streaming

Netflix Canada Price Hike? Really?

Netflix has decided to raise their monthly subscription plan prices by three dollars, days before the departure of Disney, Pixar and Marvel films from their service.

Yes, I am as baffled as you are in regards to this timing. But apparently they think they have enough material to keep their current customers, which in my case is quite the risk.

I already have my favourite Disney, Pixar and Marvel films on blu-ray thanks to the Amazon and the Disney Movie Club. And Prime Video has just recently expanded their catalogue, although it needs to expand further to be compatible with Netflix, especially when it comes to concerts and music documentaries.

My previous relationship with Netflix was on and off due to their lack of material and they’re basically keeping me on with the odd film, stand up comedy program, concert and the American remake of The Office. And unfortunately for them I own quite a few films from their catalog on DVD and blu-ray already.

It would be nice to be able to just store these away and use the service to view them but they’re still not up to par with the American service and they don’t appear to be interested in foreign language films from Europe.

For example, where are the great French performances by Louis De Funes, Gerard Depardieu and Pierre Richard? Where’s the Gaumont film catalogue?

Netflix Canada need more films like “The Train To Busan”, on top of the mainstream classic Hollywood productions. And I suspect that if no major improvements are made that I will be leaving the service again, especially if they subject me to yet another $3 hike within two years.

It should also be noted that DC Universe is also starting its own streaming service in Canada shortly, which will likely cause additional material to disappear from Netflix Canada’s catalog. But I guess all we can do is wait and see what will happen in 2019.

New Taxes On Streaming?

On New Years Day 2019, residents of Quebec will begin paying a tax on streaming services. And unfortunately the Canadian Radio & Telecommunication Commission is considering a “levy” to fund Canadian programming and a House of Commons committee is asking for sales taxes to be collected on these services.

This would of course raise the price of these services for the consumer, significantly. And these had been opposed by Canadians according to a Open Media poll conducted in early 2017 by the Innovative Research Group.

According to this poll, 70% of the respondents opposed a new tax on internet and mobile phone bills, 51% strongly. And in regards to the implementation of sales taxes on foreign streaming services, 47% of the respondents supported it provided the funds would be used on Canadian content.

CRTC chairman Ian Scott claimed the “levy” itself “would cost less than 50 cents on an average broadband bill of $47” durring a May 31st, 2018 Financial Times interview so they could easily just divert some of the sales taxes to Canadian Content instead. But there has yet to be a response in regards to these “contributions” from Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had both claimed there would be no internet taxes.

Please contact your local Member of Parliament on this issue. I will be contacting mine as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Global Music Report Released

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry released their global music report last Thursday and sales have gone up by 8.1% because of streaming, which had become more popular;Streaming revenues grew by 41% worldwide.

Click here for a link to the official IFPI blog entry on the “State Of The Industry” report.

Apple Ending Music Downloads?

Since mid-March there have been rumours that Apple may be ending music downloads on March 31st, 2019 to promote their Music Streaming services. But contradictory statements have been issued so I don’t personally believe Apple would shut down such a lucrative service.

Yes, the streaming service has become quite popular with iPhone users and streaming accounted for 65% of the music sales in 2017 according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But digital downloads still accounted for 15% of these sales last year, regardless of their 25% reduction in sales from the previous year and iTunes retains a good percentage of these sales.

I support artists by buying music and music video downloads from iTunes, Google Play and CD Baby because artists generally get more royalties from these download services than their streaming counterpart, although it should be noted that SOCAN did confirm a hike in streaming royalties in their 2016 annual report.

I don’t own an iPhone and I am not interested in owning one, preferring to listen to my music on an older Sony digital music player instead of draining my Sony Xperia smartphone’s battery to listen to music. And iTunes has been my primary source of music since Puretracks closed, on both the Windows and Apple operating systems, so i’m hoping they will continue the service because I am not that interested in streaming services.

Although I have installed Spotify and several other streaming services on my desktop and tablets, the vast majority of the music I listen to was copied off compact discs and I don’t want to need an internet connection to play my music.

I’m not willing to pay extra to listen to music I already paid for and I occasionally visit areas with little to no internet access so paid streaming is not the best option for me.

I guess we’ll see what they’re planning my March 31st, 2019 and I will definitely contact them with my concerns if they ever choose to bow out of music downloads.

Great News From RIAA

The Recording Industry Association of America has compiled its data for 2017 and sales are up by 16.5%, driven by the heightened sale of vinyl records, music downloads and streaming service subscriptions.

The actual report can be found here (in PDF) and additional commentary on this growth in sales can be found on Medium.

The Case For Blu-Ray

Thought i’d bump a blog article I like about how blu-ray is significantly better than streaming. Click here to read it.