Apple's bundle / Quibi's baffling customer survey / HBO Max drama heats up

Who bundles first? Apple or Amazon? Why is Quibi sending surveys via email? And WarnerMedia's latest move to put pressure on Amazon to #releasethemax


Presented by 43Twenty

Apple's revisiting an entertainment bundle but Amazon may beat them to it

It’s been long-rumored that Apple was going to introduce a mega-bundle that includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, and more in a single subscription. 9to5Mac found evidence that Apple is indeed working on this bundle, based on iOS 13.5.5 beta code. In my opinion, an entertainment bundle from Apple is inevitable (here’s some thoughts on why it’d be a good idea).


Apple’s interested in amassing subscribers as fast as possible and bundling its services is probably the best way to get there. Apple Music has done well, currently having over 60 million subscribers, largely due to the fact that the app’s pre-installed on iPhones and in the pockets of millions of people. Historically, that strategy hasn’t been as successful working in the other direction -- getting people to buy new Apple devices. But giving away TV+ for free to new buyers of iPhones, iPads, and Macs was a great start. Depending on who you ask, TV+ has anywhere from 10-33 million customers. Apple has not officially announced any numbers. 


In its quest to become an entertainment super-bundle, Apple has faced early hiccups in its talks with record labels. Some executives fear that margins could take a hit if Apple undercuts the $9.99 monthly price it currently charges for its music streaming service.


But Apple still controls their own bundling destiny. While they have to license music rights and subsequently share revenues with the record labels, they solely own the rights to the content being created for Apple TV+.


And because TV+ content costs are fixed, Apple could theoretically bundle those services together for $12.99 per month without putting much pressure on music rights holders to offer a discount.  


The company could also consider bundling TV+ with other Apple TV Channels such as Britbox, Acorn TV, and Smithsonian Channel. For smaller SVOD channels, being offered as part of a greater bundle could help increase subscriber base. 


But here’s a prediction...look for Amazon to go to market with channel bundles before Apple does.


Quibi wants to hear from you

Last week, Quibi sent its users a survey asking for feedback about how the service could be better. What’s baffling is that the company decided to send the survey via email instead of within its mobile app. 


Sending the survey via an in-app message would have been a better decision for two reasons. For starters, Quibi is purposely only available via mobile. So wouldn’t it make sense to present a survey to users in the context of the application they’re actually using? Instead, they’re reserving their use of in-app messages to remind me that my trial expires in 22 days. 


And I guess my second point just reinforces the first one. Email campaigns just simply don’t match up to the responsiveness of in-app surveys in my experience. And sure they could have split sends across email and mobile, but they didn’t. The surveys were only sent via email. 


And it should be noted that when they sent the survey on June 10th, it was open for a week (June 17th). When I attempted to complete it on June 13th, I received the following message.


“Thanks for your interest in taking our survey! This survey is now closed.”


Meg, please call me. 🤗


“HBO Now” is now “HBO”, but cable customers will have to go to “Max” instead of “HBO Go”

Confused? You should be, but before you take to Twitter and yell at WarnerMedia for the brand confusion, just understand that this is the product of a company that’s realigning itself for a direct-to-consumer future.


As we wrote in Why WarnerMedia would launch HBO Max without Amazon or Roku, you need to understand how we even got to HBO having essentially four products; HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO Max.


When HBO launched its TV Everywhere catch-up app in 2010, they were not allowed to brand it “HBO”, which was due to existing contracts with cable and satellite providers. As a result, “HBO Go” was born.


Five years later, the company dipped its toe into direct-to-consumer distribution and again, couldn’t call the new service “HBO”. They also wanted to differentiate the new product from the cable authenticated “HBO Go”. So in 2015, “HBO Now” arrived. 


It was known HBO Now and HBO would be phased out, leaving only HBO Max. Basically the app would resemble STARZ which allows customers to login with either their STARZ account or cable subscription. 


So why now? Well, look no further than Amazon and Roku, which don’t have deals (yet) in place for HBO Max.


