Posts Categorized: Media Business

6 Reasons to Save Your Online Media

(Image via AFP.com)

Online streaming is entirely awesome. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu allow you to binge-watch your favorite series whenever you want, on any kind of device that you connect with. However, these solutions are far from being perfect. Sometimes your favorite show can be inaccessible or disappear without a trace — that’s why many consumers who fall in love with fast-paced shows such as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black really want to know how to record Netflix.

Netflix is not the only streaming platform that presents this problem. Amazon Prime and Hulu take down their shows and movies after a set period of time, too. If you don’t know how to record Hulu, Amazon Prime, or your other favorite streaming services, you might not be able to see your favorite show or movie if (and when) it’s taken down.

This alone should be good enough reason to save and watch your favorite shows offline, but here’s our complete top six list of reasons to save your online media.

1. Captured content is more consumer-friendly

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Watching shows on Netflix is great if you’re at home. But, what if you’re on-the-go? 1080p videos will burn through your monthly data plan so fast, it’ll make your head spin. If you record a movie from Netflix on your phone or tablet while you’re safely connected to your home WiFi, you can watch that content anywhere without worrying about high data charges.

Let’s not forget then that in-flight WiFi often doesn’t allow you to access streaming platforms, for reasons connected to bandwidth. Frequent flying (and other Internet-lacking means of travel) is always less stressful if you can access your favorite show or movie offline!

2. Amazon Prime is making a move toward exclusive material

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Competition is stiff, and if you want to attract enough users you need to be able to offer exclusive content. Netflix is funding a satire called War Machine, starring Brad Pitt. The company strongly believes quality is more important than quantity. Their reasoning? YouTube has thousands of times more content than Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime combined but is struggling with subscriptions for YouTube Red.

When it comes to paying for a streaming service, content is king. That means Netflix won’t be as aggressive as you’d expect when it comes to adding new shows.

3. Netflix doesn’t have as many titles as you might think

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As of 2016, they only had 4,563 movies and 2,445 series. As a matter of fact, their catalog has shrunk in the past year. There was one time when they had over 13,000 shows – this latest count puts them at 6,998, or just under 7,000.

Other services will most likely follow suit, as well.

4. Content licenses come and go

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Netflix is constantly changing up their copyright agreements; they operate on a temporary licensing model. This means their shows expire, and you have no idea when they are coming back.

If a show is not popular enough, they might take it down. If a show is too popular, they might have to take it down, too (usually to renegotiate the license).

5. Weak connections can spoil streaming

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Watching a movie online means that you can follow your favorite characters without interruptions. Unlike YouTube or network TV, you can fully plunge into the story without any commercial breaks or other distractions.

A lagging Internet connection or a sudden temporary disruption might spoil the most intriguing plot twist…and the moment is ruined! Internet speed is not the same everywhere, and in a pretty standard household, it’s normal to have multiple smartphones, a TV and even tablets all connected at once.

This also holds true for commuters who have to deal with an intermittent mobile connection.

6. It’s legal (for personal use) and you can still support the creators

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Your monthly or annual fee covers the licensing costs that distribution companies negotiate with each streaming platform. These, in turn, share profit with the producers; a mechanism similar to old-school TV.

From a legal standpoint, you’re on the right side of the law. In 1984, the Supreme Court ruled time-shifted to view that recording videos for your own personal, non-commercial use is not against the law. At the time of clunky VCRs, people used to record their favorite shows to watch them at a more convenient time or to be able to re-watch them. Later on, people could consider whether or not they would buy a physical copy of the movie.

The business model for producers and distribution companies has changed and revenue streams are mostly generated at theaters (for movies) and through licenses. That’s a perk of a Netflix recorder – you can save each show and watch it without limitations. In the meantime, you can still consider buying a Blu-ray or DVD (if available) to further support the creators of the show.

These are some of the reasons why being able to record Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime video streams is a vital complementary feature. Replay Video Capture allows people to record movies from Netflix (and basically any other platforms) before the company takes them down.

Use Replay Video Capture to get your favorite content before it disappears from your online streaming service, and to enjoy movies and online shows without worrying about your connection!

 

Get Replay Video Capture Today!

