Fixing the price of music

Media businesses have long operated from the premise of inherent value — that each media property has some fixed and immutable appeal based on its particular inputs.

TV not going anywhere

Perhaps the toughest finding for pay-TV providers in the Digitalsmiths survey is that the most prominent reasons respondents cited for preferring OTT and third-party services are not things operators can do much about.

Blockbuster’s death by balance sheet

Long before streaming became widely available, Blockbuster suffered two major blows that had little to do with technology per se but left the company severely weakened, both strategically and financially.

Surprise! Netflix Users Like TV

It should be no surprise, then, that self-reported Netflix users also watch a lot of regular TV, and have a higher incidence of Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus usage.

Disney’s first-mover advantage

Disney struck at the moment when landing a major studio deal in the pay-TV window probably has the greatest strategic value to Netflix. It’s unlikely Netflix will be willing or able to make many more such deals with other studios, however.

Following the money: What Carl Icahn sees in Netflix

Carl Icahn is clearly betting he can force Netflix into a sale that will produce a windfall for his stake. But if that doesn’t work he will almost certainly go after the cash Reed Hastings is now spending in Latin America and Europe.

Today in Connected Consumer

Verizon and Redbox announced in a press release this morning that they are forming a joint venture to offer video streaming and downloads beginning later this year, in addition to Redbox’s DVD rental kiosk business. The press release is sketchy on details of the planned service, such as pricing, title availability and whether it will offer subscriptions. But an SEC filing on the joint venture refers to Verizon making available to the venture “certain rights to video programming content delivered via broadband networks,” which sounds like the TV rights currently owned by Verizon FiOS. Redbox will make available “Blu-ray Disc rental nights from Redbox kiosks,” an apparent reference to whatever direct distribution deals Redbox currently has with studios. The puzzling part to me is the ownership structure of the venture. Verizon will own 65 percent and control three of the five board seats, while Redbox will own 35 percent and two seats. Given that Redbox currently generates 84 percent of Coinstar’s revenue, it seems odd that Coinstar would give up control of its biggest business, unless it were entertaining serious doubts about the business’ long-term future.

Netflix and new releases

Netflix has been successful over the years at taking advantage of the weaknesses of competing services, and based on its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company appears to be sticking with its current plan. But over time, three factors could impact the perceived value of what Netflix offers and eventually force it to shift strategies.