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back to article Paid-for stuff likely to triumph over free – shock report

Over-the-top (OTT) video services such as Netflix, LoveFilm and Sky's Now TV are likely to win out over free and ad-supported services, according to a recent report on streaming media. Pay TV broadcasters, meanwhile, are already feeling the pinch as viewers cut back on subscription packages. The report also notes that internet …

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Silver badge

I don't mind ads

It's just the number of them, or rather the frequency. Like watching a film on chanel 4, every single time you get to a good bit, "Commercial break, sponsored by a car"

Far as I'm concerned Netflix doesn't interrupt my viewing with ads, gives me a choice in what I watch and when, rather than just "you can watch this now... or change channels"

It has a larger range of viewing material. It just ticks all the right boxes.

That and the fact we barely get digital signal down here helps to make the decision.

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Coat

Re: I don't mind ads

Well, what pisses me off is that they still have the right to increase the volume for ads. Today I watch using a computer. I like the fact that I can stop it, I can skip ads, and also that I can rewind if I missed something. I can understand the economical reason for ads, and some are very good (for some very limited time).

My advice to those who try to make money on ads would be to stop being intrusive, and I would start by cutting down the damned volume difference. As for paying or not, it is not really about the money but about the difference in quality between paying something or nothing. I would probably have to live the next thousand years if I would like to look at all the "legally" free stuff of to day on the internet.

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Silver badge

Re: I don't mind ads

When will they realise that when you reach for the control to turn the volume down for an add its quicker to change channel.

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Bronze badge

Re: I don't mind ads

I don't mind ads between programmes, even within programmes if I'm just idly consuming TV, but it is frustrating within films and documentaries where it interrupts the flow and spoils the enjoyment. Time shifting with a PVR helps but isn't perfect (and always risks a Max Headroom blip-vert style demise).

I have recently noticed a number of channels having no or minimal ads between programmes and packing them into a long mid-programme break. That can be quite tedious and annoying when watching live.

On the other hand I appreciate broadcasters need money to exist and programme makers need money to make programmes of any decent quality. If we won't fund those through a licence fee or tax and won't pay subscriptions they have to raise money some other way.

I don't think there is a simple solution for advert carrying channels. If we avoid the ads they will simply move those ads into the programme itself as an inset or banner bar. There is no ideal solution; broadcasters and viewers need to find an acceptable compromise.

Ultimately it's our choice as to how we pay for what we get and there's nothing entirely free.

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Tick tock...

5 years ago, after a particularly unpleasant encounter with user support, I cancelled my television subscription.

All I had/have was a 10Mb (now 20Mb) cable connection - and I don't feel I have missed a thing.

iPlayer, Netflicks, Lovefilm, 4OD, ITV.com, catchupTV, all filled the void, and I now find I have a lot more time to do other things - time that previously was taken up with channel surfing.

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Anonymous Coward

NowTV

£9.99 for a day of sport.

No thanks!

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Bronze badge

An earlier article said that 90% of people still watch "live" TV almost exclusively which doesn't, at least to my mind, tally with some of the things said in this report.

It's almost as if the report was biased in some way........

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Bronze badge

well that that tallies with the the fact that only 10% of people have **any clue** about computers - the rest are working too hard, for too little money, to afford either the time, or money to bother getting one...

"pay big money, to get a box with a small screen, that you have to figure out how to watch movies on???? are you nuts, when I can just press one button and get that for free on a 40 inch screen I paid a quarter of that price years ago???"

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Win?

Why does one have to win?

Surely both free and paid for content will co-exist?

I'm happy to pay for a certain amount of TV quality work, but there is also a lot of material out there that I'd not pay for and I don't see why it would go away

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Re: Win?

There is no 'free' content, only free-to-the-viewer content which is paid for by ads. If paid for content with no ads gets enough of the eyeballs, ad-supported content could well hit a tipping point where either advertisers don't see the point of spending money on such a reduced viewer base or the station will try running adverts at a rate of 1 a minute or higher and drive away the remaining eyeballs. not that I'm sure this would happen, but I think it's a far from unlikely scenario. Almost all of the best TV already comes from the pay channels nowadays, we could well be at or past the tipping point already.

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JB

Re: Win?

I think you're right - though I reckon the TV stations will just run longer ad blocks, like UKTV did some years ago: 20 minutes of programme, 15 minutes of ads and trailers, 20 minutes of programme....

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Stop

If YouTube is anything to go by ...

*Paying* for content, means a search for (example) "Dynamo:Magician Impossible" would actually return as the top result "Dynamo:Magician Impossible", rather than a load of kids in their bedrooms with webcams telling us "how Dynamo did this trick".

I mean have you searched YouTube for music lately. Almost any song title will bring up someone warbling away, killing the original.

When the history of now is written, someone will highlight the irony that loads of people giving their "gift" away for free (down with the man !!!!!) drove the rest of us to *pay* to avoid them.

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Re: If YouTube is anything to go by ...

