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Amazon's Plan To Storm the Cable Industry's Castle

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the building-the-next-espn dept.

Businesses 85

Randy Davis sends analysis of Amazon's acquisition of Twitch.tv, a move that indicates higher ambitions than simply another avenue for putting products in front of consumers. The Daily Herald think this is a sign Amazon is bulking up for a fight with cable companies, strengthening is bargaining position for getting (and maintaining) access to subscribers. "There are very few places in the U.S. where these four giant carriers allow independent networks carrying traffic from the data centers run by Amazon (and future Twitch.tv successors) to put that data on the carriers' controlled networks."

A related article at the NY Times argues Amazon is "betting on content," not wanting to fall behind the surge of new media productions from companies like Netflix. "There is a huge land grab for nontraditional models of programming. DreamWorks Animation bought AwesomenessTV, a popular YouTube channel, last year, and in March, Disney snatched up Maker Studios, a video supplier for YouTube, while Peter Chernin, formerly president of News Corporation, has invested in Crunchyroll, a streaming hub of anime. All of these deals are about content, but they are also a hedge, a way of exploring other production protocols that don’t involve prominent stars, agents and expensive producers." A different piece at The Motley Fool takes the acquisition as confirmation Amazon is developing its own ad network.

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Subscribers? (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | about a month ago | (#47816097)

Sorry, you lost me at "subscribers". I am not going to subscribe to anything full of ads, or that may be full of ads in the future. I'm definitely not going to subscribe to receive user generated content either. This ex-battered cable wife is not making the same mistake.

Re:Subscribers? (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47816139)

And yet plenty of people are on huluPlus already.

Re:Subscribers? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47816711)

Are they really though? By every indication I've heard, Hulu's viewership has been steadily dropping for a few years now (from 24M monthly unique viewers to 19M to 12M between mid-2010 and mid-2012, which prompted the media companies owning Hulu to try and sell it just last year. And that's Hulu total viewership, not just for Hulu Plus. And those numbers seem to make sense to me, given that the commercials have been becoming more intrusive and frequent, while the blackout periods before episodes become available have been less consistent and more inscrutable as time has gone on (of the shows I watch on there right now, one is next-day, one is eight days later, and one appears to be one month later, though I had to figure that last one out on my own, since they never actually specified it anywhere, so I may be wrong). And Hulu Plus merely promised to offer more of the same. Not exactly a great value proposition for a cord cutter.

The latest numbers I can find for Hulu Plus are that they're hovering around 6M subscribers as of about four months ago, which is a modest improvement from last year (5M), but still puts them at only about 10% of Netflix's subscriber base. The dual revenue model of ads + subscriber fees does mean that they make more revenues per subscriber, but it seems as if they might be stalling out a bit as people get a taste of what it's like to cut the cord and don't want to see any more ads.

Re:Subscribers? (3, Interesting)

FictionPimp (712802) | about a month ago | (#47816781)

Yep, I am not going to pay for the right to watch ads.

Either it's 'free' and I watch ads, or I pay for it and get no ads.

Also, I get to pick the device.

Re:Subscribers? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47816837)

I'm a little more of a hardliner than that.

I say no ads at all. I'll gladly pay you for your product if I like it(and they fucking let me), but I won't suffer manipulation.

Re:Subscribers? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47816907)

Yep, I am not going to pay for the right to watch ads.

Either it's 'free' and I watch ads, or I pay for it and get no ads.

Precisely. As the saying goes, if the service is free, you're the product. I'll tolerate that for some things, but if I'm paying for a service, I expect to be treated with the dignity and respect associated with being the customer. Anymore, I've been seeking out for-pay alternatives to free services (e.g. Feedbin for RSS after Google Reader was cancelled, Fastmail for e-mail after leaving Gmail, etc.). If someone set up a for-pay alternative to Hulu that didn't show ads, I'd likely sign up for it.

Re:Subscribers? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a month ago | (#47817471)

To be topical: Amazon, perhaps? You have prime for old things on a subscription, and instant for newer things on a per episode basis.

Re:Subscribers? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47818903)

That's actually a good suggestion, but something I just now realize I forgot to state was that I was thinking of a subscription, not a per-episode service. I have iTunes and Amazon Instant, but I've never been keen on having to buy stuff that I only ever plan to watch once (and in many cases it's stuff that I'm only marginally interested in and keep on a second screen while surfing on the first screen). I'd consider renting, but it's rare that TV shows offer rentals (especially while the show is still ongoing), and when rentals are finally offered, the prices are oftentimes virtually identical to purchasing.

