Streaming Wars For Live Sports, Entertainment, and Gambling

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2024-03-04/hbo-s-path-to-streaming-profit-sell-to-netflix-slash-marketing-and-crack-down-on-sharing

Don’t know why the link isn’t showing up.

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Latency Lingers and is the Open Secret and Unspoken Trouble with Streaming Apps, Especially for Live Content

So I wrote about this topic of latency in this thread for the first time in November 2022, and not only is it a reality of streaming services, but it’s also WORSE than ever.

Since then we’ve heard about the experiences of those watching live sports, and I will add the following example as experienced in the last week.

When you go to Paramount+ to watch live sports such as Champions League for example, it is literally about three minutes before you get to the live event from the time you start the app on the menu and scroll down, with some sort of lag between every step. The menu is also set up with far too many clicks to get to your event.

Now how does that feel and compare to just pushing one or two buttons and less than a second later, there is your game?

No it’s not my internet or my TV, for with YouTube the scrolling is shorter as is the lag. It’s the app, and a key point is to be made here in that Paramount+ is a PAID app as are other apps taking on heavy financial losses.

Now for watching a film or pre-recorded series or any given pre-recorded content, this is not a big deal, much as we do with YouTube or Netflix.

But for LIVE sports, this IS a huge deal and exactly why I do not see the streaming model working for live sports, with the exception of Amazon Prime in the US as seems to have addressed these issues via outstanding NFL coverage.

Or take for example CFL+ for the 2023 season, and even pulling up a CFL game from a service offered for FREE directly by the CFL and Genius Sports took a fraction of the time as does an app that is an intermediary with a bloated menu of overwhelmingly content you do not watch!

As we have seen, now it’s either free TV or regular TV at the very least, for if your sport is relegated to streaming, that’s the death knell for any mass appeal.

The NFL was at the forefront for the 2022 season making sure more games would be on free TV, and that sure was not because streaming options are a great alternative.

Now as there is a new venture in the US set to amplify and consolidate the amount of live sports available on streaming, we shall see after both litigation and government scrutiny are overcome, but I am NOT holding my breath for autumn 2025 here.

In the meantime the media firms have PLENTY of time to iron out the performance of the app, stop trying to blame the internet too because other apps work better, with no excuses for 2025.

Or they can continue to make excuses of course, but customers do not and will not pay for excuses.

As Wall Street has had a word with all as noted earlier this year such that the experimentation phase is OVER for the streaming industry, the streaming apps still losing hundreds of millions per quarter do not have that much time to figure it out here in 2024 and not 2025 for these grandiose plans.

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Here’s a point I heard recently. Pull up the 5-year stock price chart for a company like Roku, and notice the higher price mountain from about September 2020 to December 2021.

The chart for many a business, including streaming services and firms like Zoom, is similar from about the summer of 2020 through about early 2023.

The next phase in the streaming world is what the major firms do or not, including the notion of “rebundling,” for I have just experienced Google TV screwing with the interface for its service that is on many TVs not for the better.

Personally I do not trust, and I do not have to trust, any company with a cable TV legacy like Comcast to offer a better service AND to not screw it up even after a successful launch.

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Cross-linked from the update in the MLB thread …

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The CFL and Genius Sports are going to work out CFL+ for the upcoming season.

There was so much to improve as viewers outside of Canada know well.

Of course hopefully this year far more fans have fixed their damn TVs, which they had plenty of time to do beyond the matter of the CFL for live sports last season before wandering over here just to complain about the free service because they did not do anything for themselves.

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The Staid Common Cable, Now YouTube, Documentary or Series Prelude or Promotion

Certain things are much the same in too many places even now despite all the access to different media and resources. I have some fun in noticing such patterns.

This was par for the course for most any CNN documentary in the US a few years ago, also by Anthony Bourdain, for example.


Whether formerly a cable TV series or documentaries as the dominant game in town, which are still around and remarkably unchanged to any great degree despite all the cord cutting, or the average YouTube video produced during the pandemic, this guy nails it not only for such productions of the UK but in much of the English-speaking world.

It would not be so hard to copy any one of these. Try it yourself and if it helps you, use the David Attenborough voice.

Here was my first-go this morning:

“We began with merely our childlike curiosity, only to discover that we had embarked on the journey of a lifetime, so as to share with you now our experience in dramatic fashion, sponsored by our favourite brands of fine products, you see.”

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So true - If you are bored take a look at a the ones done by Micheal Palin of Monte Python. I think his were the gold standard for this type of program from the early 1990’s.

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I’m happy Netflix is free for me, though now they do show ads but nowhere near as bad as YouTube 2024, for though I have seen quite a few good shows on Netflix, I would not pay for it.

Finding what you like is quite simply slim odds on Netflix in my view.

I do notice that EVEN on a biographical or documentary-type piece, not merely a fictional series, this same basic script formula is followed by Netflix.

This reality reeks of either corporate automation of the script and the plot and/or a bubble within inserting with some agendas or messaging into the scripts, much as on the countless awful series that were previously out on cable television.

Reality is that most people themselves watch a work of fiction or a documentary or a biography for entirely different reasons and expectations.

We’ll see if it’s more of the same as I head into another Episode 3 on a biographical series.

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So only four months since the scandal broke to expose several fake AI-generated authors and the associated content, the company that had owned the publishing rights to Sports Illustrated defaulted on a payment plan to the company with ownership of the brand, and now there is a new owner of the publishing rights.

More interesting though is at the bottom of the article, where there is an interactive table that lists all the major media and technology layoffs of 2024, and especially since September 2023, so far.

