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31 Jan

Why is the Subscriber Count of Netflix® Soaring High

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Video Streaming Services

When Netflix® reported their fourth quarter results, the subscriber growth of the company continued the steady march upwards. The percent of the global paying customers increased by 26% per year to more than 139 million. The inclusion of 8.84 million subscribers has exceeded the 7.6 million users anticipated by Netflix®. They continue to confound skeptics by bypassing their own forecasts. However, what is leading to the addition of more subscribers.

Netflix® has long known that it is the content that matters. Since their starting, they have made use of massive amount of data that they have collected from their viewers to find out the money to be spent for their various licensing programs, the list of original programs that would be appealing to more people, and the genres to invest in. As per the latest research, this can be a good advantage for Netflix.

“Certified Fresh” Movies

Various analyses made, focusing on streaming television and cord cutting shows that Netflix® offers more movies that the viewers wish to watch when compared to the other streaming service providers. The data was used from Rotten Tomatoes to compare the popularity of the movies that are found on the top most streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, AT&T’s HBO Now®, Hulu, and Netflix®. A movie that is deemed “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes will be maintaining a rating of 75% or more getting 80 reviews for a wide release and 40 reviews for a limited release.

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The analysis found that Netflix® had more than 596 “Certified Fresh” movies in their catalog, which is much more than Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now® combined. Amazon had the greatest selection of movies with 17,461 movies, which is followed by Netflix® with 3,839 movies, Hulu with 2,336 movies and HBO Now® with 815 movies.

Netflix® wins the battle when it comes to quality as well. While 15.5% of the movies that were available for streaming on Netflix® were “Certified Fresh”, Hulu had 9.6%, HBO Now® stood at 4.7%, and Amazon Prime, just 1.3%. This is just one measurement. However, it shows the improving quality of the library of content of Netflix®, which is attracting more and more customers to the streaming service.

23 Feb

Charter Offers Mobile Plans As They End TWC Video Discounts

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Wi-Fi Services

Charter Communications is the second largest cheapest cable provider in the United States, but now they are starting to sound more like a wireless provider. The comments of CEO Tom Rutledge to analysts on the conference call to discuss fourth quarter earnings show that they are now concentrating on wireless communication.

Much of the conference involved the plan of Charter Communications to introduce a new mobile service in the year 2018. As per the reports, the new mobile service will integrate the Wi-Fi services of Charter with the mobile network of Verizon.

“Our goal is to include wireless services in our packages and drive more customer relationship growth,” Rutledge said. Charter is also planning filed trials to find how they can mix their wired networks with the best internet services and speedy 5G wireless connections. “Over the long term, our goals with wireless and mobility and our wireless business plan will broaden,” the CEO added.

Rutledge also noted that most of the twenty-two million broadband users of Charter already use Wi-Fi routers and that they serve 200 million plus routers. “Many of those are phones and have a contract with a traditional mobile cellular provider,” he said. “But, 75% of the bits on those devices are coming through the Wi-Fi platform. So we’re a wireless provider of data services today.”

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Charter Mobile Network

These numbers could increase even more, as more people are turning to virtual and augmented reality offerings that make use of goggles and smartphones. “They’re less about mobility than about capacity and low latency, and our networks set up well from a capital cost perspective,” Rutledge said, adding that he sees opportunities for Charter to use 5G or Wi-Fi to serve to the needs of mobile users in specific areas like malls.

For the traditional cable services, Charter said that their subscriber numbers has declined 1.3% to reach 16.8 million in the fourth quarter. Much of this decline in subscribers came after Charter ended the discount plans that were offered by Time Warner Cable.

“There were 96,000 different promotional offers out there,” Rutledge says. “The sheer logistics of managing that has been a challenge….In the fall of 2015 those offers were significant and they obviously went through close [of the deals] — even a little bit afterward.”

