longer be competing content company to content company. Except for zero rating data (charging data for using Peacock but not their service) it is in AT&T's best interest not to play silly games blocking or throttling other company's content.

    Comcast has made it easier to get Peacock via Xfinity (discounted service and one free streaming box for each broadband subscriber) but they have not locked Peacock streaming content to "Xfinity only" or imposed any unreasonable conditions.

    "Unreasonable conditions" seem to be more of a fear than reality.
     
  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    1,811
    445
    Jan 30, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    That makes the situation even weirder. Networks almost always have "stacking rights" to stream at least the most recent five eps of their shows wherever they want. Which is how virtually all ABC, Fox and NBC shows have at least their most five recent eps available next-day on Hulu, as well as on their own network apps. Who knows whether this is a situation where there's some weird wrinkle in the contract between NBCU and Sony (the show's distributor) or if it's just NBCU trying to protect NBC viewership at Peacock's expense. The show ranked 50th in the ratings last season, behind several other NBC series. So it's not like it's their prize property. Who knows...
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements