Verizon gets into over the top streaming, Facebook dropping thousands, and people don’t like cable companies. With special guest Ron Richards.

CordKillers: Ep. 172 - Cordkilling Purgatory
Recorded: May 29 2017
Guest: Ron Richards

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Verizon CEO confirms company’s plan to launch a streaming TV service
    - Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo is expected to close mid-June
    - Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam expects to use the Combined Yahoo-AOL, which will be called Oath, to “test out an over the top service.”
    - This would be different than Go90.
    - Verizon is paying the NFL some $21 million for rights to the Sept. 24 regular-season game between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars in London, and the telco will stream the game live across its portfolio of video platforms including AOL, Yahoo, Fios TV, Go90 and

How to Watch

  • Facebook signs BuzzFeed, Vox, others for original video shows
    - Sources tell Reuters Facebook has signed deals with Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, Group Nine Media and others to make shows. A new video service from Facebook would have long and short-form content with ad breaks. Scripted shows would run 20-30 minutes and unscripted shows range 5- 10 minutes long. Facebook is supposedly paying up to $250,000 for the longer shows and between 10 and 35,000 for the shorter episodes. Shows will premiere exclusively on Facebook but run on creators sites after a period of time.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

  • Netflix is bringing Ellen DeGeneres back to standup
    - Netflix posted on Twitter to Ellen Degeners “Looks like it's been 15 years since you did a stand-up special, @TheEllenShow. How about one for Netflix?” She replied “Let me think about it. OK I’m in.” In an official statement Ellen sais she’s writing it now and will let folks know where and wen it will be recorded.
  • Netflix cancels Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Get Down’
    - Netflix will not give Baz Luhrman’s The Get Down another season. It’s unusual for Netflix to cancel shows especially after only one season.
  • The Cable TV Industry Is Getting Even Less Popular
    - A survey from the American Customer Satisfaction index found that cable operators and ISPs tied for last place with an average customer satisfaction rating of 64%. That’s down 1.5 percentage points for cable. Wireless carriers improved 3 points to 73%. Comcast was near the bottom at 58% down six points just above Mediacom’s 56%. Verizon FiOS was top of TV services at 71%. The top-ranked industries in this year's survey were makers of television and video players at 87%, and soft drink makers at 84%.
  • Almost every adult still watches TV the old-fashioned way
    - Nielsen’s numbers show 92 percent of those older than 18 watch television on a TV. And 82.1% of total minutes of TV watched last year were watched on a TV. Computers, phones and tablets made up less than 8 percent of total viewing time.
  • Jon Stewart isn’t doing an animated HBO show anymore
    - Jon Stewart’s four year deal to create animated shorts for HBO has been shelved. A joint statement said “technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material.” HBO and Stewart said in their statement that they’re now working to develop new projects, “which you will be hearing about in the near future.”
  • Twitter for Apple TV adds live, 360 degree video and Periscope’s global map
    - Twitter updated its Apple TV app to include support for Periscope’s Global Map and the ability to watch live 360-degree videos. Viewers use the Apple TV remote to navigate the 360-degree videos.

Dispatches from the Front

Hey, guys. Just have a couple of questions about all of the proxy banning going on.
I'm an American, living in America, with an American debit card and accounts that were all set up without anonymization. I just got DD-WRT set up on a new router so I could run openVPN and anonymize my traffic without breaking things like Google Cast and wifi direct by running VPN clients on individual machines.
I had forgotten, however, that Hulu and Amazon Prime are blocking proxies and VPNs with startling aggression. While my Netflix still works, it's only a matter of time for that one as well.
I'm wondering what the logic is to so aggressively blocking VPNs, especially on accounts that have all the markers of being American except a verifiable IP address (I typically use a Florida server).
Am I expected to give up the only thing really protecting my online privacy, and my data, just because Hulu and Amazon Prime want to use a butcher knife instead of a scalpel to solve their (arguably) imaginary VPN problem?

- Dean




Hi Guys and possible Guest,

I finally did it, I cut the cable. I still had to keep the phone to keep my modem free for my internet. (Keeping the phone makes my bill $85 vs $89 but it was $156}

Now comes the next step. What services do I want to go with. So in Jun, I'm doing Playstation, July might be Sling if Playstation doesn't work out. August will either be YouTube or Hulu. [Leaning more towards Youtube if it gets to Omaha]

My question is about these services and which is GeoLocked to the home and which ones aren't. My daughter is quite used to watching Hulu and Youtube, when at work or her Dad's all of which is in my same city. Do we have any information on these two and if they tv options can be watched out of the home?

- Nicky





Hey guys,

As one that lives just slightly out of reach of high speed broadband (100mb/s stops 3/4 of a mile down the road from me). I use a 4G wireless router in the house with 2mb/s download.

With limited bandwith but still having a household of people fighting for the bits, I was curious if you could point me to streaming services that best accomodate.

My personal anecdotal experience:

Netflix the best as it seemlessly buffers and downres's to fit the stream without ever a hiccup for me.
Youtube second as it allows me to several different res options that I can pick manually if I experience trouble.
Hulu next as it is usually consistent but very limited options for res changes if I experience problems.
Crackle, same experience as Hulu but the limited show options cause me to rank lower.
Vudu, worst for me, always defaults back to HD res, tends to freeze up when I switch to SD. Even at SD, I have to disconnect every cell phone, game devise and computer from network to stream.

Just thoughts from one of the majority in this country not on Gigabit fiber.

- Joe




Hi Killers,

With the arrival of "American Gods" on Starz I decided to try the service with their 7 day free trial. I quickly decided that there was nothing else on Starz that I cared about watching. Also, their Android app provided a really poor experience. So I decided to take Brian's advice and look at this logically. I have no great need to watch this series live. I cancelled Starz. Instead, I will wait until it's offered for purchase. I might have to wait a year. Oh well. As you both often point out, there is plenty of fun stuff to watch in the meantime.

Been a fan and supporter since the beginning. You guys make me laugh, which is reason enough to continue. Love. The. Show.

- Lisa





Hey Guys,

Talking about ESPN for sports is almost like talking about MTV for music. While ESPN has a lot of shows ABOUT sports, they don't actually air that many games.

I am fully against them counting eyeballs in bars towards their numbers. Most bars have ESPN talk shows on throughout the day that no one is actually watching because, really, what else are they going to put on when there are no local sports games playing. I think that stacking the numbers like this will give them leverage to keep charging their obnoxiously high fees which will in turn keep all of the cable rates, and potentially streaming service rates, high.

I love your show and never miss an episode, but whenever there is a sports question and you guys bring up ESPN, I cringe. I am a huge sports fan and I wouldn't even notice if someone removed ESPN and all of its channels from whatever service I was paying for at the time.

Your boss and long-time fan,
- Ryan



2017 Summer Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt

Facebook and still commissioning content, ESPN combines all its numbers into one, and Viacom tries the anti-sports angle. With special guest Fraser Cain.

Download audio

Download video

CordKillers: Ep. 171 - Cherry Pope Zero
Recorded: May 22 2017
Guest: Fraser Cain

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Facebook is delaying the launch of its original videos until the end of summer
    - We’ve talked before about Facebook’s plans for original shows, first expected in April then mid-June and now ReCode reports they’ve been put off to July or August. How are we feelling about social networks becoming video channels?
  • Talking With Viacom, NBC for Original Shows
    - Bloomberg says is talking to Viacom and NBC about making original shows that encourage community participation. The video would focus beyond music on things like comedy and sports.
  • Facebook adds weekly MLB games to its streaming slate
    - Facebook announced a deal with Major League Baseball to stream a game every Friday for 20 weeks with no blackout restrictions. The first stream being the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds. Twitter also offers occasional Friday night baseball streams, but those games are subject to regional blackout.
  • Facebook will stream live 'Counter-Strike' eSports events
    - ESL will bring 5,500 hours of esports content to Facebook, with about 1,500 of that exclusive to the platform. That content includes the elite Rank S Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches as well as ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters events. An original 30-minute Facebook Live series that will look back at CS:GO match highlights.

How to Watch

  • ESPN Cable Decline Has it Searching for Cable Subscribers
    - ESPN will offer a single viewership number combining traditional cable and satellite with live streams and “out of home” viewers like bars and restaurants. (in partnership with Nielsen)
    - ESPN estimated this would have boosted its Q1 numbers 12%
    - Estimated to have lost 12 mm subs since 2011
  • Viacom’s Bob Bakish: Entertainment-Only Pay TV Option Coming This Year
    - Variety says Viacom CEO Bob Bakish told J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom conference in Boston that Viacom is in advanced t
    - alks with one pay TV company to be part of a sports-free entertainment pack for $10-$20 a month. Last month Bloomberg reported AMC and Discovery were also potentially part of the bundle.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

Dispatches from the Front

New boss here. After listening to the show and realizing that I could switch to playstation vue and still watch sports I decided to make the leap. After an hour on the phone and an hour in the comcast office I am now saving $95 a month and still watching everything I was before. Thanks for everything you do!

