Tag Archives: hbo

Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate Partner on Epix FAIL

Paramount logo during the 1930s
Image via Wikipedia

I have written a fair amount about what I see as the complete obsolescent concept of a “premium movie channel” like HBO or Showtime but that hasn’t stopped Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate from teaming up to launch EPIX, a premium movie channel that I predict will fail faster than Middle East peace negotiations.  According to the NYT:

The channel has engendered its fair share of skepticism in the media world, partly because of questions about consumer demand for another movie channel and because, increasingly, viewers have more options for how to consume video. Cable executives say privately that they have little interest in carrying the channel, which could partly be a negotiating ploy. But it does not appear that they are remotely close to a deal with any of the major cable companies.

I honestly can’t understand the thinking behind this move.  Instead of focusing on how to bring their films to the widest possible audience in the broadest number of formats at the lowest price, these studios are trying to get consumers to pony up more cash for a basically broken system that forces them to watch films on the studio’s terms instead of their own.

Can you say “Epix FAIL”?

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HBO, Facing Obsolesence, Tries Threatening Inaugural Ball ‘Tubers

Image by Army.mil via Flickr

HBO, which has a completely obsolete business model at the moment, took a shot at relevance by securing the exclusive rights to film and air Barack Obama’s Inaugural Ball.

Now, via TechDirt, comes word that HBO is attempting to force the takedown of personal videos posted on YouTube that were shot by regular folks lucky enough to be in attendance last night.

The majority of these videos seem to be short clips shot on cellphones and it is pretty hard to imagine how their presence online could harm HBO’s “exclusive” rights.  Nobody is going to watch those videos as a replacement for HBO’s professionally shot and produced video nor will anyone mistake those videos for the work of HBO.

Not only is it just plain mean to attempt to stop folks from sharing their personal looks into a major historical moment but it makes HBO look bad.  Considering how few reasons there are to pay for HBO, you’ve got to wonder why they would risk web backlash…unless they were blind and ignorant when it comes to New Media.


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Free Advice for Whole Foods

Whole Foods in the Time Warner Bldg
Image by Susan NYC via Flickr

I was at Whole Foods today, the incredibly crowded one in the Time Warner Center, and noticed that there were ads running on the screen next to the display of the items I purchased.

For just a moment, it looked like the ads were actually related to what I was buying.  I quickly noticed this was not the case but that there were just five or six ads in rotation.

Strikes me as a huge missed opportunity.  There they are scanning every item I am buying so how hard would it be to have that information cross-referenced with the available ads and run ads that actually related to what I was buying.

Sure, I am done shopping for today but what a perfect time to plant an idea in my head for next time.

So, Whole Foods, link that scanner to the ad-delivery program and you might increase those sales in these tough times for no additional cost.

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Dear HBO, Showtime, et. al., Your Business Model is Absurd

HBO Signature logo in the US
Image via Wikipedia

It just sort of dawned on me how completely ridiculous the whole notion of a network like HBO is in today’s digital world.

Back when HBO was born, their big offering was the chance to see lots and lots of movies for a pretty low price.  Sure, you had to wait maybe a year for it to make it there from the big screen, and you had to watch it when they decided to air it and you had to want to see the movies they had licensed.

For a time, this wasn’t a bad deal.  It was a good enough deal that millions decided to pay an extra $20 or whatever for that programming. But that was before DVRs and Hulu and Boxee and NetFlix WatchNow and all the other ways I can watch all the same basic movies HBO (et. al.) offers but I can decide when I want to watch them and it’s FREE!.

Now, HBO (et. al.) are trying to convince people that, while you can see the same movies they charge you to watch for free through other methods BUT check it out, now they have original programming. Actually, they’ve had that for decades, but now it is the centerpiece, it’s what they’re asking you to pay for – and they’re asking for the same amount of money as before.

So, to review, HBO wants me to pay them a premium above and beyond my basic cable fees to watch original dramas and comedies. Isn’t that what all the basic cable channels already do? Sure, they have ads, but that’s what DVR is for.

That leaves only two things HBO (et. al.) still offer that you can’t get on basic cable – boobs and cursing.  Is that really worth $20 a month? Really?

Oh, and that HBO show you love enough to pay for, “Flight of the Conchords?”  Yeah, HBO is premiering the new season on FunnyOrDie.com. That’s a free website they bought.

Why the hell are people paying for HBO (et. al.)? Seriously? No kidding.  Leave me a comment.

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HBO Spares No Expense on New Web Series

I mean that literally.  HBO‘s web series, set in an elevator, looks like it costs $5.00 per episode to produce.  At that’s a good thing since this is what you get:

Via Tilzy I learned:

“When he signed on to Runawaybox, Tondorf wanted to create a series “impossibly simple” to produce, a locked-frame, one-take show that could deliver a fresh episode every day.  “I thought that something from an elevator security camera might be a fun idea, seeing as we’re all trapped in a small box with people we don’t know for an amount of time, often dropping in on their conversations and having no idea what they’re talking about.”

Christ, people in the industry wonder why nobody is watching their content on the internet but they produce content that is so completely marginal and doesn’t look anything like the content they would offer on TV.  It doesn’t even look as good as most of the UGC stuff out there.

Why bother, HBO?

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FunnyOrDie Gets Some Cash From HBO – HBO Get Will Ferrill Cheap

At first glance, one might wonder why HBO would give an obviously struggling video website $10 million, that is until you read on and discover that Will Ferrill, FoD co-founder, is going to provide HBO with original content for their TV network.

Considering that Ferrill gets at least $15-20 million per movie, this is a virtual bargain for HBO.

Even more curious is that this is considered a 10% stake for HBO which means that the entire site is valued at an utterly insane $100 million.  Give me a break!   This site gets less than 500,000 viewers a month.  So, that means someone thinks views are worth more than $16 each!


(via Vallywag)

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Sony Doing Some Cool…Oh, Wait. Nevermind

For just a second there is sounded like something vaguely cool coming out of Sony – full-length movies available over your cell phone.  Sure, tiny screen but nice to have the option.  Except, that as Engadget points out:

“It’s more the prospect of sitting in front of that tiny mobile screen to watch a full-length film without the ability to pause, fast forward or rewind. This is live broadcast folks.”

That’s right.  Like HBO or Showtime, movies will just be playing whether or are watching or not.  No control for the viewer.  Oh, and it will only be available to AT&T customers.

Not that anyone will ever watch.

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