Re:Subscribers? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819875)

Prime needs to change. It's a yearly subscription, and a hefty one too, so it's a major hindrance for people just to try out Amazon. If after a few weeks they think it's not worth the cost then they don't get refunded for the remaining unused time (and no, I won't use that much free shipping on Amazon in a lifetime).

Re:Subscribers? (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a month ago | (#47822857)

So the one month trial isn't enough?

Re:Subscribers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47823401)

Didn't see it advertised when I looked.

(ha, captcha is borders, a real book store)

Re:Subscribers? (1)

jtmach (958490) | about a month ago | (#47820447)

They need to quick dicking around and make a mobile app for it (and support ChromeCast too, while they're at it). I have Prime, but I never use it for video because it's not convenient. Also, for that reason, I would never suggest it to someone else if they were looking for a place to watch videos. It's nice for 2 day shipping though.

Re:Subscribers? (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819857)

I am ready to subscribe, as soon as the shows I want show up there. But they're late. Two weeks and still no new doctor who. The whole point of hulu plus was to be seeing shows very soon after original air time. I've already got netflix if I wanted to wait until the season was over. I don't mind the ads that much because what it replaces was chock full of ads too (well, I've never had hulu plus so can't be sure how obnoxious they are).

What these services are missing is 'service'. They're very short on information, such as easily searchable databases of what they have. They also do not tell us what programs they will be adding in the future or when they'll be added. Broadcast meanwhile will say some show starts a season in two weeks, but no such promotion on the steaming channels. I'd like to see 'wish lists' too, to be notified if a missing movie shows up in the future or to give the channel a hint about what customers want to see. Granted this is all very very low budget stuff, but a little customer friendliness would go a long way.

Home Internet (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47816167)

Yet you presumably subscribe to home Internet access to view UGC and sites with ads. And people subscribe to VOD services such as Netflix to view 90 minute toy ads such as The Wizard.

Re:Home Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47816199)

It's called an adblocker.

Ad blocker blocker (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47816229)

It's called an adblocker.

"You appear to be using an ad blocker. To continue, please whitelist this site. Here are the whitelist instructions for the major ad blockers. To view this article without ads, please subscribe." What do you plan to do once this behavior becomes common? If you say "ad blocker blocker blocker", that has been tried, and it uses as much of your battery and monthly data quota as just displaying the ad.

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

fxsoap (1562569) | about a month ago | (#47816279)

I'm hoping that stupid message Hulu developed gets bypassed by adblock plus. Let the website 'think' it ran the script/video of whatever ad (maybe even in its own minimized, muted, ignored window) and continue with your real content.

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about a month ago | (#47816569)

Let the arms race continue!

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month ago | (#47816719)

Right. Is this [indiamarks.com] what you want happening?

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about a month ago | (#47818799)

And my wife calls ME handsey...

Still eats your cap. ISP is ad blocker^4. (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47820107)

Let the website 'think' it ran the script/video of whatever ad (maybe even in its own minimized, muted, ignored window)

Consider, for example, if the client were to compute a hash of the downloaded ad video (or even of decoded frames from the ad) and send it to the server in order to acknowledge that the client has received the ad. Then you'd have to download and run the whole thing. It'd be an "ad blocker blocker blocker" as I described above, still eating into your cap. Ultimately, the ISPs that set these caps are the ad blocker blocker blocker blocker, as described in the featured article. In case you're confused by the terminology I'm using:

  • Ad blocker: Not loading the ad
  • Ad blocker blocker: Checking that the ad is loaded
  • Ad blocker blocker blocker: Loading the ad anyway and displaying it in a hidden virtual environment
  • Ad blocker blocker blocker blocker: Charging you for downloading the ad

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819903)

I just avoid those sites. Nothing is requiring me to be a customer.

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47827771)

Until you get teased on Slashdot or SoylentNews for not having read the featured article, which happens to be on a site that has deployed an ad blocker blocker. Or until Slashdot or SoylentNews itself becomes one of those sites unless you qualify your account for ad-free service by subscribing or consistently keeping Excellent karma.

Re:Ad blocker blocker (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47828133)

I'm qualified to turn off ads here, but I keep ad blocker on it anyway so I let it think it's serving me ads, just to keep the script's self esteem up.

