In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Everything to know about Tubi TV, why it’s fair to compare Roku with Netflix, Hulu's updated live guide, video streaming will be 5G's killer app, YouTube begins offering free ad-supported originals with ‘Cobra Kai,’ Plex’s quest to become a one-stop shop for streaming media, Disney leading the charge to return to weekly episode releases, Disney Plus Will Only Show PG-13 Content, and more!
"There's no shortage of on-demand streaming services out there, but few are like Tubi" according to Yahoo Finance. "Tubi deals exclusively in on-demand content. Think of it as a sort of commercialized version of Netflix, without the subscription fees." The service is available on MacOS and Windows browsers and dedicated apps on Android and iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There are some limitations: "if you want to watch a show for free, you’re going to need to sacrifice a few moments to watch an ad, both before and during the show" and "[b]ecause Tubi relies on advertising to keep the content rolling in, it can only afford to license older material." However, Yahoo concludes that "Tubi is free and for that reason alone, it's worth sifting through the catalog in search of a gem at least once. After all, if you find at least one thing you like, it was time well spent."
"An eye-popping claim - like Roku is growing faster than Netflix did at the same point in its evolution - is bound to be met with some skepticism," says FierceVideo. But, "William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart reached this conclusion in a research note examining both companies’ international expansion efforts... Schackart predicts Roku by 2025 will see its market cap expand to between $40 billion and $50 billion, its active accounts grow to 82 million and its platform revenue to growth to $4.5 billion. Then he compared Roku's most recent nine quarters with Netflix's quarters in the beginning stages of phase 2 of Netflix's international expansion and found that Roku is growing 9% quarter over quarter compared to Netflix’s average 8%."
"Finding something to watch on Live TV is now easier and faster than ever," Hulu said in an announcement that "one of our most requested features, a new and improved Live TV Guide, is rolling out on Roku® devices and tvOS. The guide is also available on Hulu.com." Viewers with Hulu + Live TV can use the updated live guide and new live collections to:
- Access a full two-week grid guide that lets viewers see what’s ahead, record upcoming shows, movies, and games in advance, and channel surf to their heart’s content.
- Add channels to “My Channels” that allows for access to their favorite channels and programs directly from Home and the Live Guide
- Easily find recommended TV shows and movies that are airing on live TV right now from Home.
- Browse live content collections to quickly jump to sports, news, movies, and kids content that’s live right now and coming up in the future.
"As the 5G era breaks, research and analytics company IHS Markit predicts video streaming will be its killer app," reports StreamingMedia. "The effects will be felt in so-far underserved areas, such as 4K ultra-high definition (UHD) streaming. Mobile devices rarely stream UHD thanks to bandwidth constraints, but that will change. More content platforms will supply 4K video, and more mobile viewers will have the throughput to watch it. News 15G will also be a boon to live sports and event streaming, IHS predicts. When having low latency is critical, 5G's gains will become most apparent."
"YouTube is following through on its promise to take down its paywall for some of its original content," reports Variety, "starting with its hit show 'Cobra Kai'" which is based o n the movie "Karate Kid." All episodes of Season 1 are now free to watch, and Season 2 will be available starting September 11. "Going forward, YouTube will release originals for free as well, but keep director's cuts and bonus content behind the paywall."
"Media center app maker Plex is gearing up to add free movies and TV shows to its app," says Variety, "starting with content from Warner Bros. Plex announced a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution Thursday, which will allow it to add a still-unspecified amount of the studio's movie catalog to its app when it launches ad-supported video streaming later this year."
The Verge explains how "Netflix started Beyoncéing its TV shows (releasing entire seasons at once, often with little or no warning)," starting, or responding to, viewers urges to binge-watch. However, Disney, Apple, and Hulu are taking the opposite strategy. "At Disney's biannual D23 Expo executives revealed that episodes on the upcoming Disney+ streaming service will follow a weekly release schedule." Variety thinks that "[t]he weekly release model is a smart move for Disney — and potentially any new streaming service that's initially focused on building a subscriber base, rather than servicing a demanding, preexisting one. Tying new content to beloved franchises, then doling it out a bit at a time is a way for Disney, in particular, to keep subscribers hooked."
While Variety opines that a weekly release model will help Disney Plus, Forbes reports that Netflix and Amazon may have an advantage because it won't stream any R-rated content. "According to entertainment writer Eric Vespe, he asked Disney reps if there would be anything R-rated on Disney Plus, and he was told it would be all PG-13 fare instead... If this pans out, this would be the first streaming service of this size to not have mature-rated content (depending on how you classify CBS All Access, and if Apple goes through with their plan to make "clean" TV shows), and looking over many of the top shows on rival services, that could potentially put Disney Plus at a disadvantage."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.