After Quibi Finally Available To Cast To TV They Are Officially Shutting Down – A $2 Billion Dollar FAIL

Quibi, the streaming dumpster fire now has several cast to TV official options

We promised to say something when Quibi started supporting cast to TV in place of their “mobile-first” launch priority, so for those who have (very patiently!) waited, the time is now.

Now Quibi has launched on select smart TVs including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV. This just leaves out Roku and other smart TVs for the moment. This move is the latest in the short-form streaming service’s effort to reach more viewers amid dwindling performance.

Quibi is Now Available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV | Cord Cutters News

Unfortunately that’s the good news. The bad news for Quibi fans is they are “winding down the service” and selling whatever they can.

Whitman reiterated her prior assertions that the company had adequate capital to continue operating for several more months. Instead, she said, “we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace.“ She added, “We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content. Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential.”

Quibi To Shut Down, Ending $2B Streaming Experiment – Update

Quibi does have some content that is worthwhile, so somebody will be interested — when the price goes low enough. I would have picked Apple as the most likely suitor, but apparently others have passed as well (see: Apple, WarnerMedia and Facebook Reportedly Say No To Buying Quibi).

It might sound like we’re dancing on their grave, but the truth is they took a bunch of investor cash and squandered it with an idiotic launch strategy. You don’t launch a streaming movie and TV show app without, well, widespread TV support (see: Quibi is the Cats of streaming services). Duh.

Investors have to be pissed. Quibi has burned through something like a billion dollars for this launch and have only a couple million ~750,000 subscribers to show for it.

Six months since launch, three of those months were offered free as incentive to join and then many bailed when they had to actually pay for the service (see: Less than 10% of Quibi FREE 90 day trials converted to paid subscribers). Yeah, it’s been a horrifically bad launch for this streaming service.

We’re sorry most for the 200+ employees who are losing their jobs. A lot of people are losing jobs out there in 2020 and that is the true tragedy in this story.

And now let the official Quibi Fire Sale begin. Who will buy their content? I still think Apple should jump in, as they have the barest content cupboards, but something tells me they won’t want to nibble on any Quibi leftovers. Netflix? They might do like what they did with YouTube Red (Cobra Kai!!!) and cherry pick some licenses for second seasons. Amazon? Same thing. HBO Max? Peacock? Hulu? CBS, er Paramount+? Let’s hear what you think below.

Should Disney+ add Hulu as a hub or leave a standalone service?

Hulu is going all out for Halloween with Huluween!

A lot of speculation is around what Disney’s plans are with Hulu.

One idea is to bring Hulu in as a hub inside Disney+, similar to how Amazon Prime and Hulu already have subscribed add-on channels. This would make Disney+ even more like a streaming TV station with various channels.

Adding a Hulu hub within Disney+, would be away round adding more mature content to Disney+ and ideally increase. subscriptions to Hulu, raising more revenue for Disney.    While many including myself would prefer just one streaming service with everything, Disney is still cautious about associating some brands with the Disney name and also Disney+ wouldn’t be able to continue at its current price point with double or treble the amount of content.

Could Hulu Become A Hub Within Disney+ ? | What’s On Disney Plus

Disney also was once going to take Hulu internationally, but it seems those plans have stalled. In part, perhaps they don’t want to make Hulu too valuable, because Comcast still owns a stake and the more valuable it is, the more Disney will need to pay Comcast by 2024 to buyout their stake.

We’ve enjoyed Hulu, it’s one of the better streaming channels. For new content, anyway, if you strip away the main IP that Disney+ has (Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, The Simpsons, Disney animation etc), it’s a better streaming service than Disney+. It seems like Disney+ strategy was to assemble and offer their legacy content and not add much new in the first year. They have season two of The Mandalorian coming and some notable movies, but more new content comes regularly to Hulu. Also, Hulu is more adult-oriented.

So, does it make sense to fold Hulu into Disney+? I’m not sure on this one. It might turn off Hulu subscribers who don’t see Hulu as Disney, then again it might add an edge to Disney+ that it is more than (mostly) family-friendly content. I kind of like the idea of keeping the services separate and standalone, but can see this would make Disney+ more robust, particularly in the adding new content portion of the service, which is a current weakness.