Re:Home Internet (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a month ago | (#47816669)

And people subscribe to VOD services such as Netflix to view 90 minute toy ads such as The Wizard.

That's specious and you know it. Nobody has to watch The Wizard, the vast majority of Netflix's content doesn't have product placement, and Netflix can't do anything about it anyway (except maybe exclude the show entirely).

Shows on Netflix don't have added, separate ads, and that's the important thing.

Re:Home Internet (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month ago | (#47817335)

the vast majority of Netflix's content doesn't have product placement

I doubt that actually - considering movies and TV have steadily increased their product placement ads over the past decade. I'd say Netflix's content has plenty of product placement - it's just not under Netflix's control because it was there before Netflix even got the content.

Netflix however, doesn't add their own ads to content, other than a small pre-roll video in front of their exclusive series.

Anyhow, I'm finding a lot of content is now being available streamed legally for free, with unskippable ads. Seems everyone figured that there's an advantage to new-fangled technology. DVRs may be ruining the ad model, but let's put the show up online as well and now they can't skip it. So either they subscribe to the cable channel and skip ads, or they stream it online for free without unskippable ads. win-win.

Moychandising (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47820177)

movies and TV have steadily increased their product placement ads over the past decade. I'd say Netflix's content has plenty of product placement - it's just not under Netflix's control because it was there before Netflix even got the content.

Case in point: the Transformers films and DC/Marvel superhero films exist to sell toys [tfwiki.net] . As Yogurt pointed out in Spaceballs, it's all about the merchandising.

Re:Home Internet (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | about a month ago | (#47819575)

I subscribe to access the internet, whether or not people put invasive ads/on their sites have nothing to do with it, but there are no "packages" I have to choose and I can do what I want with my bandwidth, so I choose to visit sites that respect me as a user. I do support sites I like by allowing ads, even Slashdot which has offered me the choice of disabling ads.

Lack of CGNAT is a package nowadays (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47820365)

but there are no "packages" I have to choose and I can do what I want with my bandwidth

If you want to accept incoming connections, you may need the "dedicated IP address" package. IPv4 address exhaustion has forced some ISPs to put customers on reserved nonroutable addresses (usually 100.64/10 or 10/8) behind carrier-grade network address translation [wikipedia.org] (CGNAT) unless they pay extra for a static IP. Even in areas not quite as IP-poor, you may still need the "business class" package so that your ISP doesn't kickban you for running a server on a residential line.

And if you don't buy the "local channels" package, you can't subscribe to HBO Go. Some cable systems even require subscribers to buy the entire "expanded basic cable" package before becoming eligible for HBO.

Re:Lack of CGNAT is a package nowadays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47822611)

I don't care about that mass market shit. If the internet gets too fucked up, I don't care, I'm out. It's just another bullshit form of entertainment now anyway. Good luck with your pedantry, hope it works out for you.

Re:Subscribers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47816385)

True and there is defiantly nothing on Twitch. Lets watch people move their mouse back and forth, yay!

Re:Subscribers? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month ago | (#47816691)

But. But. The Channels! The Choices!

Instead of 500 channels of repetitive, poorly contrived and produced content there will be thousands!

Isn't that what you expected for the 21st Century?

Re:Subscribers? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a month ago | (#47817253)

You might not, but Amazon already has a huge number of subscribers. They call it Amazon prime.

Data Caps (1)

RawGutts (879317) | about a month ago | (#47816149)

The US data caps FORCED on the consumer by the cable companies will have the users thinking twice. Do I use in the in-house streaming provided by Comcrap that will cost me no data or do I go outside source for content that will burn up my data usage at the end will either get me a much bigger bill or the Cable companies will drop me for high usage.

Carriage negotiation (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47816189)

So how should smaller producers of shows go about negotiating with Comcast to get their shows added to cap-free in-house streaming?

Spell check changed Comcast to Combat. Telling?

Carriage negotiation (1)

RawGutts (879317) | about a month ago | (#47816511)

It would be nice if they didn't Data Caps on service, but since we are dealing with massive companies, I just don't see the Data caps going away. Unless they get regulated again to put them in check. Producers will most like have to deal with Comcast Wholesale network services group to negotiate a contract. Something like Nexflix has done to prevent the throttling.

