Free the Box!

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Free the Box!
Number 109
Broadcast Date February 22, 2016
Episode Length 52:57
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests Owen Stone

Is Sling TV a success? Why ESPN is lying to you. The FCC wants to save the past. With special guest Owen JJ Stone.


Intro Video

Primary Target

"The Wall Street Journal says “people briefed on the numbers” say SlingTV has more than 600,000 monthly subscribers
In November, analysts estimated 394K
Sling planning a slicker interface (showed off at CES)
Adding ABC local, Univision and UniMas in select US markets. Must call to add “Broadcast Extra” bundle
Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, L.A., New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco.
DISH needs sling success
Net income dropped 21% year over year in 2015
Lost 81,000 subs in 2015"

Signals Intelligence

"ESPN president John Skipper at Code media Conference last week
Mentioned that Apple and Amazon have been public about video content
“I said a number of people have expressed interest and we are in discussions with a large number of people.""
Skipper was also insistent that the network has no plans to offer a streaming app that's unbundled from a cable subscription.
""We could sell ESPN, as a standalone product, but we don't believe it right now to be good business. We're in 90 million homes, so no, we do not have a contemplation now that we would launch as a standalone.""
Did say SlingTV has been good and numbers have been “incremental” in other words not taken from other packages"

Gear Up

"FCC approved a “Notice for Proposed Rulemaking” Thursday
Before you get too excited, that means a months-long public comment period
Proposed requirements
Make available to third parties
Channel listings, VOD lineups
Rights (recording, transfers etc.)
Content itself
“using any published, transparent format that conforms to specifications set by an independent, open standards body.""
Two years given from adoption to comply
Critics argue it would require new hardware and more rental boxes
Wheeler shot down objection that it would allow third parties to sell ads in content. new rules would prohibit that."

Front Lines

BBC Three left the airwaves last Tuesday and is now available only on the Internet. The channel will be available on iPlayer and operate a portal called The Daily Drop. BBC Three will further use social media and its YouTube Channel as outlets.
ComScore announced Wednesday it will compete with Nielsen, offering cross-platform TV ratings. The new ratings will include TV, over-the-top services and digital viewing, released monthly. The sample will start with 4,000 home increasing to 60,000 by summer and 300K by the end of the year.
Meanwhile Turner Broadcasting is the latest to make a stab at how many people watch Netflix. Its numbers peg Netflix as the number 1 TV network in total day in the US in Q4 2015. It based its estimates on the gross streaming hours data Netflix releases.
Netflix announced it will use data from all customers around the world to make better recommendations. In other words recommendations are made based on personal taste not regional taste.
The CBS All Access service had some streaming problems during the Grammys last Monday but eventually saw a 247% increase in time spent watching over last year. It was the single biggest sign up day for the service yet.

Under Surveillance

Dispatches From The Front

Hey guys. Really enjoy the show. Wanted to let you know about a free web app I have created that other CordKillers might find useful. It's called NetCat and it lets you quickly access the over 200 hidden categories, subcategories, genres, & sub-genres on Netflix. There's also a Random Category generator & a fun Netflix inspired emoji blog. Here's the link:

Thanks, - Eric

Hi Brian, Tom and Bryce

To Brian's point about watching shows while playing Hearthstone, I found the perfect companion in Geek and Sundry's "Critical Role" show.

It's a group of very talented voice actors playing D&D, with a laughs, drama and tension to rival any scripted TV shows. I don't play D&D, but it's got me totally hooked.

Although it's a continuous story you can jump in at any point. I recommend trying episode 18 which guest stars Felicia Day and Jennifer Hale

BTW, talking about WYWWYWOADDYW, I listen to CordKillers in the pool with my waterproof MP3 player!


- James in the UK

Brian and Tom,

Just to comment on the 800,000 subs for HBO Now... I don't think this is a low number. Anyone who gets HBO from their cable package can get streaming HBO through HBO Go. The only people who would subscribe to HBO Now are those people who want HBO and do not have cable. This gives a much smaller pool of people to draw from than the pool of potential customers for any other service (such as Netflix). As such it is a completely skewed comparison to compare HBO Now's 800K subs to Netflix's 24M(?) subs.

- Lloyd

Hello Tom and Brian,

I just watch the episode and I wanted to responded to Toms comment about The Thunderbirds are go TV show. To summarize the article that goes into detail: The Thunderbirds is not completely CG. From what I understand the characters themselves will be CG. The stage sets and vehicles are done as real live models done by Weta Workshops. Yes, the same Weta that worked on King Kong, LotR/Hobbit trilogies and whole lot of movies.

I am a fan and I will see Thunderbirds when it comes out.

Keep the good work going,

- David from Riverside, CA



Preceded by:
"DVRs, Still a Thing"
Free the Box!
Followed by:
"Oh the Humanity!"