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https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/george-lucas-backs-disney-ceo-iger-proxy-battle-with-nelson-peltz-cnbc-reports-2024-03-19/

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Once peak streaming hit about one year ago in March 2023, I think we are well past the point of diminishing marginal returns from subscription fees for streaming media firms as the amount of ads is at a record now.

There are so many decent options for free now, between YouTube, Pluto TV, free channels on your TV, free promotional Netflix or Hulu and others, including some that were cable channels through at least 2021, that I see no value in paying for a streaming subscription except for good access to live sports.

I also think more live sports will continue to move onto regular free channels, some over-the-air some via streaming, for FREE as they simply sell more ads and make high margins for their cut via associated gambling sponsorships.

The huge caveat for all streaming, which remains present whether services are free or paid for with zero correlation, is the latency when viewing, including even simply when changing a channel sometimes.

Latency in TV viewing is unacceptable overall and definitely NOT something most will pay any amount of money to have, such as the baffling “cable TV on streaming” services of YouTube TV and Hulu live TV.

Akin to the woeful NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV, I have no clue why somebody would pay to have the channels that were on their cable TV with those services with inferior performance, including latency.

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@Paolo_X - On what you said about sports migrating over to the over the air broadcast channels. I think that you are correct on this one - I know we have agreed on this one before and we pat each other on the back for our genius at reading the tea leaves. That said I think that the public expects free sports and will tolerate advertisements in that medium that they won’t on the streaming medium. I would expect there to be more lower tier sports properties migrating to the CW and other networks over the next few years.

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I had one on Bruno Mars owing money to the Casinos but it wouldn’t imbed correctly so we get this instead.

The only gambling that I really enjoy is horse racing and that is because it is 30+ minutes between bets and I plan to lose about $100 dollars when I would go. Which is about what I would spend if I went fishing or some other activity. And I would only do it with my freinds - we would make a day out of it - a couple of times a month when I was single.

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The conventional wisdom of the peak TV era held not only that content was king but that content was everything. Pour money into original series, churn out as many high-quality (read: high-budget) titles as possible, and subscribers would surely follow.

That strategy, of course, has long since been exposed as a fallacy, with the streaming wars now effectively concluded in defeat for all but Netflix. But new insight into viewership data from the year of TV’s highest peak is a staggering illustration of just how poorly these content investments paid off.

It also did not help the streaming services when the content popped up on free TV later anyway, which was the case with some shows on Paramount+.

Data obtained by Variety VIP+ from Luminate’s new streaming viewership product shows that in 2022 — a year when SVOD platforms released an all-time high of nearly 1,000 original series — the overwhelming majority of viewing time was claimed by just a handful of those series. Indeed, on all of the major U.S.-based SVOD services except Netflix, the top 20 most-watched TV seasons in 2022 accounted for more than 80% of original series viewing hours.

In a nutshell, except for Netflix, the recent line in marketing for any given “original series” that it is “ONLY on …” appeals to anywhere from merely a wedge to a sliver of all subscribers, as depicted in the pie charts in the article.

I personally think the media industry heavily misjudged people’s patience for latency amongst other deficiencies of streaming as compared to regular TV.

When the only benefit is the price for streaming services as compared to antiquated cable television, that’s quite simply not enough when so much is FREE.

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The only thing I pay is $5 per month for Paramount+, prepaid annually, with Netflix and more than I can watch all for free, including as included with my T-Mobile services.

Then there is this noteworthy observation:

Price hikes in the category may be near their breaking point, the survey indicates: Just over one-third (36%) of those surveyed said the content available on streaming video services is not worth the price. And nearly half (48%) of respondents say they would cancel their favorite subscription VOD service if monthly prices went up by $5 per month.

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It is extremely telling that all the prospective investor wants are the classic content and content-generation core businesses, only a portion of the company, leaving out the rest that are viewed more as liabilities than an assets. This is a smart approach by a prospective acquirer.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that Apollo Global offered $11 billion for Paramount Global’s film and TV studio business. That would apparently not include CBS, Paramount Global’s cable networks like BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, or the streaming business unit that includes Paramount+ and Pluto TV.

Apollo’s reported offer for Paramount’s studio operations is greater than the market capitalization of Paramount Global in its entirety ($7.3 billion as of March 19). The proposed transaction may include some assumption of Paramount Global’s long-term debt (which stood at $14.6 billion at the end of 2023).

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I know a gal that is a nurse and does home health - she said it is like the twilight zone for her and her coworkers - she said that almost every home she goes into these days they are all watching “Gunsmoke” - granted this is an older demographic she is dealing with, but there are 635 episodes of gunsmoke over 20 seasons. I am trying to use this as an example of old material being viewed for free. Same with Pluto TV they don’t have any original content on there - all kinds of old movies and old TV shows.

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That is interesting that they only want the film and studio businesses. I listened to a podcast a few years back and a gal said that there would be consolidation and that some people with studios that wanted to control their own streaming destinies would fail epically and would end up getting back into the business of making content. Here we are.

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US Department of Justice, 12 States, District of Columbia Sue Apple for Violation of Antitrust Laws

In the file for “Not Soon Enough,” the US government, some states, and DC have sued Apple for effectively its unscrupulous efforts to monopolize the market for smartphones.

These efforts merely follow prior litigation against Apple, Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech in Europe, including this Euro 1.8B fine levied by the EU against Apple on 4 March 2024:

“Ouch! That’s gotta hurt!”

There are still those of us who prefer Android of course.

Most importantly, this move by the US Government would indicate broadly a lower tolerance for any given consolidation and merger activity in media and technology without major concessions so as to support more competitive markets.

The recently proposed merger of streaming services by Fox, Disney, and WBD as especially concerns access to live sports do come to mind, as well as the NFL’s resources beyond its legal team to weaken or thwart such an initiative by two of these media firms who are media partners, comes to mind now.

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