Saturday, October 18, 2014

Streaming: CBS Versus Hulu

While everyone is talking about HBO versus Netflix (not as much as I thought), the bigger battle is between CBS's new service verus Hulu.

Hulu has been around 2007. It's a join venture between Disney, NBC, and Fox to pull together various current season TV series, some older series, and an assortment of movies not really worth watching. The thing with Hulu is that many of the shows are also available on these three major broadacast stations, ABC, FOX, and NBC. Hulu provides a centralized hub for these videos and others.

Years ago, the blog chatters have been between Hulu and Netflix but they really target different markets with Netflix offering no current season videos but a vast library of older content, and a growing library of its own original series and movies.

With CBS now offering own CBS All Access for $5.99, the question we have to ask if its worth it? The short and quick answer is absolutely not. While it does offer many if its own content, it excludes many shows and sports like NFL and Big Bang Theory. Oh, and you're going to have to sit through commercials, just like you have to with Hulu. Such double dipping makes no sense.

And with $2 more, you can get Hulu for three times the content with three of the four major networks.

Furthermore, I'm rooting against services like CBS and Hulu. After all, much of the content they offer are already free if you're willing to jump from app to app to watch them. That's what I do now via my mobile devices. If I want to watch the Arrow, I'll use the CW app. The Blacklist on NBC, and Castle and Agents of Shield on the ABC app. In having to save myself $8 a month from having to subscribe to Hulu, it's well worth this first-world "hassle".

And just because you pay Hulu or CBS for access that are free on their their website, episodes are metered in that they are available for a few weeks at a time. Say you start on the Blacklist and watch the first two episodes and got busy. You come back to it a few weeks later, you suddenly find that not only are the first four episodes no longer available for streaming, you have only access to the latest three or four episodes. It makes no sense for paid service to work this way.

Furthermore, if you really want to stream live content, set up a Slingbox and stream them from your tablets.

And reason I would like to see CBS fail is this: consider having to pay $24 for free over-the-air content. And then what happens if CNN, ESPN, or TNT wish to offer their own content? $10 to $15 a channel? It then starts to add up.

I'm hoping eventually, the studios will realize bringing the "cable" model on their own and sell direct to users will not work. They'll have to realize that they cannot charge more just because they are standalone services and not bundled.

Only time will tell but if CBS's new scheme works out. My spidey-sense is tell me it won't.

Sent from my iPad

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