erik lundegaard

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Saturday October 27, 2018

‘No Time to Think About It’: FilmStruck Struck by AT&T

FilmStruck

The site this morning. Soon, gone. 

One of my few happy places over the last few months has been FilmStruck, a movie streaming service that combines the Criterion collection and the Warner Bros. archives, among others. I'd signed up for an annual subscription in early September. (You may have noticed the jump in James Cagney reviews.) I was looking forward to spending the winter with it.

Nope. 

Yesterday it was announced that the site would be shuttered on Nov. 29. Why? From Variety's article:

In a statement, Turner and WB Digital Networks said, “We‘re incredibly proud of the creativity and innovations produced by the talented and dedicated teams who worked on FilmStruck over the past two years. While FilmStruck has a very loyal fanbase, it remains largely a niche service. We plan to take key learnings from FilmStruck to help shape future business decisions in the direct-to-consumer space and redirect this investment back into our collective portfolios.”

What’s more depressing—losing the service or having to read that language? Are these people even human? Can't they even fake it anymore? Look at that last sentence. I was going to mock it by emphasizing its more egregious parts but the whole thing is that. It says nothing. It says “We plan to make money.” There's not an iota of love for its product there. 

FilmStruck had that love. You could tell. People cared. They were kindred spirits.

You don't even know who to blame. WarnerMedia? Or its new owner AT&T? A source in Todd Spangler's Variety article says the move was planned before AT&T's recent purchase by AT&T but “the strategy aligns with the new WarnerMedia blueprint to shift resources to mass-market entertainment services.” 

A source familiar with AT&T's strategy said the telco is looking to eliminate peripheral projects that aren't major producers of revenue. “They felt Time Warner overall had too many initiatives,” the exec said. “[AT&T] have their hands full. They have no time to think about, ‘What do we do with this growth property?’

They have no time to think about it. Jesus fuck. 

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Posted at 03:03 AM on Oct 27, 2018 in category Business
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Thursday December 08, 2016

Canceling Comcast

A few weeks back, I wrote an article for Salon about the hassles of trying to cancel my mother's Comcast cable service after she'd had a stroke.

Today, I felt the greater joy of canceling my own service. 

Our building got Wave G a few months back, and after some starts and stops with various rang extenders (nope), and routers (yep: Netgear Nighthawk), I felt comfortable enough to cancel Comcast. Bye bye, shitty, overpriced service. 

I'd heard horror stories from others about how difficult this could be: how this, that and the other were offered; how they were put on hold for 20 minutes.

I got none of that. Instead, that annoying, overly friendly female computer voice, and the following “conversation”:

Comcast: In a few words, please tell me what you're calling about.
Me: Cancel account.
Comcast: I understand you'd like to cancel your account. Does that mean you're relocating and would like to set up a Comcast customer account elsewhere?
Me: No. 

Then I declined a post-call survey, got a rep, told him name and address, what I wanted, why I wanted it, and it was over like that. I'm now Comcast-free. Feels good. 

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Posted at 02:30 PM on Dec 08, 2016 in category Business
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Saturday August 29, 2015

Letters from Corporations I

I have three letters from corporations sitting on my desk that I need to deal with in some fashion. They are from:

  • Bank of America, informing me that my late payment fee is going up to $38 (from $35, but they don't say that), effective Nov. 14, 2015. “Thank you for your business.”
  • CVS/Caremark, informing me that if I insist on getting a particular drug from the pharmacy I will have to pay full price. I can avoid this with a 90-day supply, rather than a 30-day supply, but I can only get the 90-day supply through CVS/Caremark. “Sincerely...”
  • Anthem, informing me that “cyber attackers executed a sophisticated attack to gain unauthorized access to Anthem's IT system,” and that “You are receiving this letter now because Anthem made additional efforts to obtain a current mailing address for potentially impacted indviduals...” Anthem has also hired a company to protect my identity for two years at no cost to me. Additional tips are given.

Fun times.

No tagsPosted at 04:03 PM on Aug 29, 2015 in category Business
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Monday September 22, 2014

McAdvice to McWorkers Making McPay

Maybe old news but worth repeating. Its from William Finnegan's New Yorker piece on the unionization of fast-food workers and the struggle for $15 an hour (or at least more than $7 and change):

McDonald’s has tried to acknowledge the real lives of its workforce by providing counselling through a Web site (since taken down) and a help line called McResource. A sample personal budget was offered online last year. The budget was full of odd assumptions: that employees worked two full-time jobs, for instance, and that health insurance could be bought for twenty dollars a month. The gesture made the corporation look painfully out of touch. The same thing happened with a health-advice page. Workers were advised to break food into pieces to make it go farther, sing to relieve stress, and take at least two vacations a year, since vacations are known to “cut heart attack risk by 50%.” Swimming, one learned, is great exercise. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good for you, McDonald’s declared. A mother of two in Chicago, who had worked at McDonald’s for ten years, called the help line and found herself counselled to apply for food stamps and Medicaid. This was, at least, realistic.

Read the whole thing.

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Posted at 01:09 PM on Sep 22, 2014 in category Business
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Thursday August 14, 2014

Too Big to Care How It Looks

So I got a notice the other day from Chase. You know: Chase. I was supposed to read the notice carefully and retain it with my other important documents. It concerned by privacy. Or lack thereof. It began with this thought:

WHAT DOES CHASE DO WITH YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?

For some reason, this was in a chart labeled “FACTS,” when, you know, it's more of a question. But onward.

I assumed Chase was going to allay my fears about what it did with my personal information. Instead I got another chart:

Reasons we can share your personal information  Does Chase Share?  Can you limit this sharing?
For our everyday business purposes —such as to process your transactions, maintain your account(s), respond to court orders and legal investigations, or report to credit bureaus Yes No
For our marketing purposes — to offer our products and services to you Yes No
For joint marketing with other financial companies Yes No
For our affilates' everyday business purposes — information about your transactions and experiences Yes No

Those aren't really reasons, are they? Just like the other wasn't really facts. But onward.

They mention three other areas where they share my info—including “For non affiliates to market to you”—but apparently I can limit those. If I call. When I call. So we're not completely powerless. Just for all the above: everyday business purposes and marketing and joint marketing. But that's it. For now.

Anyway, nice notice. So nice to come home to.

No tagsPosted at 09:02 AM on Aug 14, 2014 in category Business
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