Difference between revisions of "Who Watches the Watch Parties?"

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Latest revision as of 21:59, 30 June 2020

Who Watches the Watch Parties?
Number 314
Broadcast Date June 1, 2020
Episode Length 1:01:11
Hosts Brian Brushwood, Tom Merritt
Guests Justin Robert Young

Will online co-watching break out of novelty? Plus, HBO Max has launched, Superman may still be Henry Cavill, and a new way to sharewatch Hulu and Plex with friends. All this and more on Cordkillers! With special guest Justin Robert Young.


Intro Video

Primary Target

Hulu and Plex both announced new co-watching features. Hulu Watch Party launched for subscribers on the no-ads tiers, and allows for co-watching with up to 8 people for on-demand content with integrated chat on hulu.com. The feature doesn't require a browser extension, and each viewer can control their own playback, with an option to “Click to Catch Up” to resync viewing. Meanwhile, Plex's "Watch Together" feature launched in beta and lets users watch either Plex on-demand content or from users' personal libraries. The feature syncs playback between viewers but there is no integrated chat. The number of viewers depends on the Plex server hardware, network connection, disk speed, and the streaming content. Watch Together is available on Apple TV, iOS, and Android, with Roku support on the way. The feature is free while in beta but will require a Plex Pass subscription once officially released. Earlier this month, HBO partnered with the browser extension Scener for co-watching, with up to 20 other people.

How to Watch

HBO Max launched in the United States on Wednesday. Most HBO subscribers got an app update giving them the option to access HBO Max at no additional cost or stay with just HBO Now for the time being. HBO Max includes all of HBO plus additional content from Warner Media including DC movies and TV shows. HBO is also no longer available as an Apple TV Channel. Existing subscribers through that method won't lose access but will not get updated Max content. However, Channel subscribers automatically get HBO Max, and are directed to download the Max app and sign in with their Apple account. And that may explain something: HBO Max is not available on Roku or Fire TV.
Amazon told Engadget it wants to offer HBO Max through Prime Video Channels, Amazon's equivalent Apple TV Channels. But unlike Apple, Amazon is insisting that HBO subscribers get Max through the Prime Video Channels saying, "We believe that if you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the new programming through the method you’re already using. That’s just good customer service and that’s a priority for us.”
Roku's still saying it wants to reach an agreement, so that seems to just be about the revenue sharing. Roku has played hardball lately.
Andy Forssell, executive vice president and general manager of WarnerMedia's direct-to-consumer products, tells CNET that the company has HBO Max applications ready to go for both Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

What to Watch

Deadline reports Apple will team up with Paramount to foot the bill for Martin Scorsese's western, Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Paramount was nervous about the cost so the deal will supposedly see the movie labeled an Apple Original while Paramount will still distribute theatrically.
Deadline reports that Warner Brothers is in talks with Henry Cavill to return as Superman, though not in a stand-alone Superman movie. Instead, Superman might show up in upcoming movies that are not in the can, such as Shazam 2, Black Adam or Aquman 2. He is not expected to appear in The Batman, according to Deadline.
Apple has ordered a complete series reboot of Fraggle Rock for Apple TV+. Short videos called Fraggle Rock: Rock On recently debuted on the service. The new Fraggle Rock series from the Jim Henson Company will reunite the original stars – Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley, and Uncle Travelling Matt – for new songs and adventures. Apple also acquired the 96 episode back catalogue of Fraggle Rock for Apple TV+, their first license deal.
This weekend, I watched some videoconference'd reunions. One was an interview with cast members from Star Trek: Voyager. Another was a table read of the pilot episodes of Kim's Convenience and Fresh Off the Boat. The combined casts did a private Q&A after for those who donated to COVID-19 relief. There have been many others including Lord of the Rings. Did y'all watch any of these now multitudinous reunions?

