In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Roku has 29.1 million active users, fuboTV to expand into ad-supported free streaming, Fox doesn't see 'meaningful' direct-to-consumer opportunity, Netflix is testing a shuffle feature, why Sling is the only live TV streaming service making money, young TV viewers turn to antennae, Android TV gets one-click subscriptions, Netflix acquires StoryBots to create 'the next generation of Sesame Street,' and more!
Engadget says that Roku is finding benefits to being a neutral player in the streaming media player wars. "The company's most recent financial figures show that it's possible to get ahead even when you're not backed by a big tech player like Amazon, Apple or Google. In the most recent quarter, Roku devices were used on an average of 3.5 hours a day, making it one of the most used devices in your home. The company has grown to 29.1 million active users, who in the last three months collectively streamed 8.9 billion hours of content." Engadget goes on to report that the company's gross profit of $100.9 million wasn't enough to cover operating expenses, saying that "the company wound up making a loss of $10.7 million, topping the $6.9 million it lost in the same period in 2018."
Reporting on news from The Wrap, TechCrunch said that "sports-focused streaming service fuboTV will soon follow the rest of the industry by offering its own free and ad-supported streaming channel, in addition to its paid subscription, sometime later this year." A fuboTV spokesperson told TechCrunch that "fuboTV believes in the future of pay TV and we are looking at launching an ad-supported channel not a platform" and would include live original programming on the channel.
According to MediaPostMediaPost, Fox Corporation will not be part of the "wave of big media companies launching direct-to-consumer streaming video offerings" over the next year. "At an investor day hosted by Fox Thursday morning, COO John Nallen said the company does not believe its assets would be profitable in a direct-to-consumer model. 'Apart from Fox Nation, we do not see a near-term meaningful market in a Fox-only DTC offering against which to deploy our capital,' Nallen said. 'We just don’t see a substantial or profitable a la carte market in the near-term for a Fox corporate bundle.'"
"Netflix is testing a new feature that can help you start streaming when you don’t know what to watch," says TechCrunch. "The company confirmed it’s testing a shuffle mode of sorts, which will allow you to easily click on a popular show to start playing a random episode. The idea with the feature is to offer an experience that’s more like traditional TV — where you could just turn the set on, and there would be something to watch."
The Streamable says that Warren Schlichting, President of Sling, claims that they're the only one making money on a bundled streaming TV service. So, asks The Streamable, "How is Sling TV able to make money if they are half the cost of other Live TV Streaming Services? While other services have competed to add more and more local affiliates, Sling TV has pushed subscribers to get them OTA. They even built a dedicated Android TV called AirTV that integrates OTA channels from your antenna in the Sling guide. That's because the price of broadcast channels keeps going up every year, reaching about $10-15 per subscriber." Also, Sling offers the most-expensive channels in the Extra packs, $5 to $10 add-ons, make it more ala carte than other services that include the higher-tier channels in base packages.
Fast Company reports on a survey by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) that found that "(l)ast year, 31% of U.S. households had an antenna hooked up to at least one television, up from 28% in 2015, but among 25- to 34-year-olds, antenna adoption was even higher than average, at 45%." Among the 65 to 74 age demographic, only 19% used an antenna, but "(i)ncome was not a factor in antenna ownership, the CTA says, suggesting that practically everyone is looking to escape cable’s inflating prices, regardless of financial status."
"Android TV will be making making it easier to sign up for video subscription services," Variety reports. "To do this, Google is giving publishers the option to combine steps like the sign-up for a service, the installation of the necessary app and the log-in with a user’s credentials, requiring users to press a lot fewer buttons — a kind of one-click subscription feature, if you will... This feature can be seen as a response to the growing popularity of channel stores like Amazon Channels... Amazon Channels has proven extremely popular with consumers, leading to companies like Roku and Apple copying the model."
CNBC reports that "Netflix has agreed to acquire StoryBots, the company behind the original Netflix children's series 'Ask the StoryBots...' Netflix's interest in StoryBots derived from its increasing push to expand educational content, said StoryBots CEO Gregg Spiridellis in an interview with CNBC. 'Netflix really wants to create an educational franchise that's global,' Spiridellis said. 'That's what they see StoryBots as. We want to make StoryBots the next generation of Sesame Street.'"RokuGuide.com may receive a referral fee for any purchases or subscriptions made through links on this page. See our full FTC Disclosure Statement for more information.