Thursday, March 23, 2023

Newsmax returns to DirecTV Stream

There was a dust-up recently about DirecTV (and DirecTV Stream) dropping Newsmax from its lineup. I didn't weigh in on it, but I probably should have.

Since I don't subscribe to DirecTV Stream (or any of the expensive live streaming services) it didn't impact me. Newsmax has a Roku app (although it's buggy) that I could use if I wanted to watch the content.

Honestly, any time something comes to or leaves an expensive live streaming service, I don't really care. I don't subscribe to those services (except for college football season, when I'll subscribe to Sling TV or some other service to get ESPN).

However, I do not like it when content is pulled from a service. Usually, it's over money. Heck, it's always over money. And the outcome is always people paying more for a service. (But not me, since I don't subscribe anyway.)

Now, word is that Newsmax returns to DirecTV Stream (and DirecTV satellite service) today:

"Newsmax recognizes and appreciates that DIRECTV clearly supports diverse voices, including conservative ones," said Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax. "As a standalone company, DIRECTV helped give Newsmax its start nearly a decade ago as it continues to do with upcoming news networks, which is why we are pleased to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that will deliver our network to DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM and U-verse customers over the next several years."

"This resolution with Newsmax, resolving an all-too-common carriage dispute, underscores our dedication to delivering a wide array of programming and perspectives to our customers," said Bill Morrow, CEO of DIRECTV. "Through our persistent negotiations, we reached a resolution under mutually-agreeable business terms allowing us to deliver the conservative news network at the right value -- a reflection of the free market at work."

Newsmax will be available on DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-verse customers, rejoining the now expanded and diversified news lineup, which includes six 24/7 news networks.

See? They're playing nice. Until the next time. Which again won't impact me, as I don't expect to be paying for a high-priced live streaming service, when I can get so much so cheaper in my Streaming Life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Why costs for streaming keep rising

There is an analysis about the increasing costs of streaming services over on The Streaming Advisor.

Ryan Downey wrote his column after the recent announcement by YouTube TV of a price increase. I think he's on to something:

This has always been the issue with pay TV services since cable TV first hit the scene. If a service offers more content options it has to charge the customer more. But if it doesn’t offer certain content options customers may decide to jump to another service to get it. The problem is that the competition has not led to innovative pricing. It has caused them to balloon. That is because the channel owners demand what they consider fair fees for the content.

I don't disagree with Mr. Downey. Prices go up all the time. More competition usually leads to lower prices, but I think there is more to it than that.

A lot of things have gone up by a surprising amount in the last three years. I think that as a result, we are more accepting of price increases as a result. We're simply going along with it. They are raising the prices, not because they need to (though it may figure into it) but because they can.

The financial policies of the country have created an environment that is not consumer friendly. As a result, every aspect of your life, including your Streaming Life, has suffered.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

YouTube TV price increase

Are you tired of having to pay $65/month for YouTube TV? Well, there's good news. And bad news. Really bad news.

The good news is that starting April 18, you won't have to pay $65/month for YouTube TV.

The bad news, the really bad news, is the price is going up to $73/month.

YouTube TV sent an email around to customers recently. It explains things, at least from the Google perspective.

We have an important update for our members. After nearly 3 years, we’re adjusting our monthly price from $64.99/month to $72.99/month. As content costs have risen and we continue to invest in the quality of our service, we are updating our price to keep bringing you the best possible service.

Your YouTube TV Base Plan membership price will change in your first billing cycle on or after April 18, 2023, and will be charged to your payment method on file going forward. To view your current plan, go to your Settings > Membership page for updated information. If you are currently on a Base Plan promotional price or a trial, that promotion is still honored and unchanged.

We will also be lowering the price of our 4K Plus add-on from $19.99/month to $9.99/month. Users new to 4K Plus are eligible for a $4.99/month for 12 months promotional offer.* For existing users, if you are on a promotional price below $10/month, you’ll enjoy that price until the promotional period is over, at which point you’ll automatically receive the new price of $9.99/month. If you’re currently paying above $9.99/month, your new price will be $9.99/month.

We hope YouTube TV continues to be your service of choice, but we also understand that some members may want to cancel their service. Family managers have the ability to cancel anytime here. For additional information, please visit our Help Center.

The YouTube TV team

It's true that there hasn't been a price increase from YouTube TV for a while. However, a price increase is still a price increase. And there seems to be a lot of them recently. Everything has gone up since 2021, it seems.

How can you avoid the price increase? This may be a good time to sit down and decide if you really need YouTube TV. Or any live streaming service.

If you don't need to stream local channels, then you could subscribe to a cheaper service. If you have an antenna, or simply don't watch local TV -- sometimes Hulu gets you all the network TV shows on a next day basis -- then a cheaper live streaming service may be the way to go.

Or don't subscribe to a live streaming service at all. I don't.

Well, that's not true. I do subscribe to Frndly TV. That ($7/month) and Hulu ($7/month) get me all I want to pay for. Perhaps it's time you sat down and seriously considered if you're really getting value from paying so much for a live streaming service. Your Streaming Life may not need to cost so much.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Tubi is number one

For some time, Pluto TV has been the top free ad-supported television (FAST) service. Pluto TV has ruled the roost for years.

Not any more.

Tubi has taken over as the top FAST service, according to recent stats.

This is a bit of a surprise, as I've just gotten into the mindset that Pluto TV was the top FAST service. It always has been, and always will be.

Only, reality has stepped in.

Pluto TV is now the second largest free live streaming service, and Tubi TV is the new king of the FAST services, with 1% of all streaming, compared to Pluto TV's 0.7%:

"Reaching 1% of total viewing minutes is a huge milestone for us because it validates we are driving massive viewership and our data-informed personalization and recommendations get the right content in front of the right people," said Mark Rotblat, Chief Revenue Officer at Tubi. "Advertisers can feel confident that our light ad loads, addressability and tools for cross-screen planning and measurement are built with their success in mind and they can shift a significant portion of their video investment dollars to a 100% addressable audience on Tubi."

Tubi is now owned by FOX and used FOX's super bowl this year to push the free service with several virtual ads. It seems that big ad spend has helped Tubi grow and become the largest free ad-supported service in America.

I actually prefer both Pluto TV and Xumo Play to Tubi, or at least did the last time I spent a lot of time looking at them. I need to spend more time with Tubi, so I can see if changes to the service justify it's new reign at the top.

Tubi TV has been a part of my Streaming Life for some time. It may become a bigger part soon.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

An Amazon browser?

There are rumors that Amazon is looking to launch a Web browser.

If you've used Fire TV devices, or Kindle Fire devices, you've seen the Silk browser. So you know Amazon already has a browser. But, it's only been available on some Amazon devices.

It seems as if Amazon is looking to release a browser for other platforms now, including your computer or mobile phone, according to Cord Cutters News:

Recently Amazon started to email customers to see if they would be interested in using a browser on a desktop and laptop. Amazon already offers a browser on mobile devices, Fire TV, and Echo Show devices, but currently, the Amazon Silk Browser is not available on desktops and mobile devices. It first launched the Silk browser back in 2011.

A browser can be a very profitable tool for Amazon. First, Amazon could use it to push Amazon products and services. Secondly, Amazon can use it to collect data about their habits to better offer ads and services targeted at them.

I don't know if I would use it, as it likely is for collecting data, and I don't want to share any more of my data with Amazon, or anyone. My Streaming Life, like my regular life, is not for the benefit of others.