WBEZ | Netflix http://www.wbez.org/tags/netflix Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Subscribers to streaming services sue the city over cloud tax http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-15/subscribers-streaming-services-sue-city-over-cloud-tax-112937 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/streaming Televisione Streaming.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>You may have noticed a bump in your Netflix or Hulu service bill. A new 9 percent tax Chicago tax on streaming services went into effect at the beginning of this month and now the law is being challenged. A lawsuit filed last week in the Cook County Circuit Court by the nonprofit Liberty Justice Center says the taxes are illegal under the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits state and local governments from taxing Internet access and imposing discriminatory Internet-only taxes.</p><p><a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/">Northwestern University School of Law</a> professor Jim Speta joins us to explain the legal justifications of the suit. He&rsquo;s an expert on telecommunications and Internet policy.</p></p> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 12:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-15/subscribers-streaming-services-sue-city-over-cloud-tax-112937 Boosting family leave is often about getting workers to stay http://www.wbez.org/news/boosting-family-leave-often-about-getting-workers-stay-112785 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nestle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This has been a banner year for employees seeking greater paid parental leave.&nbsp;<a href="https://newsroom.accenture.com/industries/corporate-citizenship-diversity/accenture-increases-us-paid-maternity-leave-to-16-weeks.htm">Accenture</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.blogjnj.com/2015/04/jj-and-the-21st-century-working-family/">Johnson &amp; Johnson</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.netflix.com/2015/08/starting-now-at-netflix-unlimited.html">Netflix</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2015/08/05/the-employee-experience-at-microsoft-aligning-benefits-to-our-culture/">Microsoft</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/01/pf/goldman-sachs-paternity-leave/">Goldman Sachs</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/07/08/421083589/navy-marine-corps-now-offer-18-weeks-of-maternity-leave">U.S. Navy</a>&nbsp;are among those who have increased these benefits for employees this year.</p><p>It&#39;s a big boost for some new parents. But advocates note many families are left behind.</p><p>One fact about U.S. workplace policy has galled Ellen Bravo for a very long time: &quot;There is no federally required paid leave of any kind,&quot; she says.</p><p>Bravo is executive director of Family Values @ Work, an advocacy coalition. She says the U.S. is the only major developed country offering no such leave.</p><p>Only 13 percent of U.S. workers have paid family leave, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last year.</p><p>But polls show there is increasing political support for it. Congress is considering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/22/401239857/is-it-time-to-make-medical-and-family-leave-paid">a mandated paid medical or parental leave</a>&nbsp;paid for out of an insurance fund. Three states have already created systems like that, and 18 more are considering them.</p><p>Bravo says employers are finding good business reasons to extend their leave policies &mdash; like wellness, recruitment and retention. But she worries individual managers might undermine them by discouraging their use.</p><p>&quot;If you want to be promoted here, if you want to be seen as a committed and devoted employee, you get that leave, but you better not take much of it,&quot; she says.</p><p>Bravo says companies must not only offer paid leave, but encourage workers to use it. &quot;You really have to change the culture and change the accountability from managers and how they supervise people,&quot; she says.</p><p>Adobe recently nearly doubled its paid parental leave policy to&nbsp;<a href="https://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2015/08/donna-morris-enhanced-leave.html">up to 26 weeks</a>. Chief People Officer Donna Morris says it&#39;s not just a formality. &quot;We expect people will take that period of time and in fact we want managers to look at it as a growth and development opportunity for others,&quot; she says.</p><p>Since the 1960s, college-educated workers have seen their paid parental leave increase nearly five-fold, while for high-school graduates, it has only doubled, according to the Census Bureau.</p><p>Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women and Families, says today&#39;s leave policies have a socio-economic divide. Netflix&#39;s year-long parental leave policy, for example, only applies to its digital division employees,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/08/10/431273033/netflix-still-facing-questions-over-its-new-parental-leave-policy">leaving its DVD distribution centers out</a>.