09 Feb

Is T-Mobile Buying Dish Network

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T-Mobile Dish Network Merger

Before a few weeks, CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere offered predictions about the Dish Network and their services. “I predict 2017 will mark the end of Dish as we know it,” he wrote in a post. “This time next year, they’ll no longer be a standalone entity.” Experts now think that it might be Legere himself, who is going to snap up the Dish Network.

Dish Network owns unused wireless airwave licenses that are worth billions of dollars. Shares of Dish Network also gained four percent, among the speculations that the Telco might be acquired soon, and the rumored buyer is T-Mobile.

Since the election of Donald Trump as the US President, the telecom sector started expecting many changes with anticipation on what new mergers the regulators of the new President will allow. However, there have been many speculations on which companies will be allowed to merge.

Verizon has been seen as the most likely buyer of the Dish Network, as they experiencing little spectrum crunch and Dish has large batch of airwave licenses that they are not using currently. However, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently signaled that he is interested in acquiring the cable TV operator Charter Communications instead, and not Dish Network.

Acquiring Dish Network would cost more than forty million dollars, owing to its debt load and the need to pay a premium to the shareholders. T-Mobile, majority of which is owned by Deutsche Telekom of Germany, has an enterprise value of almost seventy five billion dollars. However, it is reported that nothing much would happen until the end of the ongoing federal spectrum auction.

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T-Mobile Plans

Under the FCC rules for broadcast incentive auction that started on May 31, the competing bidders are not allowed to talk to each other to prevent collision. It is expected that the auction will wrap up any day as it is in the fourth and final stage.

The discussions between Dish Network and T-Mobile have also heated up much but there is no information on a deal being made. The companies cannot be talking formally, as the FCC auction is going one, but analysts like JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs shared about deal possibilities and Wall Street Journal has offered their own analysis.

The swap of assets between EchoStar and Dish Network that was announced recently also fueled talks that Dish Network is cleaning up for the megamerger.

04 Feb

DirecTV Refused To Sign A Deal With The SportsNet LA Due To The Increased Pricing

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DirecTV Channels

DirecTV recently informed a federal court that the reason why they pulled out from signing a carriage deal with Time Warner Cable for SportsNet LA channel is the pricing of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball. The cable service provider, DirecTV, along with their parent company, AT&T, informed that the Justice Department has not filed a case for either anti-competitive effects or restraint of trade in their suit against the satellite TV provider over the carriage for SportsNet LA.

SportsNet LA is managed by Charter Communications and is currently owned by the Dodgers. Charter acquired a long-term deal with the baseball team in last May. Reports indicate that TWC was charging too much for SportsNet LA and DirecTV was not ready to pay this amount.

Many analysts still have no clue on how the Trump Administration’s Justice Department will pursue this case. President Trump had earlier stated that he is planning to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner (which is a separate company). However, in a recent statement, AT&T Chairman and CEO, Randall Stephenson focused only on the impact of regulations and about creating jobs.

DirecTV remains hopeful that the court will dismiss the lawsuit “as a matter of law,” and “with prejudice.” The Justice Department charged DirecTV a few months ago for being the “ringleader” in a series of “unlawful information exchanges” with Charter Communications (before Charter acquired TWC), Cox Communications, and AT&T (before AT&T acquired DirecTV) during the negotiations of the companies for the rights to carry SportsNet LA.

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DirecTV informed the court that the filed complaint was only on the basis of generalized allegations of information sharing. DirecTV also noted that there is “no allegation of any multilateral agreement of communication on the negotiations, or anything else for that matter. No allegation that DirecTV’s negotiations were not in good faith, no allegation of improper communications with Dish or Verizon, who still don’t carry the channel, and no allegation that any of the distributors who allegedly would have carried the channel save for the communications had market power over TWC.”

“There is nothing in the complaint that contradicts the obvious alternative explanation that DirecTV and other distributors independently analyzed the value of the Dodgers Channel to their subscribers, tried to negotiate reasonable terms with TWC in good faith, and reached the same fundamental conclusion that TWC’s price demands were too high,” DirecTV officials added.

