Cordkillers 184 – Popcorn is Worse Than Free Towels (w/ Sean Hollister)

Can MoviePass sustain $10 a month all-you-can-eat theater movies? Plus, Apple and Comcast team up to put theater movies in your home anyway.

CordKillers: Ep. 184 – Popcorn is Worse Than Free Towels
Recorded: August 21 2017
Guest: Sean Hollister

Intro Video

Primary Target

  • MoviePass threatened with lawsuit after slashing subscription fees to $10 a month
    - MoviePass lowered its monthly subscription to $10 a month. The service which launched in 2011 at more than $30 a month lets subscribers see multiple movies in a month with some restrictions on advanced purchase and frequency. AMC Theaters which has been a partner in the program said it is “actively working now to determine whether it may be feasible to opt out and not participate in this shaky and unsustainable program.” CNET's Sean Hollister interviewed MoviePass CEO MItch Lowe who explained that his system does not require any cooperation from AMC or others, but just acts as a credit card. 6 percent of theaters are integrated with MoviePass at the point of sale allowing you do things like buy concessions.

How to Watch

  • Hollywood, Apple Said to Mull Rental Plan, Defying Theaters
    - Bloomberg reports its sources say Apple and Comcast are in talks with movie studios like Warner Bros. and Comcast’s own Universal on a project to make movies available for home viewing within as little as 17 days after release in theaters. Prices being discussed are $50 per movie. Theater-owners have objected to the plan, but the studios are considering implementing it without their support. Theaters could then decide not to carry movies from studios who participate.

What to Watch

What We're Watching

Front Lines

  • Has Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Rescued (or Ruined) Hollywood?
    - Ted Sarandos told Variety that Netflix plans to spend $7 billion on content in 2018, up from the $6 billion planned for this year and most of that will still be on licensed content, not originals. He said “We’re still a couple years from seeing it go 50-50.”
  • Roku cracks down on private channels
    - TechCrunch, Cord Cutters News and Torrent Freak report that people are seeing warnings when users add a private channel on Roku. Roku was banned in Mexico after failing to police private channels that infringe copyright. The new warnings advise that the channels may be removed without notice.
  • How Big Is Esports Really? Nielsen Attempts to Figure It Out
    - Nielsen announced it will begin crediting publishers with ratings of video content on Facebook, Hulu and YouTube as part of its Digital Content Ratings. This is separate from live TV from Hulu and YouTube which being counted in traditional TV ratings. Nielsen also is launching Nielsen Esports to create reports focusin on sponsorship valuations, investment strategy and audience measurement.
  • YouTube TV now available to 50% of U.S. households
    - YouTube TV added 14 new markets making it available to 50% of US households if they want it. 17 more metro areas are planed to be added soon. YouTube TV makes a point of having the most live local broadcast stations of any Internet-only service.
  • Champions League Football Coming to a New Streaming Service From Turner
    - Turner will launch a streaming service for UEFA Champions League and Europe League soccer starting in 2018. No price was announced and select live matches will also be broadcast on TBS, TNT and truTV.
  • Sling TV now works in the browser
    - Sling TV is now available in Google Chrome for Windows and Mac as a beta for all users. The grid TV guide and the DVR access are not available on the Web version at launch but should arrive soon. Subscribers can access it by visiting

Dispatches from the Front

Hi guys, can you point me to a site that maintains an updated and detailed comparison of the various cord-cutting services (e.g. PS Vue, Hulu Live TV, Sling, etc.)?
I'd like to see not only pricing and channel listings, but also details on DVR capabilities and limitations as well as options to authenticate with other apps/services (as an Optimum subscriber I'm able to authenticate with just about everything right now, which gives me flexibility to use a range of apps).

Thanks, your boss

- Chris



Hey guys, thanks for all you do!

I cut the cord about a year ago when I moved across the country and had to choose a new internet provider. Best decision I ever made, and I used your book to help me determine what services were right for me. Thank you!
I am extremely interested in watching the Mayweather vs McGregor fight on the 26th but I am unsure of how to accomplish this. I have 3 Roku's, 2 Roku Premier+ and 1 Roku Ultra. I also subscribe to PlayStation Vue and HBO through Amazon Prime.
I want to have a party to watch the fight, but I don't know how to get PPV with my setup. Can I subscribe to Showtime through Amazon and get the fight? Is there a PPV app? Any help you can provide would be excellent.
Thank you!

- John



The recent moves by Netflix have made me think more about future of networks. I'm wondering if in the future we don't have networks, we just have content companies. ...

Universal (aka Comcast) owns NBC, USA and a movie studio, so they are set as a massive content company. FOX is solid with an empire behind them, including studios and smaller TV properties like FX.

But neither of them currently have a top-tier distribution service. As cord-cutting becomes more main-stream do they start to seriously look at having their own?

And CBS? What if Netflix buys CBS and maybe some of the smaller networks like AMC?

Oh, and don't forget about Amazon.

In the future I see these big players consolidating and focusing more on becoming the producers and distributors, each having their own services that they charge for. $10/mo for Netflix gets you all their stuff; $10 for Disney gets you Pixar movies, Disney channel, ESPN, etc.; $10 to Universal gets you all the Fast & Furious movies, USA TV shows, etc.

All of that seems obvious, but here's a wrinkle: what happens to commercials? Netflix has shown they don't need them. Do the others follow that model or charge us $10 and still include commercials?

Food for thought. Great show, guys.


- Adam


2017 Summer Movie Draft

Tom Merritt1 Comment