Net Neutrality Vote Thursday As Internet Giants Focus on Content

An FCC vote on Thursday is expected to eliminate net neutrality regulations that require companies to treat another company’s Internet content the same way they treat their own.

Experts expect that Internet connection prices will rise and be treated like cable television–one price for email, another for social media, another for streaming videos. This CBS News story explains the issue well.

Please call your members of Congress and tell them you oppose this action. Congress can write legislation to restore net neutrality. Dial the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 to be connected to your reps.

Highlights

  • It’s a busy week with holiday shopping online events. Anyone selling things to consumers is busy. Plan accordingly. 
  • Internet giants are snapping up content to compete with each other in 2018. 
  • And they’re fighting with each other again. Amazon-Google and Verizon-Mozilla are two big battles.

YouTube launched their TV service earlier this year at barely breakeven rates. Industry watcher Fierce Cable said that the company was spending slightly more in content costs than the subscription price. Big tech companies do things like that. And some analysts are expecting the number of YouTube TV subscribers to reach 2 million next year.

With that successful launch, YouTube is emboldened to again go after the world of streaming music. The company’s Remix music service launches in March. Warner, one of the big three music companies, is already signed. Apple and Spotify are continuing to grow. Spotify’s worldwide user base doubled to 60 million people this year and Apple’s disruption of the music business with the iPod is the stuff of business legend.

Meanwhile Apple announced this week that it would pay $400 million for Shazam, a popular app that identifies music, movies, and television shows from audio clips. Shazam has new technology that hasn’t launched yet, but also generates up to 10% of outside referrals to Apple’s iTunes service. 

Facebook isn’t going to be left out of these content purchases either. The company shocked many by bidding $600 million to livestream cricket. Now, Facebook will be giving a new executive hire a budget of “a few billion dollars” to acquire sports rights, according to Recode.

Could all of this activity be coincidence or preparations for the ability to sell separate services after the FCC’s net neutrality vote?

Consider a new live trivia game called HQ that is attracting a lot of attention. Venture capitalists have told media sources that the company will be valued at up to $100 million after being in business for 6 weeks. More than 300,000 people played in a single game last week. And the app isn’t even available yet for the 50% of its potential audience that uses Android.

And don’t forget that Verizon’s recent purchases of AOL and Yahoo are now bundled in a company called Oath while AT&T sues the government for permission to buy Time Warner.

These battles are going to cause ill will and hyper-competive issues between the major Internet players. Just as Google and Apple healed another of their many rifts, Google announced that YouTube will not be available on Amazon television products. We also learned that the Yahoo unit of Oath is suing Firefox browser maker Mozilla because the company’s search engine was dropped in favor of Google’s.

Expect all of these border clashes and competing services to get worse without net neutrality. As this is being written, there are seven major streaming video services operating in the U.S.–all with different pricing and none with partnership deals.

Learn More: YouTube Remix coverage at Bloomberg, Apple-Shazam coverage at The Verge

A fun link: Digital Music News has created lists of the top songs people used Shazam to identify in 2017.

 

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