</p><p>&quot;As we saw with Netflix, sometimes companies have one set of policies for their most highly compensated ... white-collar workers and then a different set of policies or no policies at all for their hourly workers or lower skilled workers,&quot; Shabo says.</p><p>Companies view leave benefits as a recruitment tool, especially in fields where talent is scarce, or where companies are trying to attract more female workers, says Bruce Elliott, benefits manager for the Society for Human Resource Management.</p><p>&quot;The gender gap in Silicon Valley ... is kind of pushing this to the forefront,&quot; he says.</p><p>That is creating pressure on other industries as well. Judy Cascapera is chief people officer at Nestle, which in June&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/26/nestle-maternity-leave_n_7674246.html">more than doubled its paid leave</a>&nbsp;for new parents for its 340,000 employees worldwide.</p><p>&quot;Right now, more than ever, we are competing with different industries,&quot; Cascapera says. &quot;We&#39;re right next to Silicon Valley in California and we see a lot of employees now coming back-and-forth or being poached by other industries.&quot;</p><p>So in order to get them to stay, she says, companies are being more generous about letting them go on leave.</p><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/09/01/436402797/boosting-family-leave-is-often-about-getting-workers-to-stay?ft=nprml&amp;f=436402797" target="_blank">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/boosting-family-leave-often-about-getting-workers-stay-112785 The online future of television http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/online-future-television-106193 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/netflix-house-of-cards-global-release-all-13-episodes-february-1st-anti-piracy-0.jpg" title="Kevin Spacey stars as the vengeful Frank Underwood on the Netflix political drama 'House of Cards.' (Salon.com)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">In the future &ndash; 20 years from now &ndash;&nbsp;we may look back on&nbsp;<em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_(U.S._TV_series)" target="_blank">House of Cards</a>&nbsp;</em>as the show that changed television.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Instead of airing on an established cable network like<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HBO" target="_blank"> HBO</a>&nbsp;or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_(TV_channel)" target="_blank">AMC</a>, the American political drama series (executive produced by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000399/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1" target="_blank">David Fincher</a> and starring <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Kevin Spacey</a>, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000705/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Robin Wright</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0544718/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Kate Mara</a>) premiered its entire first season on February 1, 2013 via the streaming service <a href="https://signup.netflix.com" target="_blank">Netflix</a>. Subscribers could watch all 13 episodes in a row if they wanted, and <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/02/house-of-cards-netflix/" target="_blank">many of them did</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Self-producing on Netflix turned out to a brilliant move for <em>House of Cards</em>, prompting <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/05/house-of-cards-should-you-binge-watch-netflix-s-political-drama.html" target="_blank">popular media</a>&nbsp;to wonder: will this novel experiment soon become the norm?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The idea of &quot;<a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/05/house-of-cards-should-you-binge-watch-netflix-s-political-drama.html" target="_blank">binge-watching</a>&quot; a series is nothing new (see <em>Portlandia</em>&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQttrkzWOo4" target="_blank">Battlestar Galactica</a>&nbsp;sketch)&nbsp;but we used to have to wait until the DVD boxsets of our favorite shows came out before we could devour a season (or ten) in one sitting. Releasing an entire new season at once, however, allows the viewer to watch episodes at their own pace, without having to wait for the next one to arrive. According to <em>House of Cards</em> showrunner <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beau_Willimon" target="_blank">Beau Willimon</a>, this bundled style of distribution is the way of the future:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;It&#39;s fully in the audiences hands to decide what their own experience is,&quot; Willimon says, &quot;The same way that you read a novel. You can read <em>Anna Karenina</em> in two days, or you can read it over a year. And I think that&#39;s better because it personalizes the experience.