31 Jan

AT&T Aims To Ease The Roaming Burdens

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International Day Pass

Recent insiders reports say that AT&T is all set to ease the roaming burdens for some of their customers. The service provider recently announced an International Day Pass, which is actually a per-day subscription to significantly reduce the cost of overseas calls, texts, and data for AT&T customers.

This latest initiative from the telecom provider will work just like an extension of AT&T customer’s domestic plan. AT&T customers will be able to get 24-hour access to all the AT&T’s affiliate networks across the world for just $10 per day and this includes unlimited calls, data, and texts.

AT&T is planning to offer these benefits to some of their customers when they travel in over hundred countries including Central and South America, the Bahamas, Jamaica, India, China, Italy, France, and the U.K.

David Christoper, AT&T Entertainment Group’s chief marketing officer recently said, “Traveling has its own challenges. It’s great being able to use the domestic plan you’re familiar with while abroad. AT&T International Day Pass simplifies travelers’ lives so they can enjoy more of their favorite mobile apps when on the go overseas. This helps with booking lodging, catching a ride, translating, navigating, video calling, using social media and more.”

Reports indicate that International Data Pass is an effective replacement to long-in-the-tooth Passport service of AT&T. The latter plan offered just 200 MB of data to their customers for an amount of $40 per month. International Data Pass is a better deal to customers in all aspects.


AT&T Roaming Offers

However, the telecom company recently stated that AT&T would revoke the day pass privileges of the customers, who surpass 50 percent of the plan for two consecutive months. AT&T also specified that the plans are actually sold by device. This means that customers, who are under the family plan, will have to buy separate passes and they will also have to keep an eye on collective data consumption.

This latest offering from AT&T will certainly pose a threat to the International offers from other providers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Sprint offers a 100 MB of unrestricted texting, data and 20 cents per minute calling in countries, which are covered by the company’s Global Roaming agreement. On the other hand, T-Mobile offers an incredible high-speed data, unlimited calling, and texting to their customers in over 100 countries, whereas Verizon provides a $10 a day TravelPass, which includes data, text, and calling in over hundred countries.

30 Jan

Is Dish Paving Way To Cannibalizing Itself

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Dish Network Packages

Dish Network offered AirTV player with integrated OTA streaming, Alexa integration for television services, and Dish-on-a-stick at CES 2017. Dish Network is making bold moves with their latest range of products and services that will obviously cannibalize their traditional television offerings. Let us look into the details of the offering from Dish Network this CES.


At the CES 2017, Dish threatened their own traditional pay TV business with the introduction of AirTV. This product from Dish combines their Sling TV service with the native Netflix and OTA channels. “It’s similar to Roku, but it can connect to an off-air antenna and bring in live TV in full HD,” says Drew Mehrmann, who is the partner manager for Sling TV.

AirTV is an Android box, meaning that the device can run any app from Google Play Store. Netflix and Sling TV apps come preloaded on the device. There is also an optional AirTV Adapter, which plugs into a USB port on the box. The Dish interface combines all the television services into a single place and can be accessed with a single remote controller.

Dish on a Stick

This is not the real name for the latest product. The product is basically the Dish Anywhere service, available on a special Amazon Fire TV Stick. Users can take the device with them, plug it into HDMI port of any television, and enjoy Dish Network services on it. This means that anything that is available on the Dish Anywhere service can be accessed on a remote television, irrespective of the location of the user.

Dish Network Channel Guide

Traditional Television Offerings

Users can also access their local channels and programming guide, DVR recordings, video on demand, live TV, etc. A small remote is also offered with the stick and the user will need the remote to operate the device. This product can also cannibalize the traditional pay TV service of Dish, but the provider believes in the future. This product from Dish Network will not be released until summer.

Voice Control

Dish had announced their plans to integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice control. They have also offered a pre-production version of the voice integration at CES. “The idea is that: If you wanted to watch something, how quickly can you get to the content that you want to watch, without having to pick up the remote and go to the menus and find the content that you’re looking for?” says Dish product manager Sashi Choudhary.

