In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: What's new on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in July, streaming stocks are on a tear, live streaming services raise prices, Sling TV suspends Broadcast Extra in Univision dispute, Facebook to live-stream boxing matches, Netflix is removing online reviews, and more!
Variety covers what's coming to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime in July 2018. "A healthy mix of classics and new originals are on their way to Netflix in the coming month, including films such as the original 'Jurassic Park' saga and 'The Princess Diaries...' Among the original series returning to the streaming giant are 'Orange Is the New Black' and Jerry Seinfeld's 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Amazon and Hulu will acquire overlapping titles including the sequel to the hit documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' and 'Sahara.' Exclusive inbound content to Amazon includes the 'Twilight' and 'Jaws' franchises, as well as the final season of 'The Americans.' Hulu will get several series from HGTV and Food Network, as well as movies such as 'Midnight in Paris' and 'The Glass Castle.'" See the full list of incoming titles here.
Netflix is testing a higher priced 'Ultra' plan in Europe. The Hollywood Reporter says that the high-end plan is a test" to see whether customers are willing to pay more for higher-quality high definition (HD) and high dynamic range (HDR) streams. The Ultra plans, which are reportedly being tested with Netflix customers in Germany and Italy, offer new premium plans ranging in price from €13.99 to €16.99 ($16.29 to $19.78) a month, depending on the territory and the browser being used."
"Streaming stocks are on a tear," says CNBC, "and it's not just Netflix." Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management and Matt Maley of Miller Tabak discuss Roku, Spotify and Pandora with Seema Mody in this CNBC video.
Bloomberg says that "Online TV Prices Are Acting Like Cable TV Prices: Heading Higher." As Digital Trends reports, "First, Sling TV raised the price of its base package last week by $5. Just a day later, DirecTV Now jacked up its price by $5, and on Tuesday, PlayStation Vue did the same, raising all of its packages by $5... Meanwhile, YouTube TV raised its price by $5 in March (ahead of the trend) while the only holdout, Hulu, already priced its base package at the new normal: $40 per month.
AdWeek explains why experts say it's no surprise live TV streaming platforms are raising prices."'I'm not surprised prices are being raised, and nobody in this industry should be,' said Dan Rayburn, a streaming media expert. The content licensing fees are too high to offer consumers packages at a price that makes the platforms money, Rayburn said. Instead, the larger parent companies are able to absorb the loss."
Sling TV has suspended its Broadcast Extra service, which which includes ABC, Univision, and UniMás, according to a Sling FAQ. Sling says that "Univision has blocked your channels in an effort to raise rates despite lower ratings. We're fighting for you to get the best quality content at the best value."
"AirTV is a handy cord-cutting device that few will ever use," says FierceCable's Daniel Frankel. He calls AirTV "a very useful tool for cord cutters to receive over-the-air channels on practically any device throughout their home. But the technological concept is going to be hard to sell to consumers, particularly with a confounding Dish branding strategy that favors sticking the same name on multiple products."
"Netflix Uses Data to Drive Creativity, and It Terrifies Hollywood," says StreamingMedia. "Netflix has a lot of data about what we like to watch... It turned to that data when it began commissioning original movies and series. It was able to make smart decisions about what genres, directors, and actors we wanted to see, and how to fund each project based on expected viewership. That approach has led to some critics... accusing Netflix of programming by algorithm, of replacing intuition, experience, and Hollywood know-how with a computer routine. To critics, the Netflix formula produces hollow results and ignores the value of the creative process."
Perhaps their heavy use of data is why Netflix is removing online reviews in August . Cnet reports that the shutdown of the desktop-only feature "is coming in stages. People will no longer be able to write their feedback on a show, similar to a Yelp review of a restaurant, by July 30. And in mid-August, people will no longer be able to read existing user reviews on Netflix either." The thumbs up or thumbs down system currently in use will remain.
Facebook to Live-Stream Boxing Matches From Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy, Variety reports. "The live boxing will be available to fans in the U.S. on Facebook Watch and globally via the Golden Boy Promotions page on Facebook... [T]he first of Golden Boy’s five live fight nights on Facebook will be Aug. 11, featuring Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph 'JoJo' Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The second live bout be on Aug. 18 with light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) squaring off against a yet-to-be announced opponent at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa." The bouts will be streamed ad-free.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.