&quot;</div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In a culture that wants everything fast and<a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2013/02/01/the-growing-culture-impatience-where-instant-gratification-makes-crave-more-instant-gratification/q8tWDNGeJB2mm45fQxtTQP/story.html" target="_blank"><em> right now</em></a>, this strategy of &quot;personalized viewing&quot; has<a href="http://www.vulture.com/2013/02/house-of-cards-hit-capitol-hill.html" target="_blank"> </a><a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/19/is-netflixs-house-of-cards-built-of-steel.aspx" target="_blank">caught on like wildfire</a>. Netflix, once struggling from the loss of subscribers after&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/netflix-customers-revolt-against-price-hike-133376" target="_blank">much-maligned</a> fee hikes, <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/19/is-netflixs-house-of-cards-built-of-steel.aspx" target="_blank">doubled its stock</a> this year and sailed its way back into patrons&#39; good graces. In addition to <em>House of Cards&nbsp;</em>and the Eli Roth werewolf saga <em>Hemlock</em> premiering in April, Netflix has acquired a much-hyped reboot of <em>Arrested Development,&nbsp;</em>the quirky <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)" target="_blank">family sitcom</a>&nbsp;cancelled by Fox in 2006 and now prepping for a brand new season. Netflix will release all 14 episodes simultaneously in May, with a possible <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(TV_series)" target="_blank">big-screen adaptation</a> to follow. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Not to be outdone by Netflix <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/03/netflix/" target="_blank">revolutionizing television</a>, other streaming sites like YouTube and HuluPlus have developed their own self-produced programming to draw TV viewers online. Hulu has <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/01/08/hulu-debuts-previews-of-its-2013-original-programming-and-exclusive-series/" target="_blank">three original series</a> lined up for this summer (<em>The Awesomes</em>, <em>The Wrong Mans</em> and&nbsp;<em>Behind the Mask</em>),&nbsp;YouTube will soon begin&nbsp;<a href="http://www.examiner.com/article/future-of-the-internet-youtube-charging-for-channel-subscriptions" target="_blank">charging</a>&nbsp;$1 to $5 per month for premium content&nbsp;and DirectTV is banking on a <em>House of Cards</em>-like hit with its new original series <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2013/03/11/directv-hoping-for-a-house-of-cards-like-hit-with-original-series-rogue/" target="_blank"><em>Rogue</em></a>, which stars Thandie Newton and debuts April 3. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, ratings continue to <a href="http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/03/nielsen-family-is-dead/" target="_blank">plummet</a> for traditionally broadcast network and cable series, including zeitgest-y fan favorites like <em><a href="http://frontpsych.com/2013/03/11/blame-the-zeitgeist-girls-modernism-and-lena-horvath/" target="_blank">Girls</a>,</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amctv.com/shows/breaking-bad" target="_blank"><em>Breaking Bad</em></a> and <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/television/2012/10/22/121022crte_television_nussbaum" target="_blank"><em>Parks and Recreation</em></a>. But when most of these shows are available to stream on HBOGo, Hulu and other less-legal (but <a href="http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-popular-torrent-sites-of-2013-130106/" target="_blank">oft-frequented</a>) bit torrent sites, one can see why so many people are cutting off their cable providers and turning to their computer screens instead.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Viewers will continue syncing their laptops to their HD screens in order to best absorb the gore of <a href="http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-popular-torrent-sites-of-2013-130106/" target="_blank"><em>The Walking Dead</em></a> and the glamour of <a href="http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men" target="_blank"><em>Mad Men</em></a>, but television channels as we know them may become obselete in the next few years. Instead, audiences will clamor for more instantly-accessible content, and TV providers will go online to keep them satisfied.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>How do you watch your favorite shows? Do you think that web series are the way of the future? Leave a comment below, send me a tweet&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a> or join the conversation on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.