The HBO Go app will be phased out on every platform including Amazon and Roku beginning July 31st. HBO Go customers will then be directed to use HBO Max. The problem is that, as of now, there’s not going to be an HBO Max app available on Roku or Amazon, leaving HBO Go users on these platforms without access to HBO programming, which is certain to upset many.


And those people will most likely take up their frustration with Roku or Amazon. So this move, while not the most consumer-friendly, is meant to add pressure on both distribution partners to release the HBO Max app.


Your move Roku and Amazon.


#releasethemax


MORE FROM THE FRONT LINES


Netflix launches Black Lives Matter collection with ‘When They See Us’, ‘Becoming’, and more. The special collection of more than 45 movies, shows, and documentaries, which is currently available for all U.S. subscribers, launched last Wednesday morning as a pop-up on Netflix's homepage. To find the Black Lives Matter collection, head to the homepage, or type “Black Lives Matter” into the search bar. U.S. subscribers can also access the collection online at netflix.com/blacklivesmatter. Netflix further explained the significance of its BLM collection in a tweet. “When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we also mean ‘Black storytelling matters,'” wrote the official account this morning. “With an understanding that our commitment to true, systemic change will take time — we’re starting by highlighting powerful and complex narratives about the Black experience.” Link


Related:11 important tv shows and movies to further your education on black history. SecretNYC


Advertisers prepare for a September logjam of live sports. With the NBA slated to return on July 31, the TV ad market will go from famine to feast. However, starved as audiences and advertisers have been for live sports, now the question is whether viewers can stomach the buffet of games coming their way, especially in September with the NBA playoffs likely going up against the start of the NFL’s regular season and potentially college football, NHL playoffs and even MLB games. The condensed early schedule and expected collision with other sports have agencies drafting scenarios for how a glut of games may affect viewership. “Inherently, there will be an initial spike and maybe some falloff,” said one agency executive. Agencies are also talking with the TV networks to understand how they might schedule games to mitigate overlap among various sports. Link


AMC Networks expands streaming offerings.Last Wednesday, AMC Networks announced that it has expanded its streaming video offerings, launching AMC Plus and WE tv Plus, two commercial-free SVOD products initially available to Comcast Xfinity cable and Xfinity Flex broadband subscribers. AMC Networks is offering the new streaming bundles to other pay-TV providers as well, however, Comcast is just the first to sign on. Link


Kids spent 100 minutes watching YouTube last month, a 75% jump from a year ago. According to Qustodio, YouTube and TikTok have dominated the time kids spend watching content while sheltering in place. In May, American children between the ages of 4-15 years old watched nearly 100 minutes per day on YouTube on average, up 75% from the same time last year. Worldwide, the average comes to 85 minutes per day spent surfing YouTube. YouTube’s popularity among kids ages 4-15 towers over all sites and social media apps, except TikTok. Children in the U.S. last month, on average, spent 95 minutes per day on TikTok; it’s also growing faster than YouTube, with time spent on TikTok surging 150% from the same time last year. Link


WOW! quietly pulls its WOW! tv+ IPTV service from its website. The company announced WOW! tv+ in March and began testing out the Android TV-based service in my hometown Columbus, Ohio. In May, it added Cleveland and mid-Michigan to the list of markets with WOW! tv+. However, all three of the WOW! website landing pages for those markets now feature no mention of the product and only direct customers to a “Streaming TV” tab where the choices include YouTube TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, and Philo. Link


INSIGHTS


How new streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max stack up to Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu.New analysis from Reelgood dives into how many movies and TV shows each major streaming service has to offer, and how many are actually highly rated based on IMDb scores. It also broke down how much content each service offers in relation to its price. Link


TV streaming accounts will surpass 1 billion globally in 2020. This is according to GlobalData who says the number of online TV streaming accounts will reach 1.1 billion in 2020, surpassing traditional pay-TV accounts for the first time. This marks a watershed moment in the history of TV consumption and illustrates how the streaming revolution has changed the way that people consume TV content forever. Link