24 Jan

AT&T Claims 200,000 Plus DirecTV Now Sign Ups In Q4

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DirecTV Now Subscribers

AT&T recently said that they have added more than 200,000 new video subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2016, and that all the sign ups were driven by their new DirecTV Now service, which is their internet-delivered pay TV service. In a filing with the SEC, the Telco said that the gain in the video subscribers includes only the paying subscribers.

“While it’s early days, our recent conversations with investors have focused heavily on whether [virtual pay-TV service providers] will be incremental vs cannibalistic, and we’ve been arguing incremental,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall said. “This potentially sets up Q4 results for interesting subscriber commentary.”

DirecTV Now service was launched by AT&T on Nov 30, and the service has been plagued with many technical issues and glitches since then. One of the service outages lasted for many hours last week and this outage angered many of the customers of the very young over the top offering from AT&T. Many subscribers demanded for refunds owing to the service interruptions, but AT&T refused to offer any refunds to the users who are unhappy with the DirecTV Now service.

DirecTV Packages

Internet-Based TV Service

Earlier, AT&T executives had promised to shakeup the pay TV industry with the introduction of the DirecTV Now service that is priced competitively. DirecTV Now service starts at thirty-five dollars a month for sixty-four channels offering to a package offering of up to 130 channels for just seventy dollars per month. Local channels on the DirecTV Now service are available in select markets from NBC, ABC, Telemundo, and Fox. AT&T does not have a deal with CBS for their DirecTV Now service though.

AT&T said that the rates of their DirecTV Now service will increase in time, but promised that the early adopters will have the promotional pricing for as long as they use the service. AT&T also offered Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV devices to those users who committed to a three months or one-month plan deal respectively.

In addition to that, AT&T said that they have added more than 900,000-branded net domestic wireless in Q4. Yet reports say that around 700,000 2G users deactivated their accounts in the quarter. “We have discontinued service on virtually all of our 2G cell sites,” the Telco said. AT&T is scheduled to report their Q4 earnings on Jan 25.

20 Jan

Nielsen Makes Deal To Tap Set Top Box Data From DirecTV

DirecTV Select Package

DirecTV Services

Nielsen’s national and local TV ratings will start to include the set top box data from one of the best TV distributors of America, AT&T. This is made possible as the result of a multiyear agreement that both the companies made recently. The companies said that the information will be “anonymized.” This means that the information will be used to identify the characteristics of the subscribers, but not their identities and other details.

Nielsen will be able to offer “enriched, electronic measurement in all 210 local TV markets,” after adding data about DirecTV and U-Verse viewers. It will be “incorporated with data from other data providers to complement Nielsen’s national and local suite of products, such as Nielsen Scarborough, NLTV and Nielsen N-Score.”

Set top box data are very much helpful in the small markets, as the sample sizes for the Nielsen’s surveys in the small markets are too small, and it will not offer the advertisers a clear idea of the popular niches that the viewers usually watch. The integration of the set top box data with the information on viewing from the surveys “is at the center of our TV measurement strategy to enhance how TV viewing is measured,” said Megan Clarken, who is the Nielsen Product Leadership President.

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Set Top Box Data

The viewer data will help Nielsen to offer their clients “comprehensive, reliable and in-depth measurement of how people consume content in today’s changing media landscape.” The announcement comes as Nielsen is planning to roll out their Total Audience Ratings, which will include digital and out of home viewing details together with the traditional in home viewer details.

In the month of April, Nielsen made a similar deal with Dish Network to use their set top box data and we all know that Dish Network is the closest competitor of DirecTV. Even though Nielsen has a good grip on the national television business, ComScore, who has bought Rentrak previous year, has said that their access to the set top box data offer a competitive advantage for the advertisers and broadcasters who are trying to increase their local sales.