&nbsp;</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-03/online-future-television-106193 Jail for JJJ? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/jail-jjj-105396 <p><p><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18059047-761/sneed-exclusive-pending-jesse-jackson-jr-plea-deal-includes-significant-jail-time-source-says.html" target="_blank"><img alt="Sandi and Jesse Jackson Jr., Aug. 26, 2008. (WBEZ)" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JJJ.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Jesse Jackson Jr. and wife Sandi (WBEZ/August 26, 2008)" /></a><strong>JAIL FOR JJJ?&nbsp;</strong>A plea deal on the table for ex-Rep. <strong>Jesse Jackson Jr.</strong> would include &quot;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18059047-761/sneed-exclusive-pending-jesse-jackson-jr-plea-deal-includes-significant-jail-time-source-says.html" target="_blank">significant jail time</a>,&quot; a source tells the&nbsp;<em>Sun-Times</em>. Another source tells the paper Jackson&#39;s wife, <strong>Sandi</strong>, &quot;feels like she was thrown under the bus&quot; by Jackson Jr.</p><p><strong>STORM WARNING.</strong> As a fresh <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/weather/stories/Winter-Storm-Watch-Issued-For-Lake-McHenry-Counties-190037811.html" target="_blank">round of winter weather</a> menaces Chicago and points east, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/02/06/airlines-waive-fees-as-blizzard-menaces-northeast/1897609/" target="_blank">airlines are offering flexible rebooking waivers to passengers</a> for the next few days,&nbsp;<em>USA Today</em> reports.</p><p><strong>CTA UPGRADES. </strong>The Chicago Transit Authority&#39;s planning to buy <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cta-to-spend-2-billion-for-846-new-rail-cars-20130206,0,1482382.story" target="_blank">up to 846 new rail cars</a> for up to $2 billion. And the plan includes a request for new seating designs, which could improve on <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-22/news/ct-met-cta-seats-survey-1022-20121022_1_scoop-seats-transit-riders-active-transportation-alliance" target="_blank">the widely criticized &quot;scoop seat&quot; benches</a> in the batch of cars the CTA&#39;s deploying this year.<br />* <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/chicago-transit-authority-one-day-pass-190138201.html" target="_blank">The increase in the CTA&#39;s one-day fare hurts the poor</a> (NBC Chicago&#39;s Carol Marin and Don Moseley).</p><p><strong>FLUSH WITH SUCCESS.&nbsp;</strong>The City of Chicago says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18054592-761/malfunctioning-hygienic-toilets-working-again-at-ohare-city-says.html" target="_blank">those supposedly hygienic O&#39;Hare International Airport toilets</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;<em>weren&#39;t</em>&nbsp;hygienic are hygienic now, the&nbsp;<em>Sun-Times</em>&nbsp;reports.</p><p><strong>TESTS PROTESTED.&nbsp;</strong>Chicago parents -- inspired by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/02/01/will-the-standardized-testing-boycott-spread-to-chicago" target="_blank">Seattle teachers&#39; boycott of a standardized test</a>&nbsp;-- are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/02/06/chicago-parents-and-teachers-unite-against-standardized-testing" target="_blank">demanding Chicago schools cut their reliance on tests</a>&nbsp;and reveal just how much the 22 tests the district administers now cost.</p><p><strong>&#39;WE DON&#39;T MIND YOU KNOWING ABOUT SHIT WE DO ONCE WE DON&#39;T DO IT ANY MORE.&#39; </strong>On &quot;The Daily Show,&quot;<strong>&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-february-6-2013-ed-whitacre" target="_blank">Jon Stewart mocks President Obama</a> over drone attack policy secrecy.<br />* Journ prof: U.S. news organizations&#39; failure to reveal drone base location in Saudi Arabia was <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/06/newspapers-accused-of-shameful-complicity-for-hiding-existence-of-secret-u-s-drone-base/" target="_blank">&quot;shameful&quot; and &quot;craven.&quot;</a></p><p><strong>&#39;CONGRESS IS FULL OF COWARDS.&#39;&nbsp;</strong>And that, <em>Salon</em>&#39;s John Tierney says, is what&#39;s behind <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/02/06/congress_not_email_destroyed_the_postal_service/" target="_blank">the U.S. Postal Service&#39;s meltdown</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/netflix-mail_n_2632397.html" target="_blank">Netflix&#39;s DVD business could benefit</a> from elimination of Saturday mail.<br />* How to lower your cable TV bill:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/timothylee/2012/06/06/comcasts-obnoxious-price-discrimnation-strategy/" target="_blank">A phone call every six months</a>.</p><div><strong>&#39;SO MUCH FOR GOOD/TALENTED GUY WITH A GUN BEING ABLE TO STOP MENTALLY ILL GUY WITH A GUN.