Comcast & Dreamworks: What This Means for Media Consumers

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Image via iptvbros.com

There’s been a ton of bustle in the media industry surrounding the recent acquisition of Dreamworks by network giant, Comcast (read more here). While this may not sound scary on the surface, it will most certainly affect you, the viewer, directly.

Let’s be straight here – Comcast purchased DreamWorks to expand their content through what’s called vertical integration. A Medium article we came across describes it perfectly as “the equivalent of the mall owning the stores and also the products sold within the stores.”

The problem with big media companies getting even bigger is that they begin too push out smaller, independent media. Just last year for example, Sesame Street was purchased by HBO in the never-ending battle to bring in and satisfy more cord-cutting subscribers to their service.

“In 2009, Comcast (a cable company) bought NBCUniversal (a cable network). Within that network, you can watch numerous TV shows… And that’s just on NBC. The full range of TV shows is much larger when you factor in all of the other TV networks that are under the NBCUniversal umbrella…

By merging the cable company with cable networks, that integrates two of the three vertical segments in the cable TV marketplace. In our earlier analogy, this would include the mall and the stores within the mall.

That’s news from 2009 though. The last remaining vertical segment is the TV shows. This is where DreamWorks comes in.”

With these 3 powerhouse vertical segments in works together, Comcast is stamping their name to the front of the streaming competition. This move could prevent other services like Netflix and Hulu from accessing more TV shows and movies for their catalogs, as Comcast continues to try to attract customers away from the competition and appear more valuable overall.

While Comcast can trace their own company’s successes to the fact that they offer multiple unique services under the same umbrella, in the end the consumer still has to pay for Internet to access any of it – a service that Comcast still owns… where’s the fairness in that?

What do you think about this acquisition, and the future of online media as a whole? We’re curious to hear from you in the comments below.

How to Record and Convert Music From Spotify, Pandora & More

Replay Music is the ultimate piece of software for any music lover and collector. While we’re mourning the death of Rdio, you can still capture amazing audio files from online radio stations, music videos, digital music services, and any other music streaming site, including:

An ideal holiday gift for your audiophile friends and family, Replay Music can record song files from any website or media player, and is completely optimized for capturing music audio. Advanced audio recording technology eliminates system sounds, background noises and other annoyances, leaving you with the cleanest recording possible. It also saves your music into high quality MP3s that are perfectly separated into individual tracks, and tagged with the correct song metadata automatically.

The best part? Replay Music is 100% legal to use — it falls in the same category as CD ripping programs like iTunes, and is the same thing as using a tape recorder or DVR to record media. So, you can record and convert all of the music you want in your personal collection! As long as you ONLY use these recordings for your own use (i.e: don’t start selling ripped CDs on the side). What are you waiting for?

Get started with a free trial of Replay Music for PC.

Get started with a free trial of Replay Music for Mac.

YouTube April 20 Changes

There is a lot of discussion about the changes YouTube is planning on April 20, 2015, and how it may or may not affect various YouTube downloading solutions.  Besides the YouTube engineers, nobody knows for sure what effect this will have. Officially, they will be discontinuing some older APIs, but that’s all we know.

From Applian’s standpoint, we will always be able to download videos from ANY site — no matter what changes come about. There may be a few days where we scramble to come up with a downloader fix to Replay Media Catcher, but programs like Replay Video Capture will always be able to record video – no matter what.

April should be an interesting month!

GET OUT OF THE BOX: Why You Should Cut Your Cable Today

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Much has been said of the Golden Age of television today, and now, more than ever, more is being done to take the TV out of the box and onto your more savvy technological devices. We’ve been in this industry for a long time and there has never been a better time to unplug from TV subscriptions and go in for online media subscriptions and computer software (like us!). Here’s why:

THE CABLE COMPANY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

It’s not difficult to notice your cable package getting more and more expensive every year. Analysts have discovered that the price of TV subscriptions have increased 32% over the last five years. At this rate, it’s already increasing faster than inflation. So, even if you’re in that steady job, you’ll need a raise every time you renew your platform to watch Judge Judy. Not to mention the Net Neutrality debacle to strangle the open playing field for Internet speed (we recommend watching this funny and honest segment by John Oliver for context) Basically, media companies are realizing that the new age of online content is happening like a tsunami and they want to tie you to the weight that is a cable package.

