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Murdoch Urges Old Media to Team up to 'Fight' Netflix, Amazon Dominance

Posted by: , 21:34 AEDT, Fri October 31, 2014

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Rupert Murdoch wants media companies to join forces to take on Netflix, Amazon, while the EFFs says they should start by removing DRM
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Image/Photo Credit: Netflix

21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch is in the spotlight again after calling on all other studios to join forces and launch a real competitor for Netflix and Amazon's video streaming services.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, Murdoch urgently called for more competition in the sector now dominated by Netflix, and to a lesser extent, Amazon. The need for increased competition was heighted recently by the news that Verizon's Redbox Instant streaming service was closing down, after being unable to compete with the two existing powerhouses.

And this is why, Murdoch argues, that media companies need to start working together and ensure the tech companies do not dominate the marketplace, much like how Apple has done so in the music scene, or Amazon's growing influence with books and eBooks.

"As an industry, we need a competitor - a serious competitor - to Netflix and Amazon," Murdoch told attendees at the WSJ.D conference. Murdoch also hinted at behind the scenes negotiations between the media companies to achieve this end. "I think we’re all on the same page," Murdoch revealed.

Speaking about HBO's recent announcement of a $15 standalone product, Murdoch believes HBO will not make any further moves to damage the long standing relationship between HBO and cable companies. 

"They don't want to get into conflict with them, so they're really only aiming at the moment at the 10 million people who don"t get cable," says Murdoch.

Responding to these comments, Internet digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that while competition is always welcomed and a good thing for consumers, but media companies must also do away with consumer unfriendly restrictions in order to win the public over, restrictions such as DRM.

"As we've been saying all along, interoperability and ease-of-use are the key factors that determine how someone will choose to access content. Lack of DRM makes it easier for customers to access content when they want, where they want, using the device they want. If the major media companies want to take back control over their work from companies like Amazon and Netflix, they would be wise to release their content directly to customers without DRM," the EFF's Jeremy Gillula writes.


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