&#39;</strong> That tweet about the killing of &quot;American Sniper&quot; Chris Kyle triggered <a href="http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/things-get-rough-on-twitter-over-gun-debate/" target="_blank">death threats for a <em>Mother Jones</em> co-editor</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>JOB ONE: BOOST U.S. STRATEGIC CARABINER RESERVES.</strong> President Obama&#39;s <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-to-nominate-ceo-of-outdoor-equipment-giant-rei-to-become-interior-secretary/2013/02/06/da9d2dcc-7007-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html" target="_blank">pick to head the Interior Department</a>: REI chief Sally Jewell.<br />* Chicago TV news veteran&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/16051216/white-house-promotion-reminds-avila-of-chicago-roots" target="_blank">promoted to White House beat</a>.</div><p><strong><object align="right" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="292" id="flashObj" width="400"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=2146795786001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.space.com%2F19662-earth-like-planets-orbit-nearby-red-dwarf-stars-say-scientists-video.html&amp;playerID=1403109806001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAFR6xVM~,85KKOZyvPf6qwFANvqEzo9EFltY58YnJ&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed align="right" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=2146795786001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.space.com%2F19662-earth-like-planets-orbit-nearby-red-dwarf-stars-say-scientists-video.html&amp;playerID=1403109806001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAFR6xVM~,85KKOZyvPf6qwFANvqEzo9EFltY58YnJ&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="292" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object><strong>IF WE RUIN THIS PLANET, REPLACEMENTS MAY BE SURPRISINGLY NEAR.&nbsp;</strong></strong>New findings from the Kepler space telescope suggest <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/earth-like-planets-are-ri_n_2632324.html" target="_blank">billions of Earth-like planets may be as close as 13 light years</a> -- &quot;practically next door,&quot; an astronomer tells <em>The Huffington Post</em>.<br />* Possible &quot;<a href="http://www.livescience.com/26909-comet-ison-nasa-spacecraft-photos.html?cid=dlvr.it" target="_blank">comet of the century</a>&quot; -- to pass the sun in November -- photographed by NASA probe.</p><hr /><p><strong><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em></strong><br /><em>* <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/its-news-quizzin-time-105270" target="_blank">News quiz</a> tomorrow. Don&#39;t be late.<br />* Get this blog by email. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/jail-jjj-105396 Navigating the streams of home entertainment media http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/navigating-streams-home-entertainment-media-93686 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/Laura Fries.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Home entertainment morphed into a strange new beast in recent years. The television remained the pride of place in many living rooms but how consumers got their media has changed quite a bit. From <a href="http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/index.jsp" target="_blank">Direct TV</a> to <a href="https://www.netflix.com/Default?CREATIVE=n&amp;KID=k237285&amp;USERID=578334320&amp;SESSIONID=id_578334321&amp;TACID=" target="_blank">Netflix</a> and <a href="http://www.hulu.com/" target="_blank">Hulu</a>, content was everywhere and in multiple formats. The jockeying for position could be seen across different companies. Netflix fared badly after a plan to split its DVD subscription and online streaming services into separate entities. Meanwhile, Oakbrook Terrace-based <a href="http://www.redbox.com/" target="_blank">RedBox</a> capitalized on that poor decision by building its DVD rental services. So what did it all add up to? <a href="http://www.communications.northwestern.edu/faculty/index.php?PID=MaxDawson&amp;type=alpha" target="_blank">Max Dawson</a> of <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">Northwestern University</a> joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss the industry. Dawson studies the history of television and new media formats, and he is a faculty member in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Northwestern’s <a href="http://www.communications.northwestern.edu/" target="_blank">School of Communication</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 14:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/navigating-streams-home-entertainment-media-93686 Netflix loses 800,000 subscribers http://www.wbez.org/story/netflix-loses-800000-subscribers-93416 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-24/netflix.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SAN FRANCISCO &nbsp;— Netflix's video subscription service lost 800,000 customers in the third quarter —the biggest exodus in its history— even as its earnings rose 65 percent.