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MORE CONTENT FOR LESS EFFORT (AND MONEY)

There are so many great services online to find original content, television shows, and full-length movies. And, much of it involves very little heavy lifting on your end. Not only do you get to create your own “playlists” or queues of content to watch, but also you no longer get the incessant noise of near constant commercials. Here are some of our quick tips on the different sources for your “new cable”:

  • HBOGo: It’s not TV, indeed. HBO announced they are working on a subscription-only plan that doesn’t even need a cable provider, but for now, you can still access archives of award-winning television and monthly new episodes and movies online.
  • Netflix: Everyone’s favorite new media platform, Netflix has been breaking the mold with their original content and providing endless hours of syndicated TV and hundreds of great movies streaming. Additionally, they refresh their stock monthly.
  • Amazon Prime: Making news with their Golden Globe-winning “Transparent”, Amazon has been making waves in original content as well with their Instant Video subscription. Not to mention, they have a different hold on networks and studios, so they offer different options than Netflix has, and can’t get.
  • Google Chromecast: This is a pay-as-you-go service and TV plug-in device, similar to On Demand Movies (or Xbox, Apple TV, etc), wherein you pay for films you’d like to see. Many of them are recently released to theaters or just out to the public. There is also a ton of content if you synch your HULU Plus account and “cast” from there. Pretty much any computer screen can be “casted” to your television, so it makes YouTube a whole new world of entertainment.

This is just a sampling and a generalized description of the options that are open to the cord-cutters out there. Sure, some research is involved, but getting an extra $50 to $150 back in your wallet every month is definitely worth it.

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GET EVERYTHING YOU NEED

But what about live TV? With services like Pluto TV providing options for news and music channels, and more and more major networks making their primetime events streaming, for example the Super Bowl will be online for free for eleven hours (including pre and post-game coverage); it’s only fitting that the future is adapting to a whole audience of chord-cutters. In fact, geography doesn’t even matter if you integrate a VPN service to allow you to tiptoe over international restrictions to access sites like BBC.

Sure, there are now more places to find great content, but what’s the next step in storing and re-watching the media you love? Thankfully products like Replay Video Capture and our Replay Capture Suite can take all of the shows and movies you love, and keep them for “re-runs” whenever you’d like. You can also record and capture one-time streaming events or programs while you’re not around or at your computer.

 

With all of these options out there, it only makes sense to make the leap into this brave new cordless world. And, we’ll be here to guide you confidently through it!

The End of Grooveshark Recording?

It looks like Grooveshark is in a heap of trouble, according to this article in Ars Technica.

A judge found that Grooveshark employees were encouraged to upload thousands of songs to the service. As far as I understand the legality, if users upload it’s OK for Grooveshark, but it’s pretty obviously a copyright violation if employees of the company are doing it – especially when directed by management. This violates the basic rule of thumb of copyright law: Don’t redistribute other people’s stuff without their permission.

There’s still a lot of great music sites out there (which Replay Media Catcher and Replay Music record from nicely). But Grooveshark is one of my favorites.

Will Google Ever Let Us Advertise? Help me Susan Wojcicki.

Until about five years ago, we used to be good sized advertisers on Adwords. Google abruptly changed their policies, and with very little warning banished us from Adwords and AdSense. Forever. We never really had a good explanation as to why this happened, only some vague references to “hacking and cracking” in their Terms of Service. (We are fully DMCA compliant, so this is quite puzzling – and unfair.) It was more frustrating at the time because our competitors were allowed to continue advertising. And even today, we still see Google ads for competing products. Google even subsidizes RealPlayer, which offers a basic download functionality along with the bloatware (IMO) that makes up the rest of the product. Today – I’ve finally had enough.

At Ad:Tech in San Francisco, I watched an excellent presentation by Susan Wojcicki, Google’s SVP of Advertising, on the future of online ads. After her speech, I cornered her backstage and explained to her that we never really got a fair hearing, and that Google being the #1 advertising platform has a duty to keep an open playing field. She took my card, and promised to get their Policy Team on the case. She wouldn’t give me her contact info, but I know where she works 😉

I’m not optimistic that Google will change for us. I believe the MPAA and other studios pressure Google to block downloading products. That being said, I wonder why the MPAA doesn’t raise a fuss about RealPlayer being bundled with Google Toolbar and Chrome – both of which subsidize Real’s downloads. Our tools are superior, but it’s still a competitor we have to deal with, and having exclusive access to Google’s products in our category gives them an unfair advantage.