Eyes On

Front Lines

Disney Plus is set to launch in Japan on June 11. The monthly subscription will cost 700 Yen a month, about $6.50 US. Current subscribers to Disney Deluxe, from NTT DoCoMo will be upgraded to Disney Plus at no additional cost.
Netflix now owns the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Netflix will invest in the theatre’s renovation and will use it for special events, screenings and premieres during the week. The venue's nonprofit, American Cinematheque will remain nonprofit and continue to expand the theatre's movie and event programming.
Director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau arrived in Wellington, New Zealand Sunday to resume filming the Avatar sequel. Cameron and Landau will spend two weeks in quarantine before they can get back to work. Staff will return next week and must also self-isolate. New Zealand's borders are closed, however there is an exemption for activities of “significant economic value.”
Variety ran a story last week about some of the theaters reopening in the US. About 3 percent of indoor theaters in the US were open last week. A theater in Vidalia, Georgia saw weekend attendance in the 30s. The Ritz Theater in Thomaston, Georgia had nobody. Center Theaters in Oklahoma says attendance is about 25% what it usually is this time of year. Attendance at Elks Theater in Rapid City, South Dakota is down 70%. Variety also talked to theater owners who reopened in Texas and Utah. Some of them are using reopening to try out their new safety protocols.

Dispatches From The Front

Moving the account over for me was seamless as, by the time I cut the cord last December, I knew that HBO Max was coming and how to make sure the transition was as easy as possible. I signed up through the HBO NOW website, and I pay them directly.

I can watch HBO Max on my laptop at the moment but, like a lot of other people, I'm waiting for it to arrive on Roku. I do hope there's a separate app, too, because I don't see a way to bookmark shows or movies on the Roku Channel app, much less manage that from the road or have it sync up show progress with what I watch on my laptop.

- Avalon

Honestly, I don't know why HBO just didn't add the new material to HBO without making such a mess of things. "They could have announced that on May 27th your HBO get's even better!" I'm sure it had something to do with existing agreements and re-negotiating current deals. But what a mess of confusion they have created. Well, at least it gave the tech press something to write about for a few weeks. Thanks for the work you do,

- George

Hi everyone. Hope everyone has stayed safe and healthy with everything going on right now.

Just thought I'd report on how my transition to HBO Max has went? So far, not terrible. I am an HBO Now subscriber through Hulu. The app on my Android phone updated from HBO Now to Max at launch. My Rokus are stuck on Now for awhile until HBO and Roku make an agreement. For myself, that's not terrible. Because I discovered asking with Bryce that your que on HBO Now doesn't transfer to Max when you upgrade.

So seeing as I didn't write down my que on HBO Now before doing the upgrade, I fired up my Roku stick and added to my Max que on my phone everything I could see on my Now que on my bedroom TV. ...

Closing note, thank you to Merrill Barr for recommending "Harley Quinn" season 1 last week. I've been watching it with my YouTube TV account. So far I've watched 6 episodes. I hope the rest of the series shows up on HBO Max later this year.

- David

When talking about the Snyder cut of Justice League, Brian brought up all the free marketing that they were able to get just from the fan support. What's funny is that's the reason the producers changed the name of the movie John Wick from the original name Scorn. Apparently Keanu Reeves kept saying the movie was called John Wick. The co-creator, Derek Kolstad said in an interview, "Marketing was like, 'Dude, that's four to five million dollars in free advertising so far, so it's John Wick instead of Scorn'. I can't imagine it being Scorn now."

Thought you'd get a kick out of that.

- Ander

Hello, your boss here -

History 101 on Netflix is a masterful Covid compatible production. It is comprised entirely of one narrator and stock footage / B-roll. Not great, but totally watchable, would be interested on how cheaply they were able to get this done, and how many people realize what's going on with it.

Keep up the good work and don't forget to file your expense reports,
- John



Preceded by:
"Huge Bytes Online"
Who Watches the Watch Parties?
Followed by:
"Play It Again, Lamarr"