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In the new world of media, content companies must make all their offerings available to their audience wherever and however they want it – broadcast, cable, PC or stream, mobile or wired, scheduled or on-demand.  In that regard, our friends at Apple Music will be launching a browser version of its music streaming service. Paid subscribers will be able to access the streaming service from any web browser by logging in using their Apple ID. The browser version of the application is currently in beta, offering listeners full access to their playlists and Beats 1 Radio. As part of the overall strategy, Apple confirmed that it is withdrawing iTunes and replacing it with a new package: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. Apple clearly has a strategy for matching every new trend in music technology with a clear and impactful response.

Motion picture entertainment is always shifting. It went from theaters to TV to cable and now to digital streaming.  Each change has given consumers’ new advantages. The latest, streaming services, offer users the ultimate flexibility to watch movies when and where they want. Major entertainment distributors are taking note and adjusting accordingly. HBO Now is a streaming service of the cable channel.  Disney Plus is a streaming service that allows an entertainment conglomerate to control content from all its subsidiaries and CBS All Access is a streaming service for a traditional TV network.

Monthly Plan Prices

  • HBO Now | $14.99
  • Netflix HD Quality Plan | $12.99
  • Disney Plus | $12.99
  • Hulu (without ads) | $11.99
  • Showtime | $10.99
  • Prime Video only | $8.99
  • Hulu (with ads) | $5.99
  • CBS All Access | $5.99

Movie Selection

  • Prime Video | 14,210
  • Netflix | 3,803
  • Hulu | 1,437
  • HBO | 926
  • Showtime | 489

TV Offerings

  • Prime Video | 2,317
  • Netflix | 1,966
  • Hulu | 1,931
  • HBO | 189
  • Showtime | 70
Quantity doesn’t always mean quality.  Just because Prime Video has the most movies and TV shows does not mean it has the best titles. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are nearly equal when it comes to the number of “high quality” movies offered as defined by Reelgood – a “high quality” movie as has an IMDB rating of 7.5 or higher.

High Quality Movies

  • Prime Video | 125
  • Netflix | 124
  • Hulu | 52
  • HBO | 32
  • Showtime | 32
With this information, you can make an informed decision about where to spend your entertainment dollars.
Thus far, it can be argued that 2019 has been the year of Lil Nas X, if only based on the record setting success of “Old Town Road.” When you add that he voluntarily revealed his sexuality at the top of the arch, the 21 year old has propelled himself to pop culture stardom in a matter of months. Jump to his appearance on HBO’s talk show The Shop: Interrupted, where he was quizzed about his decision to come out as a homosexual. Despite the question being rather insensitive, especially from host Paul Rivera, X did a great job of staying classy and making his responses both assertive and respectful. Commenting on why he came out X said, “It’s not like being forced (to come out), it’s just that growing up (I’m meant to) hate this stuff (homosexuality). Kevin Hart who was one of the guests on the show, and one who may be overly sensitive because he’s had his own trouble with the subject in his past, questioned what he was referring to.  Lil Nas countered with by saying, “Homosexuality, gay people. Come on now, if you’re really from the hood, you know.” There’s a lot of tension around this subject for some folks and it came to the surface a couple days ago on HBO.  The entire interview has been released and can be found on HBO.

The Roku Channel is a two-year-old streaming service with 30.5 million users is offering a new Kids and Family portal, which is going live the week of August 19th.

Rob Holmes, VP of programming and engagement for Roku said, “We recognize that it can be a challenge to find quality kids and family entertainment across multiple streaming channels, particularly free, ad-supported options.”

With that in mind, Roku has bundled 7,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes and they promise the ad intrusions will be 60% less than on standard TV.  Participating programmers include: Hasbro Company, DHX Media, Happy Kids TV, Lionsgate, Mattel, Moonbug and pocket.watch, among others. Brands include: Care Bears, The Cat in the Hat, Leapfrog, Little Baby Bum, My Little Pony, Rev & Roll, Super Mario Brothers and Thomas and Friends.  Premium channel viewers will see even more options.

Roku’s new family friendly portal includes a PIN-based system for parents to monitor the content their children watch. The free-to-consumer, ad-supported content is the advantage Roku brings to the market against some fierce completion from the paid offerings of Netflix and Disney+.