Covid-19’s economic fallout will accelerate pay-TV’s collapse. By 2024, traditional linear pay-TV subscribers are expected to decline by 27 million, down to less than half of all occupied U.S. households, according to research from MoffettNathanson. Consumer spending on traditional TV is expected to decrease by $23 billion from 2019 to 2014, bringing linear TV spending down to $76 billion in 2024—a low last seen in the industry during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. While vMVPDs will offset around 5 million, or around 20%, of traditional linear pay-TV subscription losses, there is still expected to be a 22 million decline in aggregate pay television subscribers over the next five years, according to the research. Link


Pandemic lifts niche video services overshadowed by streaming giants.The pandemic has turned out to be a rising tide that is lifting all video-streaming boats, not just the big ships like Netflix. Many niche video services, including Pantaya, BritBox and MHz Choice, all say their subscriber growth rate has roughly doubled since the pandemic began. AMC Networks, the owner of Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and UMC Urban Movie Channel, reported a similar trend. That runs counter to the perception before the pandemic that the growth of mass-market services would snuff out interest in more narrowly focused streamers. Link


Report: Streaming leads US customer satisfaction.Americans staying home are happier with their Internet and subscription TV service, according to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019-2020 from The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Link


Research: 1 in 7 OTT homes ‘borrowing’ accounts. Research from Ampere Analysis has revealed that one in seven online video households worldwide is ‘borrowing’ an account. Link


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT


‘Churn and burn’: Publishers are prioritizing subscription volume over immediate revenue. Digiday


Spotify continues building its podcast empire despite lockdown. The Drum


Intro to OTT cross-platform app development in 2020. Zemoga


Why WarnerMedia would launch HBO Max without Amazon or Roku. 43Twenty


What the rise of esports means for brands. The Drum


Roku makes an aggressive bid to take TV’s ad dollars. Variety


JOIN THE RANKS


Senior Product Manager, Content Engagement

Starz

Santa Monica, CA


U.S Strategy Manager

TikTok

Los Angeles, CA


VP Global Media Operations, Business Process Reengineering

ViacomCBS

New York City


Director, Program Management Monetization Tech

Warner Bros. Entertainment

Burbank, CA, US


VP of Engineering

Meredith Corporation

Stamford, CT


Senior Coordinator, Subscriber Engagement

EPIX

New York City


Vice President, Diversity + Inclusion

SiriusXM

New York City


Senior Technical Product Manager VPN

Amazon

Seattle, WA


Director, Design

The Trade Desk

New York City


VP, Partner & Account Management Funimation

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Culver City, CA


Associate Creative Director - Services Marketing, Apple TV+

Apple

Culver City, CA


Director, Software Engineering - Video Streaming

NBCUniversal

Stamford, Connecticut


Director of Digital Marketing

VIDGO

Atlanta, GA


Director, Sports Communications

Showtime

New York CityVP, CDN Delivery 

NBCUniversal

Stamford, CT


Vice President, Human Resources (Technology)

CBS Interactive

New York City


Creative Director

Showtime

New York City


Head of Advertising Technology and Operations

The Weather Channel

Atlanta, GA


Executive Director, Content Analytics

Starz

New York City


Senior Account Director

Cleeng

New York City


VP - Programming Data Insights

AMC Networks

New York City


Director, Social Media

Hulu

Santa Monica, CA


Director, Strategy

Pluto TV

West Hollywood, CA


Global Channel Sales Digital Program and Digital Commerce Director - Beats

Apple

Culver City, CA


VP, Data Engineering - HBO Max

WarnerMedia

Burbank, CA, US


Vice President, Human Resources

CBS

Miami, FL


Head of US Media, Amazon Prime Video Originals Series 

Amazon

Culver City, CA


Vice President, Finance

Sony Music Entertainment

New York City

The Streaming Wars is a weekly newsletter providing the most important

direct-to-consumer video news, insights and good eats directly to your inbox.

Curated by 43Twenty founder Kirby Grines.

Thanks for submitting!