In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Walmart SVOD service to compete with Netflix, Roku to sell wireless speakers, Pluto TV to add 200+ Sony movie and classic TV titles, Craftsy relaunches as Bluprint, and more!
Walmart eyes subscription service to rival Netflix, Variety reports. "Walmart is in fact looking at entering the subscription-video space to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, sources confirmed — and the retailing giant is planning to launch the service through its Vudu digital-entertainment division." The sources told Variety that the subscription VOD service would launch in the 4th quarter of 2018 "with a price target of $8 per month."
Roku, Inc. announced the "Roku TV™ Wireless Speakers, the first ever speakers made exclusively for Roku TV... Because Roku controls the software in both the speakers and TV, Roku is uniquely able to provide seamless wireless setup and connectivity, optimize sound for the picture and ensure audio video sync." The speakers can be pre-ordered through Roku.com until July 23, for an introductory price of $149.99.
Despite the upcoming launch of Roku TV Wireless TV Speakers, The Verge reports that Roku's CEO said "Roku is in the ad business, not the hardware business. "CEO Anthony Wood was frank and open about his company's evolving business strategy in an interview on this week's Vergecast. 'We don't really make money... we certainly don't make enough money to support our engineering organization and our operations and the cost of money to run the Roku service,' he said. 'That's not paid for by the hardware. That's paid for by our ad and content business.'"
Pluto TV & Sony strike a deal to stream 200+ movie and classic TV titles according to Deadline.com. "Sony Pictures Television and free streaming TV service Pluto TV have signed a content distribution deal that will bring Bewitched, The Blob, Starship Troopers and more than 200 other “evergreen” movie and TV titles to Pluto's library. The movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment and classic TV from Sony Pictures Television will be programmed across Pluto's thematically organized and programmed original channels."
The Wrap reports on how much the DC Universe streaming service will cost. "Warner Bros is planning to unleash the subscription service, which will include access to a number of DC Comics movies and TV shows as well as a significant rotating selection of digital comic books, for $74.99 a year beginning this fall. Warner Bros will also allow users to subscribe monthly for $7.99 once the service is fully launched."
How-to subscription video service Craftsy has relaunched as Bluprint, reports Variety. "NBCU acquired a majority stake in Craftsy in May 2017. Now the Craftsy Unlimited service is becoming Bluprint, with an expanded content lineup of 3,000-plus hours of instructional videos, priced starting at $15 per month... Bluprint — in addition to how-to videos in areas including music, writing, dance, yoga, fitness, home décor, entertaining, and kids and family — will produce original entertainment series."
Netflix has redesigned its TV interface with new navigation and full-screen trailers. TechCrunch explains that "[t]he updated design is aimed at improving navigation by way of a remote control, making it quicker to get to the content you want to watch. The change involves relocating some of Netflix's key features like the “Search” button and users' “My List” over to a ribbon menu on the left side the screen which pops out when you navigate over. Here, it has also added new shortcuts to “Movies” and “TV” to filter its catalog by films and shows, as well as a button to see what's “New.”"
"Over 5 million U.S. consumers will cut the cord in 2018" according to a survey reported by MarketWatch. "Cg42 estimates a total of 5.4 million U.S. consumers will cut the cord in 2018, resulting in a $5.5 billion loss in revenue. This compares to 4.8 million in 2017 and 3.8 million in 2016. 'As the process of finding alternative paths to content gets easier and easier, people are acting on the frustrations they have with traditional providers and leaving,' the study's lead author and cg42 managing partner Stephen Beck told MarketWatch."