Friday News ::::: Week of October 13th

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1.  Cutting the Cord

For years people have been clamoring for a way to get their favorite cable channels un-bundled from the massive channel packages cable companies offer. The main roadblock has been the tight relationships between the channels and the providers and the money involved. Then Netflix came along and started building itself into, basically, a stand alone, on demand cable channel with movies and original programming. The Netflix CEO even said “Our goal is to become HBO before HBO can become us.” This week, HBO became Netflix. HBO announced that, starting next year sometime, they would offer their HBO GO streaming service without the prerequisite of a cable subscription.

This is the first big domino to fall in the process to break up the cable package system. In fact, a day after HBO announced their intent, CBS announced that they’re rolling out their own streaming service too. CBS’s service will include day-after streaming of their current shows, all the back episodes from those shows, full seasons of “classic” shows from their back library, live streaming of certain local markets’ affiliates (including WCCO in Minneapolis) and live streaming of many events like awards shows.

Now, what’s the big missing piece to CBS’ service? That’s right, the NFL. Live sports is the one thing that cable is going to clench hard with their dying fingers. Some of the big leagues have dabbled in streaming services, but they’ve been so reliant on TV money deals that they are unwilling to anger the networks by offering their content on the side too. Until live sports streaming becomes a reality, the cable companies will still have a firm hold.

In the meantime, it’s the beginning of a new era in TV programming. The networks are starting to realize that they can cut out the middle man and probably still make money (if you’re big like HBO).

2. More Ebola

Now two Texas nurses have been diagnosed with the virus and more and more questions are being asked. One woman was allowed to fly out of state after displaying early symptoms AND after asking the CDC if it was okay! Clearly the response plan needs significant work. The Texas hospital did not have sufficient procedures in place to deal with this virus and was not supplied with the correct gear for their staff. The CDC did not recommend moving the patient to a more equipped facility like Atlanta or Nebraska. Meanwhile, promising anti-viral treatment options are still tied up in red tape, leaving some doctors to push for things to move at “virus speed, not bureaucratic speed”.

 

Finally, President Obama is floating the idea of appointing an “Ebola Czar” to oversee the big picture on dealing with the virus. Anybody want that job? Didn’t think so.

3. Royal Celebration

Feel good sports story of the year! The historically woeful Kansas City Royals are heading to the World Series. Not only that, they’ve swept through the playoffs to get there and will face the NL powerhouse Giants. We are all Royals fans now.

 

 

4. New Stars

I love the Canadian indie-pop band Stars. They just released a new album of dance-y songs this week. Here’s a sample:

5. Autumn in Minnesota

It’s the best.