What do you think? Leave Hulu standalone or should it be folded into Disney+?

LIMITED TIME OFFER – Amazon Prime Streaming Channel $0.99/month for 2 Months: Showtime, Starz, Epix, Lifetime, more!

Amazon Prime Day is held annually. There are also Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a great chance to do some shopping on a wide variety of items including premium add-on streaming channels.

Currently you can find a bunch of streaming channels available for $0.99/month for two months including: Showtime, Starz, Epix, Lifetime Movies and many more. You can cancel them after two months before they go back to full price, unless you decide to keep them.

We’ve pointed out these deals in the past, just keep an eye on the site search: LIMITED TIME. This post does not contain any affiliate links and we’re not compensated by Amazon for making it, this is us sharing a good deal with our reader friends. Hope you found some add-on channels to check out for a month or two.

Times are tough and any money that can be saved through special sales is appreciated, so thank you Amazon. If you have wanted to check out any of these channels, here you go. We picked up three of them so far, might subscribe to more.

With Parks Closed and Theaters Crippled, Disney Plans To Spend (a lot?) More On Streaming

In 2019, Disney was the beneficiary of some 40%+ of all movie theater revenue. A year later and nobody, Disney certainly included, is making the kind of money they did last year at theaters.

Disney’s response? Let’s focus even more on streaming.

The article that is linked below doesn’t say they are abandoning theaters completely, rather that they wan to go “directly to consumers.” We’ll try to read the tea leaves after the jump.

Daniel will be responsible, in part, for making big decisions about Disney’s theatrical and streaming release schedules going forward. ″[Consumers] are going to lead us,” Chapek said on “Closing Bell.” “Right now they are voting with their pocketbooks, and they are voting very heavily toward Disney+. We want to make sure that we are going the way the consumers want us to go.”

Disney reorganizes to focus on streaming, direct to consumer

Disney is calling up the Netflix playbook.

They are going to invest a lot more into creating content. They have plenty of IP to draw from with Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and their own Disney offerings. Not to mention, they have Hulu for more mature content offerings (see: Hulu is the Adult/Mature Disney+, Just ask Hillary Duff), if indeed they can continue to invest more in that. I hope they do. They need to have an adult arm of the company to promote.

Will they keep Hulu doing what it does? In 2024, Comcast has already agreed to sell their remaining 33% Hulu stake to Disney. Disney needs to stay that course.

I’ve been surprised just how good Hulu is as a current streaming service. Have quite enjoyed it the past few months. I’d put it right up there with HBO Max, maybe a little ahead since they are on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The deal Hulu has with Blumhouse is great for horror fans like yours truly.

Disney+ other than The Mandalorian, the Marvel movies and legacy content haven’t done too much in their first year. Let’s hope year #2 sees more content. Am not sure even with this announcement if it will, since it takes a little while to ramp up content. Netflix has the jump on everybody in this area.

While 2021 might not bring more worthy competition in streaming leaders, if the pandemic subsides sooner rather than later and full-on production without so many expensive COVID safety precautions, 2022 and 2023 could be extremely competitive. This is all good news for us streaming customers.

What does this mean for movie theaters?

Disney has not completely turned their backs on theaters, I mean if you look at the delays on big budget titles, that is clear. However, their actions since the pandemic began have shown they’re not embracing theatrical releases as they were pre-pandemic (see: Disney Diss? Rips Soul From Theaters To Be Disney+ Exclusive).

My guess with new production (not talking about films already on production slate and/or finished, game is wide open on those films) — and take it exactly as that — is Disney ratchets down the number of future big budget movie production and shoots for more medium to lower budget titles, with perhaps a couple huge budget movies a year (one at summer, one for holiday season), targeting more traditional theatrical first distribution. They can use these lower to medium budget titles to go straight to Disney+ or maybe even they embrace something like Universal has done with a three week reduced three week only theatrical window. Will they make that deal so they can justify having some kind of theatrical release? Chances are they’re watching what happens with the deal between AMC and Universal very closely and if it works out, they’ll try to get in on that somehow.

This all could change if the pandemic persists deep into 2021 and, god help us all if it worms into 2022. Disney (financially) can’t and won’t turn completely on theaters, because the money is too good, but it’s another sign that studios are not supporting movie theaters the way they might like them to anytime soon, if ever fully again.

