Week in Review: Is a new golden age of piracy around the corner?

Hey all. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure.

Last week, I talked about Apple’s aggressive moves to change the gaming market.

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(Photo by Andrew Eccles/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The big story

If you pay attention to your NBC and CBS sitcoms, you may have skimmed over news this week that Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory picked sides in the streaming wars, selling out for glorious paydays. HBO bought TBBT for a billion dollars for its upcoming HBO Max service and Seinfeld went to Netflix for a cool half-billion. Both of the five-year deals carried hefty price tags but they also offered people pause to consider just how many dedicated streaming networks there are now.

Legacy sitcoms bringing people to streaming networks isn’t new, see “Friends,” but something feels particularly different now with HBO set to launch an expanded service, Apple ready for a $4.99 full-court press with TV+ and Disney about to leverage their content mega-franchises. Oh, and this week NBC announced its own service “Peacock.” Wheee.

The old age of paying for 50 channels with nothing left to watch because you haven’t paid for the upgraded package seems to be growing more familiar. All of this makes me wonder, where the tipping point is for internet users to return en masse to their pirating ways.

One could argue that TV and movie piracy subsided, in part, because networks learned how the internet functioned and took shows that were stuck on dated platforms and aggregated them inside products that were dead simple, easy to access and cheap. The latest paradigm shifts of streaming seem to be moon-walking back to where they once were before Netflix and Hulu.

We’re not there quite yet, but everything seems to be moving in that direction while the phrase “cable cutter” seems to be growing a bit quaint.

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On to the rest of the week’s news.

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Rivian)

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:

  • Amazon places a big order for electric delivery trucks
    There was a good deal of interesting stuff that went down this week, the most intriguing was that Amazon placed a massive order from the electric vehicle maker Rivian for 100,000 electric vans, a number that will approach the number of UPS trucks out in the wild. Read more here.
  • Review: iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro
    The new iPhones are here and my boss has some thoughts on the new cameras. Read more here.
  • Facebook lands on your TV
    Facebook is still making smart home hardware for some reason that I truly don’t grasp, but their latest product is at least pretty interesting. The Portal TV is a $149 camera that sits near your TV and brings Messenger video-chatting and some more odd features to your TV watching experience. Read more here.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness:

  1. Facebook slaps its developer base on the wrist:
    [Facebook has suspended “tens of thousands” of apps suspected of hoarding user data]

Disrupt SF

Our biggest event of the year is right around the corner and we’re bringing in some of the most important figures in the tech industry. Here’s who’s coming to Disrupt SF 2019.

In addition to taking in the great line-up of speakers, you can roam around Startup Alley to catch the more than 1,000 companies showcasing their products and technologies. And of course the Startup Battlefield competition that launched the likes of Dropbox, Cloudflare and Mint will once again be one of the biggest highlights of Disrupt SF.

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