Applebee’s using Welcome Back, Kotter theme song in commercials

Depending on your age, where you remember first seeing John Travolta will vary.

Me? I can’t remember if it was the movie Boy in the Plastic Bubble (that movie, although it wasn’t a horror film, just freaked me out with the idea that breathing outside air could kill), Stephen King’s first adaptation Carrie (also my intro to Sissy Spacek and a chilling film) or the 70s TV show Welcome Back, Kotter.

Certainly the latter I remember him most for early on, because he was on weekly and prominently. Of course he’d go onto other iconic roles in Grease and Saturday Night Fever, but Kotter is where I most remember Travolta from in the beginning of his acting career.

Add to that very catchy theme song to Welcome Back Kotter. The 70s and 80s had crazy good memorable theme songs.

Travolta played a Henry Winkler like Fonz character in the TV show as one of the Sweathogs. Gabe Kaplan as the teacher and Ron Palilo as Horshack — with that zany hoarse laugh.

Palillo’s character was part of a group of remedial students known as “Sweathogs,” in a Brooklyn high school. He was known for his catchphrase, “ooh, ooh! Mr. Kotter” and his unique laugh. Some of the cast members in the show, including Palillo, have passed away.

Ron Palillo — Life and Death of the Beloved ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ Star

Sadly, Palilo passed away in 2012. He joined others that we remember on the show that are no longer alive including: John Sylvester White who played Mr. Woodman in 1988, Robert Hegyes (who played the sweathog Epstein) in 2012, Marcia Strassman (Gabe Kaplan’s character’s wife Julie Kotter in the show) in 2014.

The only main surviving main characters as of this writing are, in fact, Gabe Kaplan (age 77), John Travola (age 66) who played Vinnie Barbarino and the other prominent sweathog, Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs).

Inevitably the death clock catches up with us all, but this is one of several 70s and 80s TV shows I remember fondly.

Imagine my surprise and delight when Applebee’s ads playing on Hulu are now using the opening theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter.

While it might be premature, Applebee’s want potential customers to realize their restaurants are back open in many places. We probably won’t be going to Applebee’s any time soon, but it’s a well marketed way to let us know they’re open and available.

Imagine there will be plenty of other catchy theme songs to use for returning businesses. Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry” perhaps? (joking!). Licensing is one of the few remaining non-concert performance ways for music artists to make money from their songs.

Duh – People Prefer Streaming Channels Without Ads – During Pandemic or Not

Of course we don’t want to watch commercials.

Don’t need a pandemic to tell us that anything we pay for is better served ad-free. Thank you, Netflix, for setting the standard for streaming without interruptions (despite having the annoying auto-start on flyover). Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Shudder, DC Universe and most recently HBO Max are all ad-free. Hulu and CBS All Access offer an ad-free experience as a more expensive subscription tier.

Overall time spent streaming has more than doubled since March, when the U.S. and other countries largely shut down due to COVID-19. But growth has been slower for ad-supported players than for ad-free subscription ones, a pattern Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar said Friday proves consumers are getting more sophisticated as they adjust to streaming.

Ad-Free Subscription Streaming Growth Outpaces Ad-Supported Fare During COVID-19 – Deadline

There’s a place for ad-supported movie and TV streaming channels, but those services will not have the same level of support as the ones that offer ad-free options. I think the internet has given us ad fatigue. Popups, click this to get to the next page to see another ad and then the ever annoying read X number of articles and then it’s only pay to see the rest. I don’t and won’t be linking anything from The New York Times (and others who do the same) on this blog as long as they keep doing that.

Some clarification: I like previews and trailers and while, technically, they are advertisements, I support playing one short (30 second or less) preview before playing a feature movie here and there. Do I want to see 5-10 previews before a movie like they do at the movie theater? No, but one short preview I consider worthwhile and useful.

Heavy ad-supported channels like Crackle for me are unwatchable. Roku, IMDB TV, Vudu aren’t too intrusive with ads (but this can always change). I don’t really like the experience of watching movies or TV shows during the film being interrupted and the reality is there are plenty of streaming places that don’t do that. Sure, commercial breaks are commonplace in television, but the TV era — other than live programming — is dying.

How many ad-free streaming channels do you watch? How often do you watch them?

New Movie Streaming for Free in China creates fear of “destroying the movie industry”

Tent cities are a growing concern in society

Let’s take a moment of silence for anybody who is sick with the virus that started in China. Any outbreak causing human beings to get sick and some to die is much bigger than any movie business concerns.