</p><p>The losses were larger than management had previously warned. The unwelcome surprise, contained in financial results released Monday, was compounded by a forecast calling for millions of Netflix Inc.'s DVD-by-mail subscribers to cancel the service in reaction to dramatic price increase that took effect last month.</p><p>The bad news bruised already battered stock as the shares plunged by more than 20 percent.</p><p>Netflix lost its luster among consumers and investors by raising prices as much as 60 percent in the U.S. and bungling an attempt to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental service.</p><p>The company, which is based in Los Gatos, Calif., ended September with 23.8 million U.S. subscribers, down about 800,000 from June. Netflix had predicted it would lose about 600,000 U.S. subscribers in a forecast released last month.</p><p>Management expects to gain U.S. subscribers in the current quarter, although Netflix didn't set a specific target. But a substantial number of Netflix's customers are expected to choose between renting DVDs through the mail or streaming video over high-speed Internet connections instead of paying for both services.</p><p>The biggest hit is expected on the DVD side, a service that Netflix has been de-emphasizing to save money on mailing costs as its spends more to license movies and TV shows for its Internet video library. The company expects its DVD subscribers to fall from 13.9 million as of Sept. 30 to as low as 10.3 million at the end of December.</p><p>Netflix earned $62.5 million, or $1.16, per share, in the third quarter. That compared to income of $38 million, or 70 cents per share, at the same time last year.</p><p>The performance topped the average earnings estimate of 96 cents per share among analysts polled by FactSet.</p><p>The company's revenue climbed 49 percent from the same last year to nearly $822 million — about $9 million above analyst estimates.</p><p>Netflix shares shed $24.78, or nearly 21 percent, to $94.06 in Monday's extended trading.</p></p> Mon, 24 Oct 2011 21:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/netflix-loses-800000-subscribers-93416 Netflix won't send you DVDs anymore; now they'll come from 'Qwikster' http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/netflix-wont-send-you-dvds-anymore-now-theyll-come-qwikster-92167 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-19/98155523_wide_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Netflix has figured out that people are very upset about its decision to split streaming video and DVD delivery — a decision that got it in huge hot water earlier this year. Customers who had previously gotten both streaming and DVDs for a single price would now have to pay separately. If you only use one or the other, you could pay less, but if you still wanted both, you'd pay more.</p><p>The Netflix response? Separate the businesses even more. In a new <a href="http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html" target="_blank">blog post</a>, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings explains that for some reason, he has concluded that separating the businesses completely is going to help people understand what's going on. Thus, Netflix will not send DVDs at all anymore but will only provide streaming, while the company's DVD business will happen under the new "Qwikster" brand.</p><p>Hastings seems to be operating under the premise that customers don't really understand what's going on; that they are angry because they think that a single business has increased its price when in fact it has merely split into two businesses that charge separately. Presumably, the idea is that making the split more definitive will make people slap their foreheads and say, "Oh, <em>now</em> I see. Netflix actually lowered its prices, as long as I don't buy Qwikster! And new Qwikster is cheaper than old Netflix! I'm coming out ahead, sort of, if I don't want all the services I used to get!"</p><p>The only problems with this approach are that its underlying assumptions are almost certainly wrong, and that it ignores major inefficiencies that will be introduced for customers who do, indeed, want to continue to use both streaming and DVDs. Now, if you want both, you have to go to two different sites with two different queues, you have to pay two different charges to two different entities, and in general, you have to have two different memberships. That's not psychologically better for consumers. That's buying two things which are both less helpful than the single thing you could get before.</p><p>It's like a shoe company deciding to sell right shoes and left shoes for 12 dollars each where pairs of shoes used to be 20 dollars and thinking that consumers will notice the lower 12-dollar price but not the fact that it buys only one shoe.</p><p>And it has to be said: It doesn't help that the word "Qwikster" sounds inherently faddish and goofy, like the very last word of its kind they could make out of the correct phonetic elements that wasn't already trademarked.