13 things you need to know in tech today

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, July 18, 2019!

1. Netflix’s shrinking times

Netflix has problems: It is shrinking in the U.S.

The TV streaming behemoth reported its earnings yesterday evening and the numbers were not good.

Quick newsy numbers:

  • Netflix added 2.7 million new subscribers in the second quarter of 2019, but that was only half of the 5 million it expected to add.
  • For the first time since 2011, when Netflix decided to split the DVD mail-order system and streaming platform (it still sends out DVDs to 2.7m Americans), Netflix lost U.S. subscribers: 130,000 subscribers lost, in the last three months.
  • Also, Netflix continued burning cash, it said it would continue its “free cash flow forecast for full-year 2019 of negative $3.5 billion.”
  • That is to say, it’s losing cash, and lots of it.
  • It’s not all bad: Netflix now has 151.5 million subscribers globally – and global growth is what the company is going for, announcing it will finally offer a cheaper, mobile-only plan starting in India. But competition is fierce in India.
  • 151.5 million subscribers should give Netflix reason to look in the mirror and think that things are pretty good. But growth is everything in this game – Netflix is losing money every day, and the way not to lose money is to keep grabbing more and more subscribers.

The end of the golden age, the start of the great streaming wars:

  • The golden age, the golden era, of streaming is now: Netflix hasn’t lost much of its popular content yet, aside from Marvel. It has increasingly better originals, and staples like “The Office,” and “Friends.” It revolutionized the world of streaming content, and its brand power is supreme.
  • Netflix pushed the boundaries and created this world. It was so successful that now everyone else is getting on board.
  • Just over the horizon comes Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and many more competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others already compete.
  • And already Netflix is losing subscribers in the U.S., its home market.
  • With the loss of “Friends” and “The Office” in the next few years, and Netflix originals not always hitting home runs, investors aren’t easily convinced, with the stock dropping more than 10 percent in overnight trade.
  • The company is upbeat though, or at least putting a brave face on the streaming wars. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, commenting on actors and creatives: “It’s never been a better time for talent. They get to bid themselves off between us, Disney, Amazon, etc. But it’s not a zero-sum competition. I think everybody gets that. People will subscribe to multiple shows.
  • “It’s a great competition that helps build the industry, and the advantage of having something catchy like the ‘streaming wars’ is it draws more attention. And because of that, consumers shift more quickly from the linear TV to the streaming TV.”
  • Hastings also added: “I think our position is excellent. If investors believe in internet television, then our position in that market is very strong.”

Final thought: 

  • The battles in streaming we’ve seen so far are nothing. The Great Streaming Wars will be upon us.
  • Who will win?
  • It won’t be consumers if we have to subscribe to four different services to watch just the few shows that we keep coming back for, through platform or service exclusivity.

2. Samsung is starting to mass produce the world’s fastest RAM known as LPDDR5 Mobile DRAM, to be used in smartphones including iPhones and maybe even the Note 10, soon (Android Authority).

3. Project Dragonfly is dead: Censored Chinese search project is “terminated,” Google rep testifies (BoingBoing).

4. Same Nintendo Switch, just longer lasting: Nintendo has very quietly released an upgraded Switch, which will have more battery life. (To find it, look for HAC-001(-01) model number and a serial number that starts with XKW, starting as soon as August) (Polygon).

5. Amazon accidentally sold $13,000+ camera gear for $100 on Prime Day. And it’s being shipped! (PetaPixel).

6. Instagram is expanding its hidden ‘Like’ test to more countries, including Australia, Japan, and Ireland (Engadget).

7. Apple’s new MacBook Air (2019) is now getting reviews: Much needed upgrade, but the Air is no longer the “default” laptop, with beefier Windows laptops offering more. Even the MacBook Pro starts at just $200 more (The Verge).

8. FaceApp responds to privacy concerns – just because you’re Russian doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy, but, uh, it’s okay to triple-check ‘cos Russophobia. (TechCrunch).

9. How Notre-Dame came far closer to collapsing than people knew. This is how it was saved – a minute-by-minute run down (NY Times). The incredible mistakes made early-on are heart-wrenching.

10. The Ocean Cleanup is still trialing its new methods of floating, catching garbage (Twitter).

11. The foods you can bring through TSA and airport security (Lifehacker).

12. Here’s what you’ll face when you try to invade Area 51 (Jalopnik).

13. “What is your favorite paradox?” (r/askreddit)

DGiT Daily: Your Tech Resource

In case you don’t know, the DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun, and the daily fun element that you otherwise miss.

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