1. Are Amazon and Dish About To Team Up For A Mobile Play?
Mobile has been the new black for anyone in the TV game for a while now, and Dish in particular has been the subject of much speculation, as they are the only major player without any way for customers to access the internet, their satellite rival, Direct TV, having been scooped up by AT&T.
Dish has spent billions to acquire mobile spectrum, and, having failed at their attempt to buy Sprint, are rumored to be planning to launch their own mobile service.
Which is why our ears perked up when we read a story in the Wall Street Journal reporting that Dish had been talking to Amazon about joining forces around mobile.
Why It Matters
There is so much mischief these two could get into if they got together around mobile.
First off, there’s Amazon Prime. Dish Mobile could be included in the yearly fee. Which would allow users to watch Amazon Prime Video with zero rating (the viewing would not count against the user’s data cap) giving it a huge advantage over Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime.
There’s Alexa—Dish mobile could be built into Echo devices and provide mobile connectivity everywhere. Even cars. The network could even be enabled to power the fabled Drone Delivery Service.
Finally there’s more basic, but potentially more valuable functionality like email and messaging—if Amazon had its own services powered by Dish Mobile, it would no longer have to rely on Google for all that valuable user data.
For Dish, the value of a mobile service is that with the introduction of 5G, Sling would no longer be at the mercy of other MVPDs and what they wanted to charge Sling’s customers for standalone broadband. That means that Sling and other Dish services would not be in perpetual danger of being shut down by competitors who felt they were getting too popular.
That’s hugely important because a lack of competition in terms of broadband access is one of the main things (if not the main thing) holding up the industry.
What You Need To Do About It
Not much to do right now since it’s still very much at the rumor stage. But given the speed at which Amazon bought Whole Foods, we’d suggest spending an hour or two thinking about what such a deal might mean for your company and how you might actually profit from it.
2. Game Of Thrones Returns A Week From Sunday
This week we’re returning to our tradition of talking about some of our favorite TV shows during the summer.
The decision to relaunch Game of Thrones during the summer is an interesting one. Sure CBS had great success with Under The Dome and USA Network with Mr. Robot, two series that launched during the summer, but Game of Thrones is a Sunday night show and so it’s asking a lot for viewers to be home by 9 on Sundays. Unless of course, HBO isn’t expecting them to be.
Why It Matters
Given that HBO doesn’t rely on advertising or real time viewing, all they care is that people watch the show and talk about it and keep on subscribing. And given that cable subscribers have HBO Go and everyone else has HBO Now, there’s no real reason for anyone to race home tune in at 9PM. (Other than spoilers on social media, that is.)
Like other subscription services, HBO only cares about buzz. (Well, churn rate, subscribers and buzz.) The lesson they learned from CBS and USA is that summer isn’t necessarily a dead zone, but it’s quieter. That makes it easy for a show to develop buzz, or, in the case of Game of Thrones, to revive it. It’s not a stretch to say that the latest doings of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens will be conversation starters at any summer get together.
That keeps people subscribing, and since the show carries over into the fall, it keeps them subscribing even longer, which is key since the next season of Westworld, HBO’s other big hit, isn’t even scheduled to start shooting until this fall and HBO wants to put a stop to a churn rate that’s rumored to be as high as 50% on HBO Now.
What You Need To Do About It.
If you’ve missed an episode or two or if you’re bingeing it and don’t want to get left out of the summer’s hottest chatter, don’t forget about recaps. Recaps are our own personal passion—AV Club, Vulture and EW.com are our favorites—and are extremely helpful in the aforementioned situation or even if you just want to figure out the names of all those people from Dorn or find out how various characters on the episode you just watched are related. (With such a huge cast and long stretches between seasons, it’s easy to forget.) In addition to details, recaps can also provide some insights into plot points you may have overlooked, making them a valuable resource.
So if you’re a network, we think you’re missing an opportunity to further engage fans by not linking to recaps from your OTT apps. Do a co-op deal for ads on those websites, and you’ve even got an alternative revenue stream.