All hostages to the last mile providers (5, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | about a month ago | (#47816253)

It doesn't matter how much content amazon has, nor how many datacenters they have. Amazon, Apple, Google...etc are all hostages to the last mile providers. Their business models depend on that last mile for delivery of their product.

In the end, the UPS/FedEx model will probably prevail where content providers will pay a delivery company for delivery of their product.

Google seems to be the only company with the foresight to start building their own last mile network. Unfortunately, at the rate they are going my great great grandkids might have Google Fiber available in their area.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a month ago | (#47816345)

The last mile... yes that's what holds me back. I hear all this great stuff about Netflix, youtube vids, Hulu, etc. but at times may be fast but spotty. I was talking with someone describing how they watch fantastic movies, shows, etc. on their highspeed internet. I didn't get the details but way she described it is something that can impress most techies (I think her and her husband are IT specialists so they know how to game the system). Generally I don't pay much attention to all this whizbang high speed internet stuff, like tech systems for helicopters, I'm not in those leagues.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a month ago | (#47817055)

Oh please. DSL handles movies just fine. I watch them on Amazon, Hulu and wherever I want and have no real problems. I also download gigs of game updates rapidly. There's no high-tech nothing about it.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about a month ago | (#47818137)

While DSL can be fine, all to often the big names in DSL in the US offer service like 1.5 mb down and .5 or .6 mb up and those can be near useless with many modern sites. Worse is that is the highest speeds the offer, most users will see somewhat less. I have Time Warner cable and get 20 mb/1 mb, but my neighbors who use Verizon use 1.5 mb/0.6 mb connections and the comparison is just a joke. More ironic is that Verizon charges just $5 less for that than I pay...

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a month ago | (#47818999)

Even 1.5 can handle video for one device. upload is unimportant.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47820019)

My 1Mbit/256Kbit DSL says otherwise. So much for living in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47817097)

I'm surprised how well Netfix works on my connection. I have the lowest speed product provided by my ISP (local TelCo, they connect to Verizon I believe), I believe it is 1 Meg. Even with this limited connection the only times I'll have any kind of buffering issues with Netflix is when I'm browsing multimedia heavy websites while watching something. I'm not running running HD or anything but even on a 42" TV through my Chromecast I have no complaints about picture quality (sometimes when you first load a show you can notice some pixelation as it sorts out its connection speed, but 99% of the time it clears up within 10 seconds). I might try out Hulu sometime to see how well it works, but I need to buy a tablet because their Chromecast integration is pretty fickle. It won't work on my (older) phone and their web browser doesn't support the handoff to Chromecast.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

organgtool (966989) | about a month ago | (#47816809)

You beat me to it. Since most of the cable companies are also ISPs, they have full motive to throttle the connections of any threatening content providers into oblivion. After all, every minute spent watching content from another provider is a minute not consuming the cable company's channels or their ad-laden video-on-demand. And since we have no net neutrality laws, there is no legal reason for them not to throttle competing content providers. With the current situation, if you want to be a major content provider in the U.S., then you had better be prepared to roll out your own nationwide fiber optic network.

Re: All hostages to the last mile providers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47823007)

But net neutrality wouldn't affect data caps anyway. They're just another way to block internet television. (If you made a specific law to block that, then I'm sure they'd try something else like not recognizing the DNS names/records of competitors. )

FedEx/UPS compete with each other because neither of them own the roads. If they did, I'm sure you'd see similar practices (railroads used to mess with riverboats by making bridges a little too low).

I think vertically separating cable companies into infrastructure and service companies may be necessary. Company A owns the cables, but can't sell service directly to the consumer. Third parties do this (see MVNOs as an example). As a bonus, municipal fiber could use same model so that private companies sell television/internet over those wires (and not get into trouble with gov't selling porn or something. )

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (2)

fredan (54788) | about a month ago | (#47817221)

It's only the ISP who can do this and build such system for caching content.

The concept of TOECDN, The Open Edge Content Delivery Network, previously known as The Last Mile Cache, is to cache content so close to the consumer as possible. TOECDN is the only solution to allow customers to have their own http-cache servers.

Instead of having X different cache solutions for the ISP to host and maintain, TOECDN combines this to ONE unified system/solution for all static content served over HTTP.