Susan Wojcicki – I’m awaiting a reply…

Downloading Media and Copyright Trolls

People are getting their media fix in a variety of ways these days. Some use our software to record or download for their personal use, others go to clearly illegal download sites, and some use BitTorrent. While downloading is the most convenient and fastest way to capture video or audio, it does have some inherent risks. And some unscrupulous people will try to take advantage.

Take the case of Prenda Law, documented by blogger Popehat and others here. (Read the link backwards for a good history.) In a nutshell, a few lawyers allegedly bought the rights to worthless adult movies, had them posted on BitTorrent, and then watched as other people used Torrent software to download them. They captured the IPs of the downloaders, and then subpoenaed the internet providers to get the name of the customers. Then they filed copyright actions against these alleged downloaders, in the hopes that they would settle rather than going to court to defend themselves from downloading porn. A pretty clever scheme.

This is starting to fall apart, as many bloggers and opposing lawyers claim the very same lawyers who were doing the suing also formed the company to buy the copyrights, and tried to hide this fact from the courts. Oh – and these guys apparently did some identify theft to make a CEO for these holding companies. One federal judge is particularly not amused, and has ordered all the parties to appear in his courtroom April 2. A lot of people are following this, as it’s pretty unusual for a judge to take these steps.

Nevertheless, I understand from reading articles about this that many people caught downloading have decided to pay up to $3000 instead of fighting this in court, which is the preferred outcome to begin with for these (alleged) schemers.

The moral – when you download something from a file download or torrent site, your IP address is available, and anyone motivated enough can find out who you are. Using products like ours – where the server logs look like normal use – is one way to protect yourself.

Comcasttown: Webkinz for Adults. No lie.

If you’re interested in seeing one of the dumbest business ideas ever, have a look at the new Comcasttown.com web site. I heard an ad for it on the radio, and was thinking “Cool. Now I can stream those Comcast TV shows to my PC.” I am a subscriber, so I figured they had finally worked out some content deals to get me the TV I already pay for onto my PC.

What I got looks suspiciously like the Webkinz kids site. (My kids play on it constantly, so I know it well. And it’s great – for them.) Basically, you’re given a “room”, and you can buy virtual furniture for it with virtual cash, and there’s a Facebook connect thing where you can invite your friends to come over to your virtual room and do god knows what.

The irony is that this is a wrapper over Fancast.com. Why shouldn’t I go to Fancast (or Hulu) to watch TV on my PC. Why should I be bothered with this nonsense? Worse, it appears you only get the top 5 shows on Fancast – unless you hunt for more I guess. I ran out of patience before investigating further.

What are they going to do next – come out with a line of Comcast stuffed toys? “Commies”? I’d buy one if it was a likeness of the idiot who came up with this idea so I could stick pins in it.

Let me watch the Cable TV I pay for on my laptop so I can ditch my SlingBox! That’s what I want.

On the plus side, the ad jingle was really, really catchy. And… no, that’s it.

At Applian, we’re really good at designing cool products and marketing them well. If there’s a marketing angle here I don’t see, I’d love to be enlightened. Especially by anyone from Comcast. So, if you’re from Comcast, come defend yourself in the comments!

The “TV Everywhere” Initiative

As online video grows in popularity, some people are considering disconnecting their Cable or Satellite TV services and consuming everything online. Services like Hulu, although owned by the big networks, are showing the promise of an online-only world of programming.

Others want a la carte Cable. They ask “why should I pay for channels I don’t watch?” KInda, sorta makes sense at first.
Most experts think this pay-as-you-go model is unlikely to happen in the near future. The NY Times had a good explanation of the economics and social benefit of bundling cable service. Mark Cuban also breaks this down nicely.
What will happen is that if you have a Cable or Satellite subscription, you will also be able to consume the same media online. Time Warner is already working towards this.

The Cable and Satellite and the Networks aren’t going to kill a very profitable business. But by enhancing it by making the content you already pay for available online, they will get more viewership and be able to serve more ads.
This seems like the best possible solution that balances the interests of consumers and the media companies.