</p><p>The inconveniences, in other words, are real and tangible and instantly noticeable, but the advantages are cosmetic. They're trying to train people to think of these as two different things, streaming and DVD renting, and that's fine. But when you do it at the expense of convenience and ... well, expense, then you can't expect it's going to solve your customer loyalty problems.</p><p>Netfllix is not without competition in streaming video. Amazon is in the game, Hulu Plus is in the game, Apple is in the game, and more entrants are certain to come down the pike. More and more customers have stream-to-TV devices like the Roku that allow them to pick a new service essentially whenever they want with almost no fuss. They are at a very, very delicate point. It's certainly a bold move to abandon the image that lies at the very heart of their brand — the red Netflix envelope will cease to exist, replaced by a red Qwikster envelope — but at first glance, it seems wildly unlikely to satisfy customers who are still well aware of what a price increase looks like.</p><div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</div></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 07:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-19/netflix-wont-send-you-dvds-anymore-now-theyll-come-qwikster-92167 The Paper Machete Radio Magazine 7/30/11: The High Cost of Living show http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-03/paper-machete-radio-magazine-73011-high-cost-living-show-90071 <p><p>Things that are free: <em>The Paper Machete</em>. Things that are not free: Netflix.&nbsp;<img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-03/brookebreit.jpg" style="width: 130px; height: 130px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="">Brooke Breit explains what a "streamer" is and more about the Netflix price hike.&nbsp;<img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-03/johnpauldavis.jpg" style="width: 130px; height: 130px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="">John Paul Davis reads a poem about Amy Winehouse.&nbsp;<em>The Paper Machete</em> first-timer Scott Levy talks about Chicago's high gas prices. And on your way out, &nbsp;listen to the sweet sounds of house musician Jonas Friddle. As usual, if you can hear us, this magazine is LIVE.&nbsp;Download it&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=450280345" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150);" target="_blank">here</a>, or listen below.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483589-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/2011-07-30-thepapermachete-radio-mag.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>For Saturday we have <a href="http://brianbabylon.com/Brian_Babylon/BRIAN_BABYLON.html">Brian Babylon</a>, Vocolo's Morning Amp host; Jim Fath, comedian with <a href="http://heyyoumillionaires.com/">Hey You Millionaires</a>; Jack Tamburri of <a href="http://www.theplagiarists.org/">The Plagiarists</a>; Jayson Brooks, the lead singer of <a href="http://theuptownsound.wordpress.com/">JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound</a>, J.D. Schramm who rocks <a href="http://www.ted.com/profiles/342848">TED Talks</a>; and comedian <a href="http://hellokristen.com/wp/">Kristen Studard</a> of iO and the Annoyance. With music you'll hear <em>Porgy and Bess</em>' Bethany Thomas and Drowsy Pills and Hash, the original <em>Machete </em>band.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 17:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-03/paper-machete-radio-magazine-73011-high-cost-living-show-90071 Netflix' news: signal of DVD's demise? http://www.wbez.org/story/business/netflix-news-signal-dvds-demise <p><p>Being old enough to remember 8-track tapes, cassettes and Betamax, we know a little something about the demise of once popular ways to be entertained.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/11/22/131512908/netflix-sets-streaming-only-plan-raises-some-prices" target="_blank">The Associated Press says</a> the announcement today by Netflix that it is shifting its focus to streaming video may signal the end of the DVD:</p> <object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/m_5LEgbgH4M?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/m_5LEgbgH4M?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object><p> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1290547036?&gn=Netflix%27+News%3A+Signal+Of+DVD%27s+Demise%3F&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=DVDs,Netflix,Business,Technology,The+Two-Way,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131522097&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101122&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=131522303,131522301,127747535,127602971,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 22 Nov 2010 16:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/netflix-news-signal-dvds-demise