And anyone is free to use this solution. That's the hole point.

http://www.toecdn.org/ [toecdn.org]

Does TOECDN do port 443? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47820407)

HTTP proxies won't be quite as helpful once more services move to HTTPS [slashdot.org] to avoid session cookie sniffing [slashdot.org] . The proxy will have to act as a TLS certificate authority, and proxy users will have to install its root certificate.

Re:Does TOECDN do port 443? (1)

fredan (54788) | about a month ago | (#47823759)

No.

You do realize that you should only use TOECDN for static content, right?

Re:Does TOECDN do port 443? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47824445)

You do realize that even static content included in a secure page needs to be delivered with authentication to avoid mixed content warnings in the browser, right?

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

furby076 (1461805) | about a month ago | (#47817981)

I agree with the last mile comment. Google, however, is not going to build out more than a few markets. For them this is an experiment, to show that prices can be cheaper and the product can be of better quality - as far as they can demonstrate in a few tiny markets. Try and build a national infrastructure - with data centers sending out that much content, with cables being lined through every city/town/neighborhood - this is an astronomical and mind-blowing logistics nightmare. The barrier to entry into this market is not gov't, it's the cost and willpower to get in. For google to become a competitor they will actually have to expand to major markets. While I wish they would, they can't - it's incredibly difficult. Once they do so, their costs will go up substantially. Again, I hope they do manage to do this, but I am not holding my breath - and nobody else should

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47818391)

It doesn't matter how much content amazon has, nor how many datacenters they have. Amazon, Apple, Google...etc are all hostages to the last mile providers. Their business models depend on that last mile for delivery of their product.

In the end, the UPS/FedEx model will probably prevail where content providers will pay a delivery company for delivery of their product.

Google seems to be the only company with the foresight to start building their own last mile network. Unfortunately, at the rate they are going my great great grandkids might have Google Fiber available in their area.

There are ISPs for sale, all over this country, every day of the year. Amazon could buy them up cheap if they wanted to. Despite what slashdot would have you believe, they are not all that profitable. Hosting some videos in Seattle and charging people to see them with little to no overhead? Very profitable. Expect them to invest heavily in that side of the business.

The FCC gave up on net neutrality, and now they're giving up on the universal service fund. You think it's bad now? Just wait. You're going to get your wish, but it's going to be a monkeys paw. Prices will go down for people in major Urban areas... the other 99% of the country will likely not have internet access at all when this is over.

My only hope at this point is for some new wireless technology, but I'm not holding my breath.

Re:All hostages to the last mile providers (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about a month ago | (#47818887)

I think Google is being a bit smarter than that on the "last mile" --- they are winning this in the Airliner fashion; build routes where there is the most profit. Like being the only direct flight to some location that no other airline services or in a high traffic area where there is the most profit.

If they can lower costs and have high margins in every area, they squeeze the profit from the last mile extortionists and have leverage to negotiate. I'm sure as Google goes along, they will speed up deployment, but it's likely more a lobbying effort right now as groups are working to make it illegal for the Government to get involved to create infrastructure, or upstarts a way into a market.

For some reason, we protect monopoly practices now -- go figure.

Easy solution (4, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about a month ago | (#47816293)

There's nothing on TV worth watching anyway. Just turn it off.

Re:Easy solution (2)

some old guy (674482) | about a month ago | (#47816673)

Bingo! I haven't had a TV subscription since maybe 2004, and I don't miss it one bit. Yeah, I'm stuck with DSL, but it works, it's cheap, and it's local.

Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon can all suck it.

Re:Easy solution (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a month ago | (#47817643)

Hey, I know you! You were featured in that article on The Onion! Wow, it's a huge honor to have such a famous person contribute to Slashdot's discussion.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47817081)

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/26/28-not-having-a-tv/

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47818231)

Agreed, toss the TV but then get a fish tank.
Always an interesting show, never a re-run.

Re:Easy solution (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819925)

I'm watching all the old shows on netflix, lots of stuff worth watching in the wayback machine.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47824093)

Amen. Nothing but a bunch of reality tv shows and rehashed formulas for serieses... rubbish really

Comcast, Time Warner, Amazon. (1)

fxsoap (1562569) | about a month ago | (#47816299)

At the very least this will bring healthy competition into the cable industry and give people more options, albeit it an ad-happy-filled option, but at least an option to lower prices.

Re:Comcast, Time Warner, Amazon. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819947)

Except Amazon is just a "me too!" player, after Netflix and Hulu Plus. I don't see what they're doing that's revolutionary and is going to make the big content providers change their act.

