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Tech Thursday – Streaming Media is Big Business

Netflix, Hulu, ABC, NBC and now Time Warner. What do all of these have in common? Streaming media to you through the internet and making big money.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Streaming media is the new way to make money on the internet. It uses the same principal as regular TV. Sell some ads for a TV show, and then insert them into the streaming media at certain points. In Netflix‘s case, just charge a reasonable subscription price for all you can consume.

Netflix is kind of like HBO in that you subscribe to the service. But for $8 a month, that’s really not a bad price in my opinion, to be able to watch all you want with a really good selection of movies and TV show seasons. All that without commercials. Many people, like myself have dropped some cable service and use a combination of over the air antenna signals, and the internet with services like Netflix, to be our entertainment. So far, it’s working out rather well for me. And Netflix is making money as well as the companies that own the TV shows and movies that sell the rights to Netflix to deliver it to you. And I can still watch the local forecast every night.

The other side is websites like Hulu that get content from networks and then sell ads to put in the streams. Kind of like watching TV, but the ads only last 30 seconds to a minute where on TV, a commercial break can last up to 3 or 4 minutes. But the content makers still make money off selling the rights  to stream the shows, and Hulu makes money off selling the ads and from collecting viewer’s habits and selling them to information brokers to better target ads to you. Now don’t get all upset about that. The information they collect doesn’t have your name or anything like that. They only know you as a cookie that is on your computer. But then there are pitfalls with privacy with that, which I don’t plan on covering here. But the anonymous info collected is worth a lot of money. Selling this information is big business.

TV networks, like ABC and now Time Warner, are streaming their content online from their own websites, while they also have deals with sites like Hulu to stream them as well. And now are even focusing on mobile devices to get content to you as well. ABC has an app for iOS devices to let you stream their TV shows over the internet, and Time Warner just released an app yesterday, which just had a little hiccup, for the iPad. All the TV channels you watch on their cable service, now served up online in a buffet of digital gluttony.

While TV show producers and TV networks seem to have figured out how to transition to the digital media age, the movie studios are still struggling to find their foot hold. And the music industry seems to be in denial. But any way you look at it, the future is very bright. There is a lot of potential for new this new medium and lots of money to be made. Any way you look at it, we the consumers get what we like, and the content producers get what they want. That’s called, “WINNING!”

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