That said, the two are somewhat related in this piece. A movie studio is going to stream a premiere on a free platform due at least in part to the current virus outbreak scenario in China. Theater chains, despite some of their locations being shut down at the moment due to the outbreak, are crying foul.

“This goes against the payment and revenue model that the movie industry has cultivated over many years, is trampling and intentionally destroying the movie industry and premiere models, and play a lead role in causing destruction,” said the letter, whose signatories include Wanda Film Holding, Bona Film Group, and Henan Oscar Theatre Chain.

China’s theaters, studios protest against deal to stream movie online for free | News | WTVB

Sooner or later there is going to be a MOVIES IN THEATER FOR FREE streaming channel. A legal one probably ad-supported in some way, not some torrent copyright piracy nightmare. A legit Spotify-like service for movies.

Mark my words. It. Is. Coming.

The bigger question is whether or not what happened to the music industry will happen to the movie business? Will we see fewer big budget movies being made? Absolutely. We’ll see a rise in more Youtube/indie content, lower budget films and films which exist to drive ad revenue.

I’m not saying this will be a great time for good movies. It will be like what it’s like on YouTube right now. A bunch of crap to filter through to find a few gems. There will be many, many more movies, most of them horrendously amateur and bad.

Hollywood will look more like tent city.

I know, a prediction of doom and gloom for the movie industry, but it’s inevitable that somebody is going to legalize the Spotify model for movies. It probably won’t be this year or maybe next, but it wouldn’t be a bad wager that it’s likely to happen within the next 10-20 years.

The movie business has to change and adapt, as should have the music business. Hopefully, they do better.

Let’s start the clock ticking with this post on January 25, 2020.

Hulu Tries Binge Watch Creative Advertising while ROKU Ad Platform Blocked by Amazon Fire TV

Recently, Hulu raised their TV streaming plan pricing for the second time in 2019. Unfortunately, they also started having more reliability problems. Hulu is now the most costly streaming TV options. Sling is the least expensive. Playstation Vue is closing its service at the end of January 2020. There are some ad-supported streaming TV options.

We haven’t subscribed to any live TV streaming for awhile and just canceled our Hulu plan after a free month.

Hulu makes subscribers go through a half dozen “are you sure you want to cancel” confirmations

One thing I did not appreciate was how many “are you sure you want to cancel” messages. I didn’t count, but it was like a half dozen or so screens. Yes, I’m sure. I’m sure. I’m really sure. Really. Seriously.

Annoying.

I only subscribed to watch a few mostly-exclusive movies and the Stephen King adapted miniseries 11/22/63 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for anniversary of the JFK assassination.

I should have chosen the ad-free option for the free month rather than the version with the ads, but after spending a month using the service, found the ads throughout the month not to be very intrusive. In fact, they seemed almost intelligent at times.

Turns out that they kinda are, as the technology watches what we watch and then implements ads based on viewing patterns.

These “binge watch ads” utilize machine learning techniques to predict when a viewer has begun to binge watch a show, then serves up contextually relevant ads that acknowledge a binge is underway. This culminates when the viewer reaches the third episode, at which point they’re informed the next episode is ad-free or presents a personalized offer from the brand partner.

Hulu launches its viewer-friendly ‘binge watch ads’ | TechCrunch

This is a smart way to implement advertising.

If you’ve ever watched Sony’s Crackle, you know just how intrusive advertisements can be in exchange for “free” movies. I have watched free movies with ads on a few channels like VUDU and The ROKU channel.

Amazon Fire TV blocking ROKU’s DataXU

At the beginning of November, ROKU acquired DataXU ad targeting tech and it appears Amazon Fire TV, in a bid to increase usage of its own ad platform, is now blocking/preventing this third party ad blocking programs like DataXU:

Amazon’s move to restrict access to its inventory through third-party DSPs signals confidence from the company that it can grow demand for its ads without DataXu’s ad buyers. Amazon has a strong search ad business for its online marketplace, and it’s already the third-largest digital advertising company in the United States. 

Amazon Just Put a Dent in Roku’s Latest Acquisition

Clearly the swords are clashing over who will dominate the ad-free TV and movie marketplace. Amazon Prime Video shows one short ad for another Amazon Original before watching movies even in the paid subscription plan. Netflix doesn’t show ads, but does autoplay other shows when pausing on some screens or doing the hover-over when you click, which is also somewhat annoying.

Do you watch any ad-supported channels for movies or stick mostly (like us) with paid subscription channels?