Disney announces streaming bundle
Disney is ready to accelerate the undoing of the pay TV industry with its announced streaming bundle, offering ESPN, Disney and Hulu at the price of $12.99. That price is equivalent to Netflix and Amazon Prime. The Verge
dis-rup-shun: This changes the streaming game, and the pay TV game altogether. Why? First of all, getting these packages at this price means that Disney is selling at a loss and plans to play the long game. That’s bad news for Netflix, a company that doesn’t plan to make a profit for a long time, and has stated that it will eventually reach profitability through original programming. It will take a great deal of original programming to come close to original content of non-stop sports, Disney’s catalog, and the less interesting Hulu catalog. Given a choice, why take Netflix at all? Because of a few interesting shows. Secondly, AT&T, now entering the streaming game with its Time Warner acquisition, is clearly playing the long game with its own studio. It is also in the streaming business to recapture the cord cutters that are leaving DirecTV for bundles such as Disney’s.
Amazon price pressure — anti-competitive?
Amazon is under investigation by the FTC. What’s of interest to the Feds is Amazon’s practice of telling its third party sellers who offer the same products on other marketplaces for a lower price that they may lose some Amazon perks, like listings at the top of a page, or Prime shipping. This causes the sellers to raise prices on marketplaces such as eBay or Walmart.com. Amazon’s costs for listing and advertising, however, are the highest online. The Verge
dis-rup-shun: When you control the largest online marketplace (by far) and you charge your customers fees for placing products in that market, and you penalize customers for setting their own prices, you just may have more influence than “the free market.” Consumers might benefit from knowing that they don’t have to shop because all marketplaces offer the same goods at the same price, but not as much as they benefit from finding better deals and deciding if they are willing to trade a discount for non-Prime shipping. Expect Amazon to have to make some concessions to the Feds.
Man crosses English Channel on hover board
After failing a month ago by wiping out in the sea, inventor Franky Zapata successfully crossed the English Channel this weekend on a hover board, traveling from France to England in 20 minutes. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: As vehicle ownership decreases, giving way to transportation-as-a-service models, and as drone use increases, super fast travel such as hover boards may be an option for commuters.
Amazon delivery robots working sidewalks in Irvine
Amazon is now testing delivery via robotic carts to neighborhoods in Irvine, California. The Scout devices are autonomous, but are accompanied by a person who is there to make sure everything goes as planned and to test sentiment for the devices. One problem to be resolved is sharing sidewalks with pedestrians and Scouts. ZDNet
dis-rup-shun: Will people prefer delivery trucks running through the neighborhood, or robots buzzing along the sidewalk? In densely populated areas, robotic carts from multiple vendors dodging pedestrians won’t be tolerated, but reducing truck traffic on the streets will be favored. A drone lane between the sidewalk and the street could be easily painted, and supported by appropriate fees from Amazon, FedEx and UPS, cities may enjoy a new source of revenue.