Sony Reportedly In Pole Position To Buy Crunchyroll from AT&T

Crunchyroll subscription join page (pictured above) — currently being shopped around

Anime continues to be a hot content commodity among streaming channels with AT&T in a position to keep its Crunchyroll but instead wanting to sell it.

Among the bidders, Sony is rumored in the first position to make a deal, according to Variety sources.

The Sony angle emerged from a report late last week in Japan’s prestigious Nikkei newspaper. The Nikkei said that talks have advanced sufficiently that Sony now has exclusive negotiating rights on a Crunchyroll purchase. The deal would have a price tag of JPY100 or $960 million at current rates of exchange. That is a significant step down from a $1.5 billion asking price reported by The Information in August.

Sony Wants a Bite of Anime Streamer Crunchyroll (Report) – Variety

We’re surprised that Apple isn’t in the discussion. They could use anime content for Apple TV+, but the only animation we’ve heard mentioned in association with them recently is Peanuts (see: AppleTV+ Streaming The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – Gone From TV Holiday Forever?).

BAD IDEA? AT&T Considering Viewing Ads on Cell Phone Reducing Bill a Few Bucks a Month

Nolan Sorrento tells the board that they can control up to 80% of the viewing area without causing seizure from excess ads (from the movie Ready, Player One)

Ads, everywhere ads, ads, ads. Movies, TV, you name it.

Remember Ready, Player One ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ the evil Nolan Sorrento wanted to put ads everywhere in the viewing space. It was a selling point if he took over the Oasis and could control the viewer area. This sort of ad intrusion is what ruins user experiences to the point of driving us away.

But FREE with ads means we can do more without $$$. Time is valuable or they wouldn’t make the offer. Our time is limited on earth and we should limit it being recipients for people trying to sell us stuff. The money you might spend avoiding the ads to begin with is probably less than what your impulses do with shopping. Aye, the rub.

While it might sound like I’m completely anti-advertising, I’m definitely not. Certainly not from a business standpoint. Even from a customer/user, ads are just fine in moderation and I, too, will click and buy from them sometimes.

The problem is too many people showing them on sites/apps/etc. don’t understand the concept of less is more. Subtle text ads in Google and Gmail are what made them what they are today. Don’t get me started on the excess advertising on FREE streaming sites like Crackle. How anybody can endure that streaming experience? Has it gotten better? Somebody let me know when it improves and I’ll give their site another try. In the meantime, whenever any movie I want to see is only streaming on Crackle, I pass.

So, not sure about you, but I hate the idea of viewing (even more!) ads on our cell phones, intrusively bugging us when simply trying to perform basic routine phone tasks. I use my phone to make phone calls, send text messages, take pictures, videos and email for business and personal use. I rarely even play games on my phone, although do have a few installed. Would rather use my tablet — bigger screen — for games. Also rarely use my phone to watch movies, again because of the screen size, see: Where Do You MOST Watch Movies? (Theater, TV, Computer, Tablet, Phone)

Surely, they won’t block quick calling 911 for emergency by showing some stupid game ad first. Hey, I’m bleeding out, but first need to watch Candy Crush ad before I can dial 9-1-1.

Absurd. I’m joking, that’s probably not even legal to do, but AT&T is certainly looking at adding ads and giving customers the option to view them and save a few bucks every month.

AT&T (NYSE:T) CEO John Stankey recently told Reuters that the telecom giant could launch ad-subsidized wireless plans within a year. Stankey claimed a “segment” of its customer base would likely accept some advertising on their phones “for a $5 or $10 reduction” in their monthly bills.

Would You View Ads for Cheaper Phone Service? AT&T Bets Yes

Saving $5-10/month when we pay hundreds a month now (family plan, live 5+ phones on there) is not even close to worth it. We’ll pass.

Would you enable ads on your cell phone even further interrupting what you do to save $5-10/month?

AMC Network drops lawsuit against AT&T over alleged network unfairness

The Shudder promo code above likely doesn’t work any more, but you can find more

An update on the lawsuit between AMC and AT&T over alleged unfairness AT&T was showing its existing network over competing networks. The carriers have reached an agreement.

The Walking Dead parent alleged AT&T favors its own competing networks including HBO and TNT by insisting on “discriminatory” terms to renew affiliation agreements with AMC. AT&T had called the complaint “without merit” and insisted it treats “all programmers fairly.”

AMC Networks Request To Withdraw Complaint Against AT&T Granted By FCC – Deadline

What’s most interesting in the Deadline article is what AT&T says about AMC toward the end of the article.

“The cost to provide AMC Networks’ programming to our customers should reflect that AMC Networks’ shows have been declining in popularity as compared to their peers for several years.”

Ouch. Don’t know if AT&T is correct about the stats, but do know from a fan standpoint, I disagree on at least one area of AMC Networks.

AMC is the network behind Shudder, for that alone they deserve my respect vote. Shudder is an awesome, low-cost niche streaming service for horror fans. If you like horror and aren’t subscribed to Shudder, find yourself one of the many easily available promo codes (just do a Google search for “Shudder promo codes”) and check out a free month trial. With Halloween right around the corner next month, the timing is great.

