Folded Like a House of Cards

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Folded Like a House of Cards
Number 131
Broadcast Date August 1, 2016
Episode Length 1:00:22
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests John Anealio, Patrick Hester

How Netflix tried to wow the critics, Comcast’s dilemma might benefit cordcutters, and what really happened with Apple TV. With special guests John Anealio and Patrick Hester. Check out their podcast, Functional Nerds.


Intro Video

Primary Target

Sarandos: “Subscriber growth, not ratings drives our revenue.”
Not worried about Q2 subscriber growth
On track for $6 billion on content this year. More in 2017.
Indicated globally OITNB, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad and Gilmore Girls are successful
40 family programs by end of year
94-year-old Norman Lear will reboot One Day at a Time
No renewal yet for Stranger Things yet
Chelsea Handler renewed.
New season of Arrested Development as early as next year
On Peak TV: “There are too many mediocre safe shows on television.” “We vote to keep the bar high and keep them coming.”
On renewal decisions: audience to cost, season completion, audience satisfaction, social buzz, critical response
On releasing The Ranch two seasons a year and splitting The Get Down into two seasons. All about getting eps. on air as soon as possible
“The gap between desire and availability is piracy,”

Signals Intelligence

Comcast 5% drop quarterly earnings
Beat expectations in growth of Internet and business services
Lost fewer TV subs than expected 4,000 v. 69K last year
TV revenue rose 6%
Universal film studio's revenue slid 40 percent to $1.35 billion ("The Huntsman: Winter's War" and "Warcraft.")
VZN lost 41K TV (strike)
Dish lost 281K (Sat and Sling - carriage fights)
DirecTV UP 342K
Charter Aug. 9

Gear Up

The Wall Street Journal reports Apple's negotiating tactics over customer information and fees killed streaming agreements with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and the studios that make TV programs. Apple famously wants control over customer data and reportedly would not agree to automatic annual rate increases. Apple also wanted full seasons of all top shows on demand and to allow commercial skipping.
It attempts to mimic the physical remote but has the advantage of being able to use the iOS keyboard for text entry. It can also work with password managers.

Front Lines

HBO head of programming Casey Bloys has now confirmed GAME OF THRONES to end after eight seasons. Bloys said that HBO have had some exploratory talks about a spin-off show, but there were no firm plans.
CBS says it has around 2 million total subscribers for All Access and Showtime, split evenly between the two. CEO Les Moonves says it is well ahead of where they thought they'd be.
CBS will make a 16 episodes of a spinoff series of James Corden's Carpool Karoke that will be hosted by Apple. The host is yet to be announced.
Starz is developing a US version of British comedy Peep Show. Peep Show's original creators, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, will serve as consulting producers with Eilfred's Eli Jorne executive producing.
Mitch Hurwitz has finished a recut of Arrested Development's Netflix season from 15 30-minute episodes to 22 20-minute episodes. Ron Howard recorded new voiceovers to fit the new pace.
Starting September 1st you'll need to pay the UK licence fee if you want to access BBC iPlayer programming. Previously a license was only required to access live streaming programming on iPlayer.

Under Surveillance

Dispatches From The Front

Just a quick note on the Netflix numbers from last week. Netflix blamed it's lack of growth on churn due to the price hike, but I would venture to guess that the churn is actually due to the fact that isn't this the first quarter since Netflix started to crack down on VPN\SmatDNS services? I wonder how many users can now no longer access Netflix therefore canceled their membership. I am sure that if this is the case, Netflix is surely aware, but would rather blame it on the price hike, as this prevents them from reporting the actual number of users who where bypassing the region restrictions, and mucking with content negotiations.

Just a thought

- Woogi

Joe form Madison is thinking of canceling Netflix for his own reasons.

He writes ""I've found myself spending a lot of time searching netflix for new content to watch ... and switching over to Youtube, Hulu, and Amazon for fresh content.

Part of me wants to keep netflix just to be loyal .. but the other part of me recognizes I have the power to start and stop service as I feel free.

You guys have mentioned subscription fatigue a lot lately too. FWIW - I have none the such.. I am thrilled with all the options and invite more.. it's going to be on them to keep my attention with fresh or at least engagable rewatchable content. Until netflix's new series come out ... they may be in a dry spell for me.

Hi Brian and Tom,

In episode 130 during your Netflix subscriber discussion, you didn't bring up the unverifiable, wild speculation that there could perhaps be a correlation between the Proxy crackdown and the reported higher than expected churn rate.

For the international subscribers who used 'ways and means' to get access to Netflix's wider catalogue, the cost increase would have been less devastating than the large chunk of programming that was just no longer available at ANY price.

Meanwhile, while this is completely anecdotal, Amazon doesn't seem to have a problem doing what Netflix used to do; implement region restrictions for content but not try really hard to limit proxy and DNS redirection services.

Amazon also now provides a [very] limited subset of their original programming for Prime subscribers while they are overseas (see screen shot.) It wouldn't surprise me if they are actively gauging international interest and formulating their plans accordingly...

<looks knowingly at the ""Amazon Prime Video investment in India"" story>


- Graham

PyTivo may be an option to replace Tivo Desktop Plus, It looks a bit complicated to set up but it may do what the writer [from last week] was looking to do.

Another writer asked about Hallmark channel for Sling TV or PS Vue. Feeln is a way to watch most Hallmark movies and TV shows but will not let you live stream. It is a small panacea not a perfect replacement but you can get it right now for $69.99 / 2yrs (comes to ~$2.92/mo [Monthly alone is $5.99 or yearly for $35.99]. All pretty good if you are a fan of the channel.

- Greg



Preceded by:
"Subscribe, Binge, Unsub, Repeat"
Folded Like a House of Cards
Followed by:
"No, That's RedTube"