@JimmyPage

The problem you're talking about isn't charging, it's curation of content. And it's emerged because the cost of presentation has disappeared.

The real fumble, IMO, was trying to bolt paid-for content onto an existing "free" user-generated content site like Youtube.

The smart thing to do, IMO, would be to have a Commercial and a Classic/Free/Community section on YouTube, where access is restricted to content owners who have decided that they're charging for content. Nothing to stop VEVO or whoever else from making their music videos available on the Classic/Free/Community section if they want, but the key to a good experience with paid-for material is an effective search.

This is the same problem Netflix and eMusic both have - I really like both services, but their search is crap. Aside from anything else, Netflix has a horrible way of handling searches for material that's not available. I don't give a donkey's bollock what someone else watched when they found, as I just have, that the film I want to see isn't on the service. What I want is more likely to be a mechanism to say "I'd like to watch this, please bring it back" and for that mechanism to be one of the factors considered when negotiating for licence renewals or prpvisions. And as for eMusic, well put it this way - a lot of the time I use Google to find their page for the artist or album I'm after, because it's less of a bollockache. And that's desperately bad. (Also, they have a built in RSS service but don't offer you a "follow this artist and get updates when new content becomes available option" within their webservice, which is just arse-backwards).

Anyway, yes, curation (or its absence) is the problem that most content providers are having now that user-generated content is a factor. And it's no good simply getting rid of USC either, in some cases it's better than the commercial stuff (eg The Tunnel remains a better horror film than anything released by a Hollywood film studio in the last decade).

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Anonymous Coward

'I mean have you searched YouTube for music lately'

Agree. YouTube has a sub-par search system. Its difficult to locate quality content even using the built-in filters. For example you call up the Advanced filters specifying HD, only recent and highly rated. But it only prioritises one of them which means you keep getting bloat. I think the problem is YouTube isn't implementing AND operator searches and minus '-' exclusion terms. So its often better to search for YouTube clips using Google instead...

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Happy

Re: If YouTube is anything to go by ...

I agree but "Almost any song title will bring up someone warbling away, killing the original." but what is your relationship with music. My brains will happily add in all the missing quality.

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Bronze badge

Re: If YouTube is anything to go by ...

too true, pick a top ten music video, you will find it very difficult to get what you saw on tv... even if you find one, you may find that halfway through its been modified a bit... make sure you check!! :)

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Many people would be willing to pay, as long as we can get the latest episodes as quickly as those with cable/satelite tv packages.

For a brilliant illustration, google: oatmeal game of thrones

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FAIL

Subscription TV. Where you *pay* them to show ads to you *and* they charge to show them

Why?

Most sports bore me and I find the free view range quite adequate.

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Mega corps

You have a big company that owns content producers/owners, TV stations, cable companies, ISPs, home phone, cell phone... They want to sell you everything, bonus for getting you to buy stuff you don't need.

First we get bundles on cable. Want to watch football? You also get pool, darts, marbles.

They don't like real OTT stuff like Netflix. They don't get a cut. So time for a two pronged approach.

- Offer their own fake OTT packages (just another subscription that looks like Netflix), offer unlimited not in the cap traffic as part of the price.

- Have ISP cap traffic, manage traffic, black mail OTT providers to try and get a cut.

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It's not a question of paying

It's a question of DRM. The online music market has shown that, once DRM was removed, sales ignited.

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I'm sorry, but could you please point me to an online music market that has removed DRM ?

I wasn't aware that there were any.

Any legal ones, that is.

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RE: I wasn't aware that there were any.

iTunes and plenty of others

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Non-DRM music stores

iTunes, Amazon, Play.com - that's three to be going on with

Amazon's only 'DRM' is that the MP3 file is watermarked in a way that can tie it back to your account. See http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=dm_adp_uits?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200422000 (some files don't even have this stamping). I think being able to trace where an unauthorized copy came from is a reasonable step.

The files themselves should play on any conforming MP3 player, so the usual complaints about having to repurchase, etc, simply don't apply.

The movie and TV industries really need to get a clue and follow suit. They're still stuck where the record industry were five years ago. The other thing the movie and TV industries really need to do is stop making exclusives and openly distribute all content through all stores: I'm unsure of which subscription service to join, because I have no guarantee that the content I might want to watch will be available through my choice. They don't have long-term exclusive deals for DVDs, why is downloading or streaming any different?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Non-DRM music stores

Will Soundforge or other wave editor strip this out automatically in a re-save?

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Silver badge

Is it really that surprising that people are willing to shell out a measly $8-$12 a month for unlimited, ad-free TV? I mean it would make sense to be surprised if we were talking about fees in line with cable TV, but the OTT services are cheap and have way better selection than the ad supported offerings.

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Free vs Paid

If something is free then one has to find it.

If something has to be paid for there'll be selling involved. Selling requires marketing, advertising, mail shots, idiots manning podiums in the local shopping centre promoting their inane wares. Many, many opportunities for money to be made along the way. It's a whole industry in itself.

Selling works well with sheeple, it's in their natural psyche to queue up for stuff.

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