The battle lines:
While in the throes of negotiating contracts with book publishing entity Hachette – particularly as it relates to e-book terms – Amazon, which owns a 40% share of the book selling market, has engaged in the following tactics: delaying shipments of Hachette titles; removal of pre-order buttons; disappearing Web pages promoting new titles; quietly discouraging the sales of some physical books by techniques including reducing the customer’s discount so the cost of the book approached list price, suggesting that prospective customers purchase other books instead and increasing the discount for the Kindle version.
Comcast agreed to provide a fast lane connection for Netflix content over its broadband service. The cost to Netflix has not been reported.
In the summer of 2013, when the showdown began between CBS demanding an incremental per subscriber monthly license fee from Time Warner Cable for carriage of its programming, and Time Warner’s adamant refusal, the MVPD was brought to its knees and forced to acquiesce. Not only did Time Warner pay the monthly subscription increment – $.50 to $2.00 per sub – but did not gain access to digital rights in its footprint for CBS content.
Unabated, the debate defining Net Neutrality continues: oversight; designation (public utility or information or hybrid); fees charged or not to content providers to utilize bandwidth based upon volume, as well as speed of delivery in the guise of “paid prioritization” and the birth of new payment equations attributing monthly subscription costs to broadband usage.
The bottom line:
Amazon raised its Prime membership annual fee from $79 to $99. Amazon Prime provides free delivery of online purchases within two days, as well as access to Amazon’s streaming video service Prime Instant Video and newly launched streaming music service Amazon Prime Music.
Subscription streaming video service Netflix (34 million subscribers) raised its monthly rates from $8 to $9 for new subscribers. The company promises to hold the cost for existing customers for another two years.Cable
MediaPost reported that according to a recent Federal Communications Commission study, the cost of an average expanded basic TV package (160 channels) grew 5.1% to $64.41 for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013, compared to a 1.6% annual increase in the consumer price index for the same period.Net Neutrality
Everybody is equal. Some people are more equal. The FCC has to determine what is the price and speed of equality.