📺 YouTube vs. NBCUniversal


September 29, 2021

The Hustle

Amazon introduced its long-anticipated home robot — Astro. Equipped with a 10” visual display, Astro can roam the home and complete a range of tasks. More importantly, for $1k, you can feel like you’re actually living in “The Jetsons.”

Today’s rundown:

  • YouTube vs. NBC: What’s the beef?
  • E-books economics: Why digital reading is bad news for libraries.
  • Netflix metrics: How the streaming giant measures success.

Let’s do it.

The Big Lead
Sunday Night Football

YouTube vs. NBCUniversal, explained

Bad news for YouTube TV subscribers who like watching “Sunday Night Football” or “Snapped!”

Fourteen NBCUniversal channels, plus some local sports networks, could disappear from YouTube TV tomorrow. That’s when the contract between the Google-owned platform and NBCU expires, and the 2 haven’t been able to reach a new agreement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

YouTube TV currently offers its ~3m subscribers 85+ channels. Its deal with NBCU includes CNBC, Golf Channel, Bravo, MSNBC, USA Network, SYFY, and more.

The beef:

  • NBCU says it wants Google to pay “fair rates” for its content
  • But YouTube wants a guarantee it will pay the same rates as similarly sized services
  • YouTube doesn’t want to bundle NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, which viewers would have to use a different app to watch

NBCU is suggesting viewers tweet at YouTube, chat with them, or switch providers…

… while YouTube TV is promising a discount

YouTube TV was $35/mo. when it launched in 2017 and most recently hiked its rate by $15 in 2020 due to the “rising cost of content.”

It currently costs $64.99/mo. — the same as competitor Hulu Live TV, which has ~4.1m subscribers.

If YouTube TV loses NBCU’s channels, it will drop to $54.99/mo. — a $10 discount.

Meanwhile, Peacock has 54m subscribers — it got a boost thanks to the Olympics — and costs $4.99/mo.

So, oddly enough, it may actually be a better deal for viewers to get the discounted YouTube TV and Peacock.

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SNIPPETS

BNPL goes big: Walmart joined the buy-now-pay-later gold rush, and got rid of its layaway offering in the process. #ecommerce-retail

Leo’s EV: Polestar, an electric car company based in Sweden that counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor, announced it is going public via SPAC. #clean-energy

Cinematic story: 2 of Apple’s leaders talked about how they built cinematic mode — a key feature of the iPhone 13. #emerging-tech

Better tracking: Google shifted the focus of its ad performance away from last-click attribution to its data modeling algorithm. #privacy

Going nuclear: Bitcoin miners are partnering with nuclear power plants in an effort to fight against environmental criticism. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Camera chaos: Amazon started using AI cameras to monitor bad driving, and delivery drivers claim the cameras are causing them to lose money. #big-tech

E-book Economics
library book

E-books saved libraries, but the economics may soon crush them

In the heart of the pandemic, when physical book rentals were stifled by social distancing guidelines, e-books gave libraries a lifeline.

However, due to having a different cost model than physical books, the growing shift to digital consumption could result in serious consequences for libraries, per The New Yorker.

E-books don’t follow the same rules as physical books

Physical books follow a legal policy called the “first sale doctrine.” This rule allows libraries to purchase a book then lend it to readers in perpetuity at no additional cost.

With e-books, the first sale doctrine doesn’t apply — and publishers offer a range of license types, including:

  • Limited Loan License: Requires the library to repurchase the license after a specified number of checkouts
  • Limited Term License: Requires the library to repurchase the licence after a specified period of time
  • Pay-per-Use License: Charges a fee for each individual checkout

These digital licenses are more expensive for libraries, which, as public entities, don’t have huge budgets to begin with.

More readers are going digital

OverDrive, a leading marketplace for e-books and audiobooks, went from fewer than 200m checkouts on the platform in 2016 to 430m+ in 2020.

While many librarians celebrate e-books for giving readers more options, they may soon be forced to reckon with the economics.

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Featuring The Hustle’s Steph Smith

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Steph (director of marketing) could be any business’s Swiss Army knife. She’s a creator and analyst who does 6-figure launches on the side.

Fresh topics from episode #208:

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Streaming Data
Netflix's most popular movies and series

How many have you seen? (Source: The Verge / Code 2021)

What are Netflix’s biggest hits?

When a Netflix series or movie blows up, how do we know?

One sure sign: a steady drip of memes (think Tiger King).

While that’s a great outcome for internet culture, it leaves a lot to be desired for many of Netflix’s other stakeholders — like investors and talent.

Peeling back the curtain

At the Code 2021 conference on Monday, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos revealed some juicy streaming data, per The Verge.

Its most popular content can be tracked across 2 variables:

  • The number of accounts that watched at least 2 minutes of the content within 28 days of its release
  • Total view hours per title within the first 28 days

“Bridgerton: Season 1” was the most popular show across both of these metrics, while “Birdbox” and “Extraction” shared the top 2 spots for films.

Netflix needs to provide even more data…

… to placate talent, producers, and agents. For example, how many people watched something in its entirety or the total number of viewers (not just accounts).

The data dump comes as Hollywood battles it out for streaming riches:

  • Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over her “Black Widow” release
  • TV unions pushing streaming services for better pay

We’re just happy a new season of “Tiger King” is out in November.

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AROUND THE WEB

📺 On this day: In 1975, Detroit’s WGPR-TV became the 1st Black-owned and operated TV station in the US. Its initials stood for “Where God’s Presence Radiates.”

🕯️ Haha: Many of us are weirdly into the smell of gasoline, which is not safe to smell. Hence, one writer’s amusing quest for a gasoline-scented candle.

🐦 That’s interesting: The cassowary is the world’s most dangerous bird because its toe is basically a knife. But research suggests humans used to raise them 6k to 18k years ago.

😮 Wow: A man sculpts a bonsai tree out of a bunch of wires. And just when you think he’s done, it gets better.

🎼 Huh: New Beethoven drops Oct. 9! How? Beethoven never finished his Tenth Symphony, but AI just did.

💰 How to: Investing can be confusing. Here’s a beginner’s guide to retail investing, plus tools to grow your portfolio.

Meme of the day
YouTube ads meme

Hahahahahahaha (Source: eBaumsWorld)

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