10 Jan

Details Of Sling TV’s AirTV Set Top Box

Dish Network

AirTV Set Top Box

It seems that someone unwrapped their CES gifts before Christmas. Sling TV from Dish Network was prepared to make a splash in CES with their latest AirTV set top box. This set top box combines Sling content and free over-the-air (OTA) channels in a single program guide, but then they accidentally shared the information before time. The information was uncovered on 20 December and there were wide reporting about the AirTV set top box.

The release date was fixed on Jan. 3, but the product did not get the CES buzz Sling was expecting. With Mohu and Tablo releasing devices with similar capabilities, this has become the year of set top boxes that are capable of merging OTT and OTA.

With its soft rubbery feel and white and blue styling, the AirTV set top box is aimed at households that use Sling TV, OTA channels, and Netflix. AirTV STB is available for 99 dollars a month, but that will provide access to only streaming content. If you need to get OTA channels, you will need to buy the box together with an antenna adapter, which is sold separately in a bundle for 129 dollars and then pair the adapter with a digital antenna that can be bought separately.

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Sling TV Content

It is reported that Sling would offer installation of the antenna for a small price in some of their service areas. The AirTV set top box is built on Android and is capable of running Android apps.

The remote for AirTV is designed by Universal Electronics and they have showed the remote at their CES booth. This remote has a big blue button to call up Sling TV and features dedicated buttons for Google and Netflix. The remote aims at offering simplicity and it does not have any Mode or Input button. If your kids leave the television switched to a game, you just need to press on the Sling button on the remote to set the TV to the HDMI port for streaming content.

The on-screen guide will show Sling TV channels, over the air channels, and show movies from Netflix, queued in a single location. This will help users save the bother of switching between screens. The AirTV set top box is also capable of streaming 4K video, and it could be a real winner for cord cutters who are tired of tuning over the air channels.

05 Jan

Sling TV Plans To Launch Certification Program For Devices

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Optimized For Sling TV

Sling TV is the online video service from Dish network that is aimed at cord cutters. The service has now introduced a device certification program called as “Optimized for Sling TV,” under which, the “key criteria” are over-the-air content integration, presence of a Sling TV button, and auto launch capabilities.

According to Sling representatives, the program is launching with the support for 2 Android TV powered streaming platforms, namely, Mi Box from Xiaomi and AirTV Player from EchoStar. It is reported that both these products are green signaled to use the “Optimized for Sling TV” logo on their future packaging. These products will also be recognized as “Optimized for Sling TV” on the official website of Sling.

Here is a brief explanation of the key criteria to satisfy the “Optimized for Sling TV” program.

Auto Launch: The device should automatically launch into Sling TV service when it is turned on.

Pre-loaded App: The device manufacturer should preload Sling TV on the device and it should be in a “prominent location.”

Sling TV Button: The remote controller of the device should have a Sling TV button and the button should allow users to access their content in a single step.

Easy Access: Sling TV app should be offered as the default live TV app or it should be given a prominent placement.

Integrated Over-The-Air Content: The device should have over-the-air (OTA) tuners to help integration of over-the-air content directly to the guide of Sling TV.

Dish Network Channel Guide

Sling TV Plans

TV Content Integration: Live programming from Sling TV should be included in the top content section of the device to offer once click access to users.

Included in Device Setup: Sling TV should be included in the out of the box set up for the device.

Fast Performance: The device should be fast to load Sling TV and its contents.

Latest Sling TV Version: The device should support the latest build of Sling TV, thereby offering users access to the latest features.

Sling TV officials said that their new certification program is capable of accommodating wide range of platform configurations and that they are expecting to add more and more partners to the program. Other devices that currently support Sling TV include Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, and Xbox One consoles.

“We have set a high standard with our device partners to continually improve Sling TV’s performance,” Ben Weinberger, chief product officer of Sling TV, said in a statement. “The ‘Optimized for Sling TV’ program is designed to elevate that standard and highlight our dedication to our device partners, including Xiaomi and AirTV, to develop new paths for improving Sling TV.”


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