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Cordcutter News Brief - 2020 will be a big year for CBS All Access, Sony explores sale of Playstation Vue, Verizon giving customers one free year of Disney+ , and more!

October 25, 2019 - 16:53 -- RokuGuide

Cordcutter News BriefsIn this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: 2020 will be a big year for CBS All Access, Sony explores sale of Playstation Vue, the cost of making scripted TV series continues to rise as new streaming services are launched, Verizon giving customers one free year of Disney+ , HBO Max could be as low as $8/month with ads, Comcast’s 'free' streaming box requires an additional $13/month fee, and more!

Why 2020 Will Be a Big Year for CBS All Access

AdWeek says that Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive, predicts "CBS Interactive is set to have a banner year in 2020, when the digital network fully realizes its vision for original content on its 5-year-old subscription streaming service, CBS All Access." After launching five years ago without any original programming, "[b]y 2020, CBS All Access will have beefed up its slate with more than 14 original shows, including Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, Why Women Kill and The Twilight Zone."

Sony Explores Sale of Vue, Signaling Shift on Streaming

"Sony Corp. is exploring the sale of its Playstation Vue service," reports. "Sony’s move is the latest sign that the four-year-old trend toward cheaper cable-like streaming services also promoted by YouTube, DirecTV and Dish Network has faded."

As new streaming services enter the fray, the cost of making scripted TV series continues to rise

Variety examines the exploding cost of producing original TV series. "When Apple TV plus launches on Nov. 1, it will do so with what's arguably the most expensive new-series lineup in TV history. Among the streamer's initial offerings are the drama 'The Morning Show,' bearing a price tag believed to be more than $15 million an episode, and the dystopian sci-fi series 'See,' which is rumored to have cost as much as $17 million an hour." The production of 500 or more original scripted series this year "means an expensive race to secure marquee talent. Everyone from production designers and costumers to directors of photography and stunt coordinators has plenty of job choices right now, and so all of their rates have gone up exponentially. If you're looking for elite, established, award-winning department heads, you're going to pay for that."

Verizon Will Give One Year of Disney Plus for Free to All Unlimited Wireless Customers

Verizon is giving customers one year of Disney+ for free Verizon is giving a free year of the Disney+ streaming service to their wireless customers on unlimited-data plans when the new services launches on November 12th. The offer is available to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers, as well as new Fios broadband and 5G home wireless internet customers.

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HBO Max could be priced as low as $8/month with ads

HBO Max, a streaming video service from AT&T, is set to launch in 2020. Pricing has not been announced yet, but FierceCable reports that "the service could cost significantly less than HBO." "UBS analyst John Hodulik put out a research note ahead of AT&T’s WarnerMedia Day scheduled for Oct. 29. Among the subjects of the note is pricing, and UBS said that it previously believed that HBO Max would be priced at a slight premium to HBO. But now the firm believes that competitive pressure and the need for scale will drive prices down to around $12 per month or $8 with advertising."

Comcast’s ‘free’ streaming box actually requires an additional $13/month fee

Comcast announced last month that it would give a free streaming box to its internet-only subscribers. But, as TheVerge explains, "there's an extra fee that Comcast didn't clearly disclose at the time. It'll only give the box to internet-only subscribers who also rent a modem and router from the company for an additional $13 per month." Instead of renting a modem and router to get the free Flex box, TheVerge recommends purchasing a modem and router outright, and "[w]ith Roku streaming sticks as cheap as $30 flat, there's no reason to ever rent a streaming box for an endless monthly fee."

AT&T hits online TV customers with second big price increase this year

ArsTechnica reports that "AT&T is rolling out another batch of price increases for AT&T TV Now, the online streaming service formerly known as DirecTV Now. The AT&T TV Now 'Plus' package that contains 45 channels and costs $50 a month will rise to $65, AT&T told Ars. Customers on some other plans will get a $10 increase, AT&T said. That means the 'Max' plan with 60 channels will go from $70 to $80, but plans with more channels that range in price from $86 to $135 will stay at the current prices... AT&T is also raising prices for the second time this year on customers who kept plans that are no longer offered to new customers."

Roku spent $150 million so it can sell more ads

"Roku is no longer just a company making TV streaming boxes and dongles,"says Engadget. "It's become a powerful advertising company, too... Today [October 23rd] it announced plans to double down. It has acquired the Boston-based ad-tech firm Dataxu for $150 million in cash and stocks. The deal will allow Roku to provide marketers with software to plan, buy and manage their ad spend across TV and OTT providers." FierceVideo states that "[t]he acquisition, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, will give Roku a world outside of its devices and platforms where it can sell inventory through Dataxu’s self-serve ad platform." 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.