- Robby




Brian's cable fig leaf is showing!
Hulu subscribers who add-on Showtime can authenticate with their Hulu credentials on Showtime's Anytime App and see LIVE Showtime. Twin Peaks is not only 21st century entertainment, it is being viewed in 21st century ways.

- Steve from Too Much Scrolling




Hey Cordkillers team!

That PBS Kids streaming stick sounds incredible. I just messaged it to my wife, and her immediate response is "that would be fantastic in the car". Our van has in in-car entertainment system with an hdmi port. The preloaded content means we wouldn't have to stream it, and use phone data on a long drive.

We'll get one and test it as soon as cashflow allows!

- Mitch.




Hey guys,
I've been a long time listener and love the show. I finally signed up to support the show via Patreon.
I am probably the furthest thing from a cord cutter. I have accounts with DirecTV at home, Xfinity X1 at a rental property where I also have my 'man cave' , and Dish Network at our Lake House. Yeah....I've got a problem. Your show does a great job keeping me informed of what's going on and I get a LOT of value from it.
I'm glad I've signed on with Patreon and hope to remain a supporter for a long time.
Need to listen to Spoilerin' Time 170 to hear what Brian thinks of American Gods.....I dropped HBO at the Lake House to sign on with Starz to watch this. I'm not sure what to think.
I am loving The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. Thanks for that heads up.
Keep up the good work!
Your newest boss,
- Cole




Hello Cordkillers,

Long time listener and OG boss Aaron Martinez here. Thank you for all of your years of dedication to the cause! I've lived without cable in the past, but for most of my adult life I've lived with people who have insisted on having tv service. Recently, my wife had been watching more and more Netflix and getting more and more frustrated with managing our DirecTV DVR. She finally came around and actually started pressuring me to call and cancel our service! Like the listener who wrote in last week, I was dreading making the call and dealing with the high pressure retention tactics, but I'm happy to report I was able to cancel in less than 10 minutes, including hold time! My strategy was actually very similar to what Brian suggested on your recent episode.

I called on the last day of my billing cycle to avoid any future payments. This happened to be a Friday in the middle of the month.

I called on my lunch break so I could use my office land line instead of my cell phone. This happened to be 12:30 PM Central.

I followed the steps from GetHuman to try and get to a live agent quickly:

My hold time was less than 1 minute. I'm not sure if I just happened to call at the right time or it was a magic combination of steps from GetHuman that got me through quickly.

I informed the first agent that I needed to cancel my service because I switched to our local cable provider when they offered me a great deal. This was a little white lie, but I wanted to have a firm reason for cancelling and used the past tense to clarify that the decision was already made. I was able to remain vague enough to avoid my bluff being called.

I was quickly transferred to a retention agent where I repeated the above statement. I was pressed for details but my response each time was some variation of a polite answer followed by "I've already switched and just need to cancel my service today."

For example:
Q: Which provider are you switching to?
A: Cox, but I don't think that's relevant because I already switched and just need to cancel my service today.

Q: Ok. It's nothing personal, I just want to make sure we have a chance to offer you a better deal. What kind of prices did Cox offer you?
A: Actually my wife set that up so I'm not really sure but I really just need to cancel my service today.

Q: Ok. I'm prepared to offer you X, Y, and Z for a really great deal.
A: Thank you, that's a great offer, but I've already switched and just need to cancel my service today.

Another little life hack I use is in these situations is to try and keep a smile on my face throughout the conversation. Even though they can't see me, it helps me remain polite and avoid my naturally tendency toward sarcastic snark. After just a few rounds of repitition, the agent realized she didn't have a chance, her tone changed from upbeat to begrudging, and she very quickly cancelled the service and gave me the details of how to return my equipment. So now I'm finally an offical cordkiller and DirecTV actually owes me a few dollars in account credit! Obviously, hold times may vary, but I hope others can use this technique to cancel painlessly.

- Aaron


2017 Summer Movie Draft

AuthorTom Merritt

Majority of US adults have smart TVs but is anyone using them? PBS Kids streaming stick wins over Brian and a free movie and TV streaming service. With special guest Ewen Rankin.

