nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

CandW discuss Google skinny bundle, VUDU Movies on Us

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Google skinny bundle, called Unplugged, signed CBS network stations to appear in the package. VUDU introduced a free-ad-supported streaming service Movies on Us. Facebook Live now allows scheduled broadcasts, and LeEco is bringing its electronics and content ecosystem approach to the US.

Chapter 1: Google recruits CBS for its skinny bundle (1:20)

The Google Unplugged skinny bundle TV services hasn’t drawn as much press as DirecTV and Hulu, but it appears to be starting out in the right direction. Will is convinced local channels are an important part of any skinny bundle mix, and Google has just signed CBS for its Unplugged service. The company is also reported to be in advanced negotiations with NBCU.

I think Google has two big advantages in launching Unplugged. Firstly, it can leverage the YouTube infrastructure to deliver the service. Secondly it can leverage YouTube’s enormous reach to promote it. This could give it a massive advantage over other skinny bundle providers.

Chapter 2: VUDU Movies on Us (8:20)

VUDU’s launch of the ad-supported Movies on Us free streaming service gets two big thumbs up from Will and I. Will points out that there is very little opportunity to watch quality movies for free online, and this will fill that void. I like the fact that it should help promote VUDU’s core t-commerce business. It’s also great that the company isn’t compromising VUDU’s extremely high quality standards for the free content.

Chapter 3: Facebook Live allows scheduled broadcasts (14:30)

Facebook Live is allowing providers to schedule broadcasts. Providers can schedule events a week in advance, fans get a notification in their news feed of the event, they can follow the event, and they will be put in a virtual lobby before the broadcast begins. Bleacher Report is using this to schedule and broadcast high school football games this fall season.

This build out of live broadcasting online reminds me a little of how the television industry built out the network of broadcast towers to carry their TV channels. It feels like the infrastructure to support similar, though more advanced, functionality online is being established by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Chapter 4: LeEco US launch (19:10)

LeEco has combined aggressively priced smartphones and smart TVs with online video services to attract a large audience into its expanding ecosystem. It is trying the same approach in the US. This week it launched an 85” UHD HDR TV priced at $5000 ($4000 in an inaugural sale starting November 2nd.) It also launched a pair of smartphones. The top of line Le Pro3 seems roughly equivalent to Google’s $700 Pixel, but costs just $399 ($299 in the upcoming sale.)

Impressive as this sounds the LeEco provided few details about the two content services, LeLive and “Le”, that will be on all the devices. There didn’t appear to be any major advantages, for customers or content providers, in the company’s content service approach.

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