Disney Diss? Rips Soul From Theaters To Be Disney+ Exclusive

Even box art is creative!

Disney’s love for theaters during the pandemic is questionable at best.

Pixar movies have historically been movie theater register grinders. They usually have good legs and make money week in and week out, grossing lots of box office $$$. The last Pixar movie, Onward, was unfortunately cut short due to theaters closing. Next scheduled is Soul. Was, rather.

Disney’s words are they believe in the theater experience, but their actions have been the opposite. First Artemis Fowl skipped theaters (Disney Pleases Movie Fans, Flexes in Front of National Theater Owners (NATO): Artemis Fowl will be Summer Disney+ Release — theaters weren’t open then, so that decision made sense), then Mulan’s unprecedented $30 premium + Disney+ experience — and don’t worry, we’ll have plenty to say about that serious customer diss in another post — and now Soul, set for launch in November is also being yanked.

Pixar’s “Soul” is skipping theaters and will debut exclusively on Disney Plus in time for Christmas. The animated family film will launch on the streaming service on Dec. 25. In international markets where Disney Plus isn’t available, “Soul” will be released theatrically on a yet-to-be determined date.

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Skips Theaters for Disney Plus – Variety

We’re Disney+ subscribers and appreciate the exclusive content, thank you, but what about the theaters? Sure, Regal (temporarily) quit the fight again and closed, but AMC is doing everything they can to reopen their chain. If/when New York and Los Angeles fall into line, they will be nearly 100% reopened in America. The theaters need new movies and Disney sees Universal push up the Croods sequel to compete against Soul and they decide to go the Disney+ exclusive route — again.

Why didn’t they move up Soul sooner in theaters? Did it have to be in November? Like, say, this past weekend to compete against War with Grandpa? Or put it against Liam Neeson and Honest Thief next weekend? Let it run in whatever theaters are open to satisfy the theatrical window and then move to Disney+ around Christmas time?

Better yet, adopt the same reduced theatrical window that Universal has with AMC (see: Universal: The Croods and Freaky Will Have Shortened Theatrical Window) and go to Disney+ sooner? Best of both worlds, Disney.

No, instead, they just abort the theater experience altogether. I don’t get it. If they truly want to support movie theaters, then put out some freaking movies in theaters for us cinephiles to enjoy! Will Black Widow be next? Some are speculating yes, but due to the large budget that seems unlikely.

Then again … ?

Pixar movies aren’t exactly inexpensive to make either. The budget for Soul was $150 million. That budget size movie — unless you’re Netflix, anyway — pretty much needs to open in theaters. And yet it’s not. Mulan’s budget was $200 million and that didn’t open domestically in theaters either.

Some are speculating that Soul looks like a not very kid-friendly Pixar movie . Death is a dark subject, but that was dealt with in Onward. This takes it even further, however. Check out the official trailer:

The trailer looks good. Argh, why Disney, why not release this sooner in theaters?

Pretty obvious, but I’m bummed not being able to see Soul on the big screen in America. It’s not just me hopelessly devoted to the big screen, though, this doesn’t make financial sense. Disney is hemorrhaging cash everywhere right now, laying off employees and then throws this bone to the 60+ million Disney+ subscribers. Will they pick up a few more subscribers around Christmas time? Sure. Will it replace $$$ lost $$$ not having domestic theater revenue? Maybe. Maybe not.

It’s important to note for readers abroad, some international audiences will still be able to enjoy this in theaters, but we’re not hopping a plane and traveling somewhere to see this movie. There has been no international release date announced. So, the international audience is being denied an earlier theater release, too.

Your turn.

Are you bappy to see Soul skip theaters and go Disney+ exclusively? Or would you rather have seen it as a theatrical release first? Still not feeling safe enough to return to theaters (that’s OK to feel that way), so it’s moot? Or don’t really care about this film either way? Please weigh in below.

Comcast’s Ad-Supported Xumo Reaches 24+ Million Subscribers – How Many Are Actively Watching?

