Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, August 16th, 2022
No, the TV bundle is not back.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, August 16th, 2022.
NO, THE BUNDLE IS NOT BACK
There are certain often-used streaming industry narratives that make me absolutely insane and at the top of the list is the claim that we are entering the time of the "great rebundling." The theory is that in the dinosaur days of the 1990s and early aughts, media companies made wheelbarrows full of money by combining cable channels together and selling them as a very profitable (and expensive) bundle. And apparently industry types see that content prison as the natural norm, not a momentary glitch in the business model of the industry.
And like clockwork, every time a streamer raises its price or cuts a distribution partnership, a flurry of think pieces get posted arguing that "hey, all of this streaming stuff is going to cost as much as a cable package" and "all of these different streaming services are starting to feel like a new bundle."
Today's entry in the rebundling hot take universe comes courtesy of Axios, which used yesterday's Walmart+/Paramount+ as the framing for "The TV Bundle Is Back":
Facing saturation in the U.S., most major streamers are launching cheaper ad-supported streaming tiers, and are beginning to bundle their offerings — often the cheaper plans — with other subscriptions to attract more users.
Why it matters: The streaming era was supposed to give consumers more choice, but streaming options increasingly resemble the bloated cable bundles they sought to replace.
I....don't even know what to say. The cable bundles are designed to extract as much money as possible from customers as possible. Unlike individual streaming services, you can't pick and choose the channels you subscribe to. And often the only way to get even a reasonable monthly price for cable TV is to also sign up for the dreaded bundle of internet and phone. Which offers a discounted price, but often with a minimum one-year agreement.
Be smart: Data from TV research firm Magid finds that consumers haven't increased their roughly $40 monthly streaming budgets since 2019.
Even with more ad-supported options, streaming companies are going to have to begin bundling their services if they want to increase their reach.
Some companies, like Disney, offer consumers a discount to purchase a bundle of all three of their streaming services, including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.
Paramount offers a bundled discount for Paramount+ and Showtime. Warner Bros. Discovery has begun to offer some bundled deals for HBO Max customers to access discovery+.
But once again, that's nothing like a cable bundle. If it was, subscribers would have to subscribe to every major streaming service in one package and wouldn't be able to drop any individual streamers. Which is completely opposite of the reality of the business.
Part of this insistence on the mythical bundling future is that journalist's often reflect the attitude of the executives they cover on a regular basis. And industry old-timers love the concept of the old cable bundle. Because churn was lower, profits were high and increased content costs were just automatically passed along to hapless customers. Not surprisingly, subscribers don't look back on those days with any fondness and there is close to zero chance they will willingly sign on to any new bundle that limits their choices while raising their monthly fees.
SPEAKING OF STREAMING INDUSTRY MISCONCEPTIONS
I have some pieces posting tomorrow that examine some of the misconceptions people have about the streaming industry. I'll have more about this in tomorrow's newsletter, but what things do you think the public or the industry press get wrong about the streaming industry? Replay to this newsletter directly with your thoughts or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll include some of your comments in tomorrow's newsletter.
I'll tease you with this misconception. It's widely believed that Netflix never shares viewing numbers directly with producers and show creators. But in one case, that isn't correct. There is a country in which Netflix not only shares the exact number of viewers some titles have seen, the company also pays residuals based on those viewing numbers.
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THAT'S A LONG LIST OF OFF-LIMITS TOPICS
The Hollywood Reporter's Ryan Gajewski has an interview with Jennette McCurdy and the most interesting part of it is the list of all the things she *won't* talk about:
During the below interview, McCurdy declined to discuss her passages about “The Creator,” her on-set experiences with former co-stars, her time on her Netflix series and her allegation in the book that Nickelodeon offered her $300,000 in perceived hush money upon her exit. (THR has reached out to Nickelodeon for comment.)
I get it. She is promoting her book and other projects, so she doesn't want to her press coverage to be dominated by discussions about Nickelodeon and Dan Schneider. But given some of the charges she leveled in the book, refusing to talk about the subject in interviews doesn't feel very transparent to me.
I’m sure she finds the questions uncomfortable, and it distracts from what she wants to discuss, which is her relationship with her late mother. But the story of Dan Schneider is one of the big Hollywood controversies just waiting to be fully discussed.
AND SPEAKING OF INTERVIEWS AND STATEMENTS
Variety is touting an "exclusive" statement from Ezra Miller, who is seeking to favorably spin their recent string of legal issues and assault and abuse allegations. It turns out that the exclusive isn't an interview, but a short statement issued a representative of the actor:
“Having recently gone through a time of intense crisis, I now understand that I am suffering complex mental health issues and have begun ongoing treatment,” Miller says. “I want to apologize to everyone that I have alarmed and upset with my past behavior. I am committed to doing the necessary work to get back to a healthy, safe and productive stage in my life."
As a journalist, I got a chuckle from this awkward sourcing:
A source close to the studio says that Warner Bros. supports Miller’s decision to seek professional help.
"Close to the studio?" What exactly does that mean? "Well, I went to college with the studio and we've stayed in touch over the years."
ODDS AND SODS
* Former Baywatch/Baywatch Nights star Donna D'Errico is launching an OnlyFans account.
* Great American Family has released details about five new rom-com movies it is airing on Saturdays in August and September.
* As it turns out, the 4-track tape cartridge was not the future of music.
* Ahmad Rashad is leaving GSN's game show Tug of Words. New host of the show for its second season is Samantha Harris from Dancing With the Stars and Extra.
TWEET OF THE DAY
WHAT'S NEW FOR TUESDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Dark Side Of Comedy Series Premiere (Vice)
Cherif Season Six Premiere (MHz Choice)
Devils Season Premiere (The CW)
Hotties Series Premiere (Hulu)
Leonardo Series Premiere (The CW)
Merjen Series Premiere (MHz Choice)
7 Little Johnstons Season Premiere (TLC)
The Sandhamn Murders Season Eight Premiere (MHz Choice)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.