AVP ... again? (4, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a month ago | (#47816617)

Comcast vs Amazon, whoever wins, we lose!

Russian revolution? (4, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | about a month ago | (#47816717)

Part of me screams for Amazon to mercilessly crush the cable companies and salt their fields. The more reasonable side of me worries we would wind up trading one overpowered corporate overlord for another. It won't stop me from grabbing popcorn and enjoying the show either way, though; just to satisfy the bloodlust against these bastards.

Re:Russian revolution? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a month ago | (#47817293)

It's more than Amazon: Google, Microsoft, AOL, etc are all plotting how to do this.

Video advertisements are huge revenue generators, which is why every crappy website (including Slashdot) now is trying to find a place for them, and ideally generate video content. Some of these companies (Amazon, AOL, Hulu) are trying to create full episodic content, so they can generate even more revenue.

Remember:
Advertizers = revenue (or customers).
Users = product (or views).
Content = honey that attracts the users.

Re:Russian revolution? (1)

bored (40072) | about a month ago | (#47817349)

It will never be a real battle until amazon starts providing last mile services. The Cable Co's and the content providers (amazon in this case) need each other to much to actually have a battle to the death.

So, much like the "blackouts" and other BS that happens once in a while, the end result is not positive for the consumer. The cable bills never go down or even stay the same. Instead they go up and both sides get to blame the other. All while making record profits for wall street.

Nothing will change until we start actually regulating the last mile providers in meaningful ways. That includes a more alacart channel selection where the _CONSUMER_ chooses which media/content providers they wish to subscribe to. I don't mind the content providers bundling things (aka get National Geo, Fox New, FX, etc as a block), its just that I want to be the one making the choices rather than having to give Fox money when all I want is to watch a couple HBO channels.

Amazon prime blows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47816739)

The cable companies have nothing to worry about. Take a look at the amazons prime selection of free movies. You'll have a very small selection of newer releases, then a small sample of mediocre movies from the 80's and 90's, and that's just about it! No wonder why amazon won't do prime on a monthly basis. They know the selection sucks and want to lock you in for a full year.

A very large number of movies that amazon wants to charge you money to rent 3 days at 2.99 are included with Netflix. If you want amazon prime for the 2 day shipping, go ahead. If you want it for the movies, it is a ripoff.

Re:Amazon prime blows! (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a month ago | (#47817635)

Prime Video really isn't a good comparison to any other service, because it's really just a free extra, since Prime is mostly about free two-day shipping.

I watch Prime videos for exactly that reason...they are free. The $100 annual fee for Prime is well worth it for my household, as we average one package per week from Amazon.

Re:Amazon prime blows! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month ago | (#47819963)

Prime is absolutely not free, if you never use Amazon for other stuff. It's pretty damned expensive. I average one package every two years.

Re:Amazon prime blows! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47822899)

Think of all the money you'd save if you bought stuff on Amazon instead of where you're currently buying it. It all evens out.

Re:Amazon prime blows! (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about a month ago | (#47820181)

It's going to be about original serialized content I think. You can't watch all the latest movies on cable for free either and Amazon does have pay per view options. I mean, they're bringing back The Tick http://www.salon.com/2014/09/0... [salon.com]

As a prime subscriber for the free shipping already I'll be very happy with just a few new 'TV' shows in genres that I enjoy.

Re:Amazon prime blows! (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a month ago | (#47822925)

Prime gets plenty of programming that other streaming services do not offer (Justified or The Hour, for example). Their newer releases are about the same as Netflix's. You also have the option of renting new releases. Of course, they'll need to get the prices down to match Redbox, because the quality:cost ratio isn't worth it, even cable's video on demand is better for roughly the same price. In the end though, Prime's video service is great when you consider it a bonus to the free 2-day shipping.

comcast will tell Amazon to pay up or get in slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47816825)

comcast will tell Amazon to pay up or get in slow and capped lane.

Competition (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month ago | (#47817291)

Good, we need more competition in the digital delivery field. My current choices are:

A) Tweedledee
B) Tweedledum

One has crappy equipment, the other crappy customer service.

The GAzN Network (2)

PortHaven (242123) | about a month ago | (#47817891)

The Google Amazon Netflix Network - seriously, this is what they should do. They should basically, form a pact, get a few other big companies like Facebook. Then start popping out internet access points locally. Dump those billions into cabling and internet towers. By-pass Comcast/Verizon completely. And watch Comcast's worst nightmare.