Congrats to Comcast for 24+ million Xumo (https://corp.xumo.com/) subscribers. It’s a good number, but when Netflix boasts 190+ million paid subscribers, it’s not amazing comparatively. Heck, we were most recently impressed to see Shudder pass a 7-figure paid subscriber milestone (see: Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020)

Xumo, the free, ad-supported streaming TV service now owned by Comcast, wants to make the case that it’s in the same league as its two primary rivals, Fox’s Tubi and ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV. Since January, according to Xumo, its user base has soared 2.5 times to reach more than 24 million U.S. monthly active users.

Comcast’s Xumo Touts Explosive Growth, Topping 24 Million Monthly Users for Free Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

Their subscriber milestone shows many people continue to enjoy watching ad-supported TV streaming services like Xumo, Tubi, Pluto and others. Or maybe it shows that a significant number of people want to sign up — like we did — for the service.

Subscribing to something free, however, isn’t as important as people who sign up and are active.

How many of those 24+ million subscribers are actively watching say an average of 2 hours a week? That’s an average of watching one movie a week on the service. I would call those subscribers active.

Us? We wouldn’t pass this test. Not just with Xumo, but not any of the others either: Tubi, Pluto, heck we don’t even average that with the Roku channel, also free.

We are watching some live TV through Locast local channels like the Seahawks NFL games on Sunday. Have also been watching more news with the impending election and other world events through CBS All Access live TV option.

We have these free channels on Roku but the vast majority of our TV time goes to the 7 paid channels we subscribe to (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, CBS All Access, Shudder)

What about you, friendly readers? How much of these ad-supported TV/movies are you watching? Xumo, Pluto, Tubi, let’s just use those. Do you watch any of them more than 2 hours a week? Do you have a favorite of the three? Which one?

LIMITED OFFER: Google Offering “Free” Chromecast + TV to New YouTubeTV Subscribers

A new Chromecast just launched from Google officially on September 30. They are going after Roku competitively by including a remote and a menu a la Android TV. The device offers 4K and is priced at $49.99 USD.

A limited promotion is being offered for those interested in paying for at least one month of YouTubeTV ($64.99 USD).

Google is giving away a free Chromecast with Google TV device to everyone that signs up for YouTube TV before the end of the year. As the terms of the deal explain, you need to be a first-time subscriber to the streaming TV service to take advantage of the offer, and at least one monthly payment has to be processed between October 15th and December 31st, 2020. This offer is only available to US residents.

Google is giving away free Chromecasts – here’s how you can get one – BGR

We haven’t tried YouTubeTV but with the election coverage, NFL sports in action and the end nearing of the baseball season, this is a good time to have a month of live TV. We’re probably going to go in on this deal.

On Thursday we went around to a few local stores (Walmart, Best Buy, Target) and nobody had the new Chromecast + TV in stock yet. We already own the Chromecast Ultra (see: Tired of Waiting For Roku, 7+ Year Customer Buys Chromecast Ultra to Stream HBO Max to TV) but the downside to that is having to use your phone. Kara has never liked it and I’ve had a hard time getting used to the phone as a remote. It’s a good idea in theory, but it’s just not as handy as having a remote and using a Roku-style menu on the TV.

Glad to see this new version of Chromecast. Are you interested? Happy with Roku? Or using something else?

Ad-Supported Streaming Gaining More Traction in 2020

Just ask Shaggy how easy it is to blow out dynamite — metaphor: ad distraction during movie

While I understand commercials with TV shows, I’m not a fan of ads interrupting the movie watching experience. An ad or two before the movie starts, fine. Commercials every 20-30 minutes or worse ruin the viewing experience.

We’re in a relatively ad-free premium subscription era right now, but that could change going forward if our premium subscribers think they need to get a piece of the ad pie. Selling whatever we do is big business, just ask Google and Facebook.

Read between the lines. These media companies are now showing more interest in maximizing the monetization potential of streaming video than they ever have in the past. Better monetization potential of a growing number of AVOD viewers means it finally makes sense to make more deliberate investments in the model, which in turn grows the audience, which in turn boosts ad revenue, etc. Peacock and Tubi alone added nearly 30 million new viewers between them in just a few months. Just wait until these media companies really pull out all the stops.

