In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Netflix is trying to crack down on password sharing, Tubi wants original programming, YouTube streaming on TV screens jumped 20% during 2020, Walmart builds its own streaming device, all seasons of 'The Office' are streaming free on Peacock, and more!
"Fox Corp.’s free streaming service Tubi, which has attracted millions of users with a mix of old movies and reruns, plans to start funding original programs," reports Bloomberg. "Tubi will start off by focusing on original movies, but has discussed spending as much as $4 million an episode on new TV series, according to people familiar with the plans... Fox Chief Financial Officer Steve Tomsic discussed the idea of making originals during an investment conference this week, saying the company would 'cost effectively' look at it. But Tubi will steer clear of the expensive shows you see on paid streaming platforms, he said. 'It’s often these really cost-effective titles that a lot of the viewership resides in,' Tomsic said."
The Verge reports that Netflix is looking at ways to curb password sharing. "A new feature, first spotted by GammaWire, prevents people who are not authorized to use the account from accessing it. A Netflix spokesperson told The Verge, 'This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.' If Netflix detects that someone is trying to use the account without being an account owner, they'll be asked to verify later or verify being an account owner through an email code or text code. If someone is unable to verify account ownership within a certain timeframe, they won't be able to stream any Netflix content. Instead, they'll be asked to make their own account."
"By December of 2020, more than 120 million people streamed YouTube and YouTube TV on their TV screens, up 20% from the 100 million who did so in March." says Deadline. "That jump and other insights were highlighted in a pair of blog posts by the company. One was written by Neal Mohan, YouTube's product chief and a keynote speaker today at an online streaming conference by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The rise in TV viewing of YouTube has been emphasized by the company before, but it has particular relevance now for advertisers. In the 2021-22 upfront season, they will be able to measure their YouTube connected-TV campaigns with Nielsen for the first time. 'Viewers are leaving behind traditional primetime, and we’re finding at YouTube that the new primetime is personal,' Mohan wrote. 'People want the freedom to stream anything whenever they want, whether it's a favorite movie, a hard-to-find music performance, a premiere sports event, or even a tough workout.'"
"Walmart could be coming to market with its own Android TV-based streaming device carrying its onn. branding," according to a report by Fierce Video. "Protocol’s Janko Roettgers spotted an FCC filing for a potential product named onn. 2K Streaming Stick. The small streaming device is pictured with a remote that includes Google Assistant voice control and branded buttons for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. It’s unclear when or if Walmart’s new device will become available but if it does see wide release, it will have to compete against Amazon and Roku in the streaming stick market. According to Strategy Analytics, Amazon and Roku together accounted for more than 60% of the connected TV streaming device market in the fourth quarter."
The Streamable reports that "Sinclair and Ballys reached a 10-year deal [in November] to rebrand Fox Sports RSNs to Bally Sports. In January, the company announced that the change would happen before the start of the 2021 MLB Season. The changeover will happen on March 31st, the day before the start of the regular season." Although dropped by YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, fuboTV, and Sling TV, you can still find the RSNs on AT&T TV.
"Peacock is unlocking the full run of “The Office” for free for one week,"says Variety, "as NBCUniversal continues to find new ways the use the immensely popular sitcom as a carrot to draw users to its streaming service. Peacock is making all nine seasons of original series available for free starting March 18 for one week to users in the U.S. The promo is timed to the 16th anniversary of 'The Office,' which bowed on NBC on March 24, 2005, as a midseason replacement."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.