We resubscribed to Shudder this week, making it the ninth streaming service we are currently subscribed to:

  1. Netflix
  2. Amazon Prime Video (as Prime members)
  3. HBO Max
  4. Disney+ (subscribed annually, mostly for our grandchildren, we hardly ever watch it)
  5. Peacock (premium subscription is free, since we are Xfinity internet customers)
  6. Shudder (resubbed new this week of 9/14)
  7. Hulu (will cancel once working through the movies & shows we’re currently watching)
  8. CBS All Access (contemplating dropping after Lower Decks, just not that much else there of interest)
  9. DC Universe (most likely dropping soon, but waiting first to see what this week’s big announcement is, see: )

Add all these subscription fees up and it’s pushing $75+/month. We can’t watch all these channels enough to justify keeping all, so we’ll drop the ones we’re watching least and return when something we really want to see on the channel returns.

Shudder from AMC, to get back to the article in question, is well worth subscribing to, especially in the fall, when that horror halloween witchy time of year is in full force.

HBO Situation for Cable TV Users on ROKU Getting Messy as of July 1

Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam arm wrestling over HBO branding (just a joke, folks!)

It’s not just cable TV subscribers, but WarnerMedia needs badly to simply what they are doing with their HBO brand. It seems to me like they are trying to put all their eggs in the HBO Max basket, which is a good package — if you can access it.

Aye, there’s the rub.

In case you didn’t already know, it’s about to get very confusing on Roku for HBO Go customers, and maybe even impossible when that is removed as of July 1, 2020. Even though I’ve read multiple articles, and consider myself fairly intelligent, I don’t completely understand what the heck is going on with HBO Go.

It’s going away, sort of, in place of HBO Max. HBO wants to just have one HBO which is HBO Max, but as we’ve already written about here several times: there is no HBO Max on Roku right now, nor is it on Amazon Fire. There is HBO Now, which is contains a fraction of the overall HBO Max content.

If you want to watch HBO Max on your TV, the simplest way to do it is to sign up directly and use Chromecast. I gave up that fight recently, and that’s where I ended. Others might not feel as compelled to go out and pay $29 for Chromecast, subscribe directly to streaming channels and pay for cable TV (wouldn’t blame anybody who thinks that way, btw).

It gets dicey if you already subscribe to HBO through your cable company. I’m feeling for you folks, because again, I don’t understand how you get the new HBO (HBO Max) without dropping HBO and just signing up directly and using Chromecast? You can read the article quoted below and maybe you’ll glean some kind of knowledge of what to do.

WarnerMedia will be replacing HBO NOW with a rebranded HBO App, but cable authentication isn’t supported. That means in order for cable customers (and those who subscribed via Roku) will have to access HBO content through their cable company’s platform. If you already created a HBO Max account, you may be able to use your log-in to access HBO Now.

Roku Customers Won’t Be Able to Access HBO App with Cable Credentials Starting July 31st

I think most of our readers here don’t have cable TV, but that’s just a guess. And at least a good percentage of those readers probably have at least one streaming account.

But that’s just a guess, as I don’t have any scientific data to back that up. The comments section below provides a chance for you to tell me if you still have cable TV. Anyway, if you do, and want to keep cable TV (I’m interested to hear why anybody does want to pay for that any more, but that’s not meant as any kind of diss), then what do you recommend to others who have cable TV and want to enjoy HBO Max?

This too many HBO brand conflicts needs to end. What would you tell your friends o do who want to watch HBO Max? I’m telling them, just get Chromecast and sign up directly.

Three Senators vs. AT&T over zero-rating HBO Max

With Net Neutrality revoked by the Trump era FCC, AT&T has launched HBO Max with a feature that’s anti-competitive, according to three senators: not counting the bandwidth used when streaming HBO Max for AT&T subscribers.

This is called “zero rating” for those that didn’t know (don’t feel badly, I was one of them!).

Not counting the data used to watch HBO Max against an AT&T subscriber’s data cap would seem to benefit that subscriber. But the Senators point out that it can hinder competition instead since it would promote the use of HBO Max over other streaming apps that are not zero-rated; those apps would include streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. In their letter, the three Senators wrote, “This practice of allowing one arm of your company to ‘pay’ another arm of your company for preferential treatment attempts to mask its true impact…

Senators put AT&T on the hot seat over zero-rating of HBO Max – PhoneArena

I wonder though if this is a really that significant of a benefit to be a non-competitive practice? Think about how many different cell phone companies there are. T-Mobile, Verizon are just two other big names and there are a boatload of smaller ones. Will people really switch carriers to get with AT&T for zero rating of HBO Max? Some might, but we certainly wouldn’t.

We had AT&T once upon a time for cellular service and won’t ever be returning, so count us out. Amazon is doing just fine competing with this zero rating, according to a recent customer satisfaction survey Disney+ and Netflix are #1 and #2 respectively in customer satisfaction.

What do you think? No big deal? Unfair business practice? Attractive customer benefit?