Ad-Supported Streaming Is About to Dent Subscription Streaming, and Crush Cable

This makes me less than excited to think of HBO Max adding an ad-supported pricing tier in 2021 (see: Does an ad-supported HBO Max make sense, really?). Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ have never had them, Peacock launched with ads, Hulu has them, but they tend not to be not too intrusive when watching movies, they are much more noticeable with TV shows. CBS All Access has them, again, not too intrusive with their smaller selection of movies, but definitely noticeable with TV shows.

I think we’re all conditioned that LIVE TV has commercials. Enjoy watching live sports from time to time and will be watching at least some of the election debates coming up. The commercials being there are to be expected. It’s just a different thing when you’re watching movies. It’s OK for ads at either end. Previews before movies are fine, as long as not too many.

Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020

Creepshow Season 2 is filming now for future release on Shudder, slated most likely for 2021

Congratulations to AMC’s Shudder for hitting the seven figure subscriber milestone.

“The addition of original series and movies turbocharged our growth and turned Shudder into a must-have service for anyone interested in great horror, thriller or supernatural entertainment,” said Miguel Penella, president of SVOD at AMC Networks, in a statement. “Our relentless focus on quality programming, innovative content and finding the best up-and-coming creators has enabled Shudder to break out in the crowded world of subscription services.

AMC’s Horror Streaming Service ‘Shudder’ Reaches 1M Subscribers | Cord Cutters News

This news comes in the middle of their 61 days of Halloween horror event that kicked off on September 1 and runs through Halloween 2020.

Being a huge horror fan myself, Kara finds it one of her least favorite genres, this news is even better. Have said it before that Shudder is a must have for hardcore horror fans. Even if you subscribe, binge what you want for a couple months, leave and then come back and do it again a few months later. Whatever your horror watching strategy, at some point Shudder should be part of it.

And nobody is paying me to say that, nor are there any affiliate links to the site here. We’re subscribers and horror fans, that’s all, passing along something good.

As far as niche streaming sites go, this one is one of my most favorites. DC Universe used to be, but they are getting out of the streaming movie and TV show business, going comic books only and their video content is moving to HBO Max.

Anything you’d like to see playing on Shudder? They do have some modern horror films, but their sweet spot is titles that are older and newer originals, like recently I watched Nicolas Cage in Color Out Of Space ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (recommended).

Flixed study participants rank AppleTV+ worst streaming service — what about Quibi?

Apparently Quibi was not a choice in the Flixed study ranking for streaming service interfaces. AppleTV+, despite the anemic library selection, is better than Quibi. Heck, Quibi might possibly be for sale (see: Quibi Reportedly Exploring More Cash, Merger, Or Being Acquired)

in a recent study from tech company Flixed, when participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with each service’s interface, Apple TV+ didn’t just rank badly, it was dead last behind Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and even cable TV. 

Apple TV+ Ranks Last in Interface, Content & Overall Satisfaction in Recent Study | Cord Cutters News

Am not familiar with Flixed (https://flixed.io/). It looks like a service that helps match up cord cutters with service. An affiliate code gateway, if you will, with some helpful looking articles and a fairly clean website interface.

The omission of Quibi from the ranking for a tech company is curious. Why not include Quibi?

We’ve tried all the main streaming services and are currently subscribed to the main ones (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock), and a few of the secondary and/or niche streamers (CBS All Access, Shudder). Quibi and AppleTV+ we do not have subscriptions to at the moment, but at last check, we were (very) underwhelmed.

Greyhound starring Tom Hanks premiered on AppleTV+ in 2020. That is one of their high points. They had some TV shows (The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon) that generated some buzz and there have been a few other movies they’ve cherry picked. My main criticism for their service is not enough content. Sure, they “only” charge $4.99/month, but they need more to justify charging even that.

Quibi has more content, but it’s the way they released it, in small 10 minute or less chunks and the fact that they wanted to force us to watch it on our cell phones that raises the most concern. They’ve repeatedly said they were going to enable cast to TV, but to date they still aren’t on Roku or Amazon Fire, only Chromecast. Yes, they share that in common with HBO Max, but the difference is WarnerMedia has wanted to work a deal since day one where Quibi launched with no interest in enabling cast to TV as an option. In fact, they specifically blocked this functionality.

We don’t need a study from Flixed or anybody else to declare Quibi the bottom of the streaming barrel, followed quite a bit higher by AppleTV+.