Happy Friday Cord Cutters!
This week we're talking about the big changes afoot at Hulu and what this means for the TV industry as a whole.
Also: Deals, a Q&A re: on-screen guides, must-see OTA TV, and more.
As always, if you know of someone who might need some insight or help with cutting the cord on cable or satellite, please forward our newsletter, or use the handy share buttons at the top of this email.
OK... now let's get to it!
NEWS: Lawsuit, Acquisitions Signal Big Changes for Hulu & Industry
Buckle in, because this is complicated but BIG for TV fans...
Streaming service Hulu is currently a joint venture between Comcast/NBCUniversal, Warner Media, Disney, and FOX.
With Disney in active talks to buy FOX AND Warner Media (via recent acquirer AT&T), the House of Mouse could soon own a controlling 70% stake in Hulu. This could provide Disney with the incentive and leeway to push for growth and rapid expansion into international markets.
This potential shake-up is happening at the same time as FOX is facing a $179 million dollar bill stemming from a lawsuit by the creators and stars of the former FOX show Bones.
An arbitrator ruled this week that 20th Century Fox Television studios lowballed licensing rights to Bones in contracts with both the FOX broadcast network and Hulu.
Not only did this pave the way for sweetheart 'insider' deals for entities within the FOX family, but it limited revenue-sharing obligations to the show's producers and stars since Bones didn't sell at 'fair market value'.
WHAT THIS MEANS
While this is a positive resolution for the creative team behind Bones, it's a symptom of a larger shift affecting the entire TV industry.
There's a growing return to an old-Hollywood-style 'studio system' where the programs that are greenlit, canceled or renewed - see Netflix's Marvel shows, Last Man Standing, and Brooklyn 99 - are increasingly a factor of 'show ownership', and therefore potential corporate profit.
It's also why you're seeing companies like Netflix invest in creators like Shonda Rhimes, hoping to extract a slate of shows from a single creative team.
The TV business is changing rapidly and the only certainty is that nobody knows how it's going to all shake out.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
As the number of entities making TV shows shrinks, and the shows they produce are increasingly coming from an even smaller set of creative teams, it's possible that the shifting layers of corporate claptrap could prevent unique, quality content from even making it to our screens.
(Oh, and P.S. - Hulu's most recent price adjustments are now in effect.)
Q&A: How Do I Get an On-Screen Guide for Antenna TV?
This week's question comes from Stan who asks, "How Do I Get an On-Screen Guide that Shows What's on OTA TV?"
One of the perks of pay TV is a nice on-screen grid-based list of what shows are airing over the next few hours. But just because you're making the switch to watching TV with an Over-the-Air antenna, doesn't mean you have to live without that convenience.
There are a few different ways to get guide data for antenna TV including:
TitanTV.com provides a free online guide listing (as well as apps for iOS and Android mobile devices) that can be customized to show your specific lineup of Over-the-Air channels. While you can't beat the price, it's not a TV-based on-screen guide.
Originally designed as a way to ease the transition from analog to digital TV signals, connecting your antenna to a converter box will provide a VERY basic on-screen TV guide. Unfortunately, the guides often use the free data included in the broadcast TV stream (PSIP) which tends to only go out a few days at most, and can even be missing on some channels.
In addition to giving you the ability to record your favorite shows, an Over-the-Air DVR like Tablo will also provide an on-screen Live TV guide. The guides on DVRs tend to be much more like those from cable and satellite boxes and use data from quality 3rd party providers to ensure accuracy and completeness.
Select Smart TVs
Many Smart TV manufacturers including TCL, LG, and Samsung are building antenna-friendly features into their interfaces, including on-screen guides for Live TV. Consult your television’s user manual to find out what features your Smart TV offers for antenna users.
Have a question about cord cutting that you'd like answered? Send us a note and you may see your question in an upcoming issue of Cord Cutting This Week!
SHORT CUTS: Tablo QUAD Review, 40% Off Sling TV, & More
Some weeks there's more news than we can cram into this email. Thankfully 'short cuts' delivers the cord cutting news and deals we didn't have room for, including:
WHAT'S ON: Must-See OTA TV
As usual, there's lots great TV coming to you FREE with an antenna this week including:
- John Mulaney hosts with musical guest Thomas Rhett on Saturday Night Live - March 2 @ 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC/Global
- American Idol is back for season 17 - March 3 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC/CTV2
- Comedy/drama Good Girls returns for season 2 - March 3 @ 10:00 p.m. ET on NBC
- The reboot of the classic Canadian drama Street Legal premieres - March 4 @ 9:00 p.m. ET on CBC
- New CBC sitcom Catastrophe premieres - March 5 @ 9:30 p.m. ET on CBC
- New CBC crime drama Diggstown premieres followed by the new mystery Ordeal by Innocence - March 6 @ 8:00 p.m. ET on CBC
- Big Brother Canada returns for season 7 - March 6 @ 7:00 p.m. ET on Global
- Sitcom AP Bio also returns for season 2 - March 7 @ 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC
- Season 2 of crime drama For the People premieres - March 7 @ 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC/CTV2
Don't forget to regularly check the TV SHOWS > PREMIERING filter on your Tablo app to find and set new and old favorites to record!
CANADIAN CORNER: What to Expect from the Street Legal Reboot
The reboot of one of Canada's longest-running dramas - Street Legal - premieres on Monday.
The cast includes familiar face Cynthia Dale (aka Olivia Novak) working with a new trio of young lawyers on a class-action suit involving the opioid epidemic. Former cast members Eric Peterson and Anthony Sherwood will also make guest appearances.
Want more details? Check out the full interview with executive producer Bruce M. Smith in TV Eh?
We hope you enjoyed this edition of Cord Cutting This Week!
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