The next wave of streaming: HBO, Disney+, and Apple. PLUS: Chucky!

Always Be Watching is by Dan Barrett who is pitching a Critters TV revival.

We truly are living in an age of premium quality TV. Syfy has just won a bidding war to broadcast the upcoming TV series based on 80s ‘horror’ franchise Chucky.


Could we see Apple launching its streaming service sometime in April? It’s possible:

The Information is reporting that Apple has told various studios and networks “whose offerings will be available through the service to be ready for launch by mid-April,” according to three sources. Some of those studios may include independent film powerhouse A24 and the Oprah Winfrey Network, which Apple has signed multiyear and picture deals with, according to previous reports. The streaming service is expected to launch “within several weeks of that date,” according to The Information. There’s still no information on how much Apple’s streaming service will cost subscribers.

April is also reportedly when Disney will be showing off its own streaming platform Disney+ to investors.


Oh, and Apple is also considering a subscription gaming service:

While it’s unclear what kinds of games would be included, a subscription service for App Store games could provide a boost to Apple’s recurring revenue at a time when iPhone sales are slowing and gaming and esports are booming. Mobile gaming is expected to become a $100 billion industry by 2021, according to the gaming and esports intelligence firm Newzoo.

“It’s a big enough market to move the needle for Apple,” Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and investing partner at Loup Ventures, told Cheddar.


Platforms like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire are being used as de-facto replacements for traditional cable TV. Amazon started this properly with its launch of what it calls Amazon Channels. Customers can subscribe to various video services through Amazon, such as HBO or Starz, and with that it then integrates content from those platforms into its own wider platform. This is different to what Apple has traditionally done by just offering an app on its Apple TV platform.

One of the cool things about Amazon Channels is that it gives you access to both the on-demand streaming libraries on offer, as well as streams of the services linear channels.

The success of Amazon Channels has reportedly encouraged Apple to do something similar, which will presumably happen through the TV app on Apple TV (Though, I suppose it is possible that we may see an entire Apple TV UI refresh… this seems unlikely though). This would be part of the launch of its TV service being launched in April(?).

Despite the success of Amazon Channels, Amazon is reportedly scaling it back and being more selective in what channels it offers. I would assume this is for reasons of quality control.


It’s still a little uncertain how HBO will fit into the streaming eco-system in the coming years. What we do know is that AT&T have plans to get HBO to scale up the volume of content it is producing in order to raise the number of minutes streamed by subscribers. The thinking is that the more time a customer spends on platform, the more they value that service. Which makes sense.

Vanity Fair has a chat with the upper brass at HBO about the increase and what that means for its infamous quality control.


Cynthia Littleton at Variety takes a deep dive into the business of Disney+. This is probably the must-read of the week.

“It’s going to be years until they start to recover their investment in streaming,” says Hal Vogel, veteran industry analyst. “They will be forgoing high profit margin revenues and moving into a very competitive arena with Netflix and Amazon and probably Apple. Investors are focused right now on the dream of seeing everybody move into streaming. But we need to know more about what the pain points are for these companies and how much they are willing to lose.”

More details about Disney’s investment to date in its Direct-to-Consumer operations will be forthcoming on Feb. 5, when the conglom reports its fiscal first quarter earnings. For the first time, the company will break out financials for the Direct-to-Consumer and International division. Disney earlier this month disclosed that the unit recorded a loss for the first nine months of 2018 of $738 million in operating income on revenue of $3.4 billion, most of which came from Disney’s international channels.


Empire star Jussie Smollett has been physically assaulted in what is believed to have been a hate crime.

According to a statement released by the Chicago Police Department, Smollett was beaten by two men who approached him by yelling out “racial and homophobic slurs” at approximately 2 a.m. Tuesday morning in the 300 block of E. North Water Street. They proceeded to assault Smollett and “poured an unknown chemical substance” on him.

The two men are also said to have put a rope around Smollett’s neck before fleeing on foot. Smollett then transported himself to an area hospital and is described as being in “good condition.”


And finally…

This is funny… but also, the Netflix Twitter account is getting a bit too cute for my liking.