If money equals success, our friends at Apple are going for it.  The Financial Times reports that the company is increasing its budget for content from $1 billion – which sounds a lot like Netflix’s reported budget for this year – to $5 billion.  With that bankroll they’ll assure themselves of a competitive position against Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu and Disney +.

One particular Apple program, The Morning Show, is reportedly budgeted at $300 million for just the first two seasons, which makes it more expensive than HBO’s Games of Thrones that is estimated to have cost a mere $15 million a season.  The math says one season of The Morning Show will cost more than the entire run of Thrones. Nuts.

Apple is throwing big money and a-list talent into its efforts to establish a dominant position in the streaming industry. Jennifer Anniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon lead in The Morning Show cast while producing talent like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg are also contributing content. An interesting side story that comes out of all this content expansion is the need for lots of talent, both back stage and in front of the camera.  There will be fewer starving actors in the future.

Companies such as Comcast, Warner Media and Walt Disney are trying to compete with Netflix in their video streaming services. In order to do this, they are looking at the rights to use Seinfeld, a hugely famous retired comedy show which is has its streaming rights up for sale again. Seinfeld  has been available for streaming on Hulu since 2015. Retired shows with well-established fame are heavily competed over between streaming companies; these shows include not only Seinfeld, but also the Office and Friends. Netflix has given much trouble to the traditional TV industry by offering a streaming alternative to the traditional method of distribution. Hulu’s ownership of streaming rights to Seinfeld ends in 2021. Sony Pictures Television handles the distribution of streaming rights to Seinfeld. The company is already getting calls about these rights. The bidding process for the Seinfeld streaming rights is expected to begin in the next few weeks. Netflix has already been beat by competition for streaming rights for the Office and Friends. NBCUniversal bought streaming rights for the Office for the next five years for $500 million. Warner Media paid $425 million for five years of streaming rights over Friends. The future will show how much profit these streaming rights will generate for these massive companies.

Many social media services have developed dark modes for using their websites at night. The glare of a bright screen at night usually puts a strain on a person’s eyes. Twitter and Gmail already offer Dark Mode settings and Facebook already has it for its Messenger app. According to software engineer Jane M. Wong, Facebook proper is already using an early version of Dark Mode, but it will take a while for this idea to be fully implemented.

Facebook frequently tests new features without making it obvious. However, the company doesn’t have set timelines for when new features are released. This new feature may negatively contribute to the problem of tech addiction. Daytime addiction to social media is already common among web users. Only time will tell if social media companies will ever begin to take the problem of tech addiction seriously.

Marlon Wayans has a new movie called Sextuplets coming to Netflix on August 16th.  Sextuplets are like twins, but more …four more.

The plot starts with Wayans (Alan) searching for his birth mother ahead of the birth of his first child. He doesn’t know who she is and he doesn’t know that he was born as one of six.  When he discovers the truth, he sets out to find his siblings too. Wayans plays all six siblings.

While Sextuplets has a Nutty Professor / Madea quality to it with one actor playing multiple characters, we are looking forward to see Wayans’s bring comedy to a family discovery message. Wayans said he is excited to be back in business with Netflix and that he loves how they embrace comedy and diversity.

Austin, Texas, the music capitol of the Southwest, is launching a new program allowing fans to tip musicians digitally rather than with cash. The city is providing ten selected musicians with DipJar, a device allowing them to take tips via credit or debit card. These artists will test the new fangled payment method at live venues for the next six months. Mat Oldigies, leader of the band Human Circuit, says that initially tips are fewer than before, but with extra motivation this might change. Austin is hoping that over time, this plan will be good for the finances of both the city and the musicians.  In other situations, it’s common to see people spend more when they don’t have to take real money out of their pocket.  Good luck to the players and pickers in Austin.

A new technological age is upon us. Artificial intelligence is being applied across many different industries very quickly. One of the uses in the healthcare field applies AI to diagnose illnesses. It is now being used to distinguish between benign and malignant cells in potential breast cancer tumors. These classifications can help patients avoid unnecessary treatments. AI uses machine learning, the science of getting machines to act without being explicitly programmed, in this case, to help make a diagnosis. It is becoming respected tool for breast cancer tumor classification by putting together and processing huge data sets to help doctors make more accurate, faster diagnoses and to suggest the most appropriate therapies for their patients.