Published on January 9th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson0
CES 2018: Yahoo, Hulu, HomeKit, and rain…not necessarily in that order
Veteran CES attendees will tell you it’s rare the show is impacted by rain, but this one has been historic.
1.22-inches of rain in 24 hours left many without umbrellas jumping through the puddles. There was so much rain here today that Google shut down their tent adjacent to the convention center after it flooded, promising to be back in business Wednesday. So goes the unpredictability of CES 2018.
— saschasegan (@saschasegan) January 9, 2018
Another case in point…Go Pro. The company has let it be known it’s in the market to be bought which has left a lot of people – including yours truly – uttering, “I told you so.” Some will tell you the news was a shock and surprise. I’ll tell you I predicted a year ago at this same show that Go Pro would be in trouble a year from now. Forget the fact they should have never gotten into the drone business. Go Pro’s problems are far worse and all about the lack of innovation and the realization that cheaper alternatives have eaten their lunch. Whoever buys them will ditch the current management team and re-organize everything, as they should.
While Yahoo isn’t exhibiting at CES 2018, its news that it will stream for free all in-market and national NFL games next season was the talk of many in the TV industry who see it as further evidence of the big players in streaming media jockeying for position. Yahoo’s official statement shows it’s new owner Oath (can we just call them Verizon, please?) is ready to play hardball and isn’t going anywhere. “This is just the start of the experience for Yahoo Sports fans and Oath’s billion members across its house of brands.”
Hulu is the only big streaming service exhibiting at CES 2018 and they used the opportunity to also prove its growing dominance. In their keynote and press release, the company ended 2017 with over 17 million total subscribers across its subscription on-demand and live TV services. That’s over five million more subscribers – a more than 40 percent jump – from the last publicly reported subscriber numbers in 2016. Hulu CEO Randy Freer put the next year in perspective…“The year ahead is going to be even bigger, as the company invests more in content – live, library and original – as well as technology and data to make Hulu the leading pay-TV choice for consumers.”
We’ve seen a small increase in third-party support at CES 2018 for Apple’s HomeKit that allows users of Apple TV to control smart devices in their home. Notice how I say small. As a fellow (and unnamed) journalist put it to me walking the show floor today, “For every new Apple HomeKit announcement there are five new Amazon Alexa announcements. That’s not good for Apple.”
Finally…I overheard two journalists talking about Apple’s delay in releasing HomePod and it’s impact – or the lack thereof – at CES 2018. “It’s like a tree falling in a forest and no one is around to hear it. It’s a major mistake, they don’t get it and.” That comment mirrors that of tech analysts GBH Insights that predicted this week that it expects Apple’s delayed smart speaker to be launched ‘in the next 4-6 weeks’ – but that it will face an ‘uphill climb’ as it seeks to compete with entrenched competitors like Amazon/Echo and Google Home.
The weather forecast in Las Vegas for Wednesday? Sunny and 61. The people at Google will be the happiest bunch in the crowd.