Googe+Amazon+Netflix+Facebook = majority draw

Google and Amazon already have a lot of fiber. How much such a coalition earn from $20/home broadband?

Re:The GAzN Network (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month ago | (#47818471)

Half the companies you listed treat you as the product, not the customer.

No thanks, Comcast/TWC/Cox already operate in that mode.

Re:The GAzN Network (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about three weeks ago | (#47873353)

Right, so I'd much prefer to be the product at $20/month than to be the commodity at $150/month

Half? (1)

tepples (727027) | about three weeks ago | (#47873465)

I own a Nexus 7 tablet that I bought from Google's store and several books I bought on Amazon. My cousin shares a Netflix subscription with one of his friends from his previous school. That leaves Facebook. Where do you get half?

Offer ala carte and they win (1)

jmcwork (564008) | about a month ago | (#47818107)

If someone would offer a "you pick 50 channels for $50" service, they would win. Break it up into 5 levels and pick 10 from each. I hate paying for 300 channels when I only want / watch 20% of them. I know, there are all sorts of license, premium fees, etc. But if someone can figure a way around it...

Re:Offer ala carte and they win (1)

seven of five (578993) | about a month ago | (#47818423)

Mod parent up please. No a la carte has been cable's Achille's heel since forever.

Re:Offer ala carte and they win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47819843)

I would still never go back to cable TV as long as it has commercials! If I am paying, especially the extremely overly high rates charged for cable TV these days, well, I would not pay those rates anyway. It would have to be $39.95 (or less) AND HAVE NO COMMERCIALS OR PREVIEWS(which are a form of commercial to me)! Otherwise they can kiss my A**!!

20%? More like 2% (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about a month ago | (#47820001)

If someone would offer a "you pick 50 channels for $50" service, they would win. Break it up into 5 levels and pick 10 from each. I hate paying for 300 channels when I only want / watch 20% of them. I know, there are all sorts of license, premium fees, etc. But if someone can figure a way around it...

20%? More like 2% maybe (6 channels)? Most people I know only watch less than a dozen channels regularly.

In our case at home, when we used to have cable, we had to sign for one of the uber-packages to get a NHK Japanese programming channel. My brother-in-law has to do the same thing to get his Arab-language TV programming. And pretty much every South/South East Asian acquaintance of mine do the same to get their Hindi/Vietnamese/Filipino programming. So that is one channel.

Add one or two channels for your favorite TV shows (say, AMC, H2, the Food Channel, TNT, maybe Nickelodeon for the kids) and boom, that's all there is to it. I really have a hard time visualizing an average household truly watching more than a dozen channels.

I'm not sure if I would pay $50 for 50 channels, but I would pay $20 for a dozen (and I would tolerate commercials, it is what it is.)

But we are no longer on cable. We are on Netflix and over-the-air programming. We are mostly watching V-Me (Spanish version of public TV programming) and QUBO for my kids, Create, and World Channel for our neurons, ION for Law & Order on Friday and Saturday nights, and NBC for the morning news. Amazon VOD every other blue moon.

Not missing cable at all, sans for NHK's Japanese language TV.

6 over the air channels for free + Netflix. Only an ala carte option might beat that, just maybe.

Game publishers can hurt Twitch with DMCA (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month ago | (#47818937)

Right now, publishers of video games have the power to make Twitch irrelevant by sending notices of claimed infringement pursuant to OCILLA regarding videos of video games whose copyright the publisher owns. If Comcast can convince publishers to forbid Twitch streaming of their games, especially games that are adaptations of films and series produced by Comcast's NBCUniversal division, Amazon will have less leverage. I wonder whether WB Games would be willing to do the same as a favor for the cable company that Time Warner used to own.

Amazon Instant on google play (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about a month ago | (#47819585)

They should probably make an effort to get their instant video app into the google play store if that is the plan. I use a chromecast and an android phone to watch my content. Can't do that without jumping through a bunch of hoops with amazon instant video.

What else can we say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47821015)

"Have fun stormin' da castle."
"Think it'll work?"
"It would take a miracle."

Somebody has to say it. (1)

McFortner (881162) | about a month ago | (#47821035)

"Have fun stormin' da castle." "Think it'll work?" "It would take a miracle."
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