CordKillers: Ep. 170 - Big Budget or a Bit Crap
Recorded: May 15 2017
Guest: Ewen Rankin

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • Majority of U.S. adults own a streaming-enabled TV, according to IAB study
    - The Interactive Advertising Bureau and MARU Matchbox released results of an online survey indicating 56% of US adults own a streaming-enabled television
    - 54% of TV watching time is spent on non-linear TV. 20% of that goes to digital.
    - 50% said they would rather watch commercials than pay for ad-free subscriptions. 44% said commercials in digital are less intrusive than on regular TV

How to Watch

  • PBS made the cutest TV streaming stick probably ever
    - PBS Kids is releasing an HDMI Streaming stick shaped like a race car for $50 at Wal-Mart, starting May 24.
    - Includes a remote
    - Features Several games and 100 hours of programming stored locally (available offline)
    - Can connect through WiFi access to PBS Kids streaming channel
  • Tubi TV
    - Tubi TV has raised $20 million for its free ad-supported streaming service
    - Tubi has 200 partners including LionsGate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Starz and others,
    - 50,000 titles
    - Selection is not all available at the same time. Rotated to feel fresh
    - Partners across anime, international films and TV (e.g. Korean, Chinese and British TV),
    - Tubi is available on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox and SmartTV
  • Bell targets cord-cutters with new ‘Alt TV’ service
    - In Ontario and Quebec, Bell is launching Alt TV to Bell internet customers, starting at $15/mo (requires unlimited internet, 25Mbps down plan). Does not include DVR or live broadcast pausing. The service is all app-based and available on mobile devices and AppleTV. Fine print indicates a smaller selection of live/VOD content on wireless connections outside home wifi. . One of/THE first wide-spread TV-via-app devices in Canada? Pretty cheap, but requires a specific internet plan and has app-based watching on their FibeTV set top service.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

Dispatches from the Front

Hey Tom! My parents have been thinking about become cord killers recently to save some money. I wanted to check with you to get your advice on what you recommend them to do. The biggest thing is they love watching live sports, so I was thinking of setting them up with a slingt v account, netflix, (they have amazon prime already) and possibly hulu. I don't know much about hulu, but figured between sling tv, netflix and prime, they would be pretty happy. Also, what device would you recommend as well for them to use? (Roku, chrome cast, apple tv, etc.) Or maybe even just buying a new smart tv. Anyway, thanks for any help you can give me. Love your shows!

- Tyler



Hey Brian and Tom,

I'm a long-time listener of Cordkillers, from back in the Frame Rate days... and I thought you might be interested in this new cord-cutting website/FAQ/tutorial-thing put together by Plex. It brands Plex as "a cord cutter's best friend," and their Introduction even contains the phrase "watch what you want, when you want."


- Marc



Greetings Bryce, Brian, and Tom,

My wife and I are moving at the beginning of June and we're going to cancel DirecTV to become cordcutters. I really dislike talking on the phone, especially with pushy customer service representatives. I know that the reps are going to try to convince me that I don't have to cancel just because I'm moving, or I can sign up for DirecTV Now which I do not want. Do you or anyone in the audience have suggestions for ripping the DirecTV Band-Aid off as quickly and as painlessly as possible?

- anotherJmartin





I was obsessed with the box office as long as I can remember. So when you guys started the Movie Draft, I started a draft with some family and friends, and so I made a little chart to forecast and track the possible outcomes.

For each movie, you can enter a low gross (if it under performs), an expected gross, or an high gross (if it over performs). The spreadsheet will then give you a range that each player's total should be within.

As movies premier and soar or bomb, you can update the values each week. Once they end their theatric run, the values become set across the Low, Expected, and High grosses.

I filled in the spreadsheet for the DiamondClub Movie Draft and entered in my own expected grosses. Of course, the numbers for movies that haven't come out yet or finished earning movie are just my opinion, so feel free to make a copy and put in your own values!

In the last column, labeled "custom", you can mix and match low, expected, and high grosses, so you can answer questions like "if everything goes as expected but Pirates under performs, what will the total be?"

Hope someone besides me finds this fun or useful!





Perfect answer on the show! Sorry for mixing up your comments. I too have read tons of expanded universe (but none of the new books!). I grew up watching the OT and saw Ep1 my senior year in high school. In fact, a friend and I performed a lightsaber duel to "Duel of the Fates" during our senior band concert. I was in full Darth Maul costume and makeup. Nerdiest moment of my life.

So, yes, no matter how bad the movies are, we will always love the story and universe. And the Legends will never be forgotten.

But, I should have clarified I was talking specifically about the movies. In a longer version of the email, I made a comparison to my relationship with horror movies. Im not a horror movie fan. Therefore, if I don't like a horror movie that got positive reviews from viewers and critics, I don't blame the movie. I blame the fact that I'm not a fan of horror movies.

So, I was just curious if you think that might be (or might one day be) similar to your relationship with non-OT Star Wars movies. Just something to think about, that's all.

(Not expecting y'all to revisit this on the show, just wanted to clarify!)




2017 Summer Movie Draft


AuthorTom Merritt