Breaking Bad Stories April 17, 2015

Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple… expand full story

Breaking Bad Stories September 3, 2014

Customer lawsuit over iTunes Breaking Bad pricing moves forward over Apple’s protests

As we reported last year, a fan named Noam Lazebnik has filed a lawsuit against Apple over its decision to split the fifth and final season of AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad into two sections, the “fifth season” and the “final season.” The distribution scheme matched up with the network’s decision to air the season over the course of two years, but fans who purchased “season 5” on iTunes were expecting to get all 16 episodes, but later learned they’d only get the first eight.

To Apple’s credit, once the issue came to light, the company refunded purchases of “the final season” to customers who believed they had been misled.

Today, a judge ruled that the case would be allowed to move forward despite Apple’s insistence that Lazebnik had not actually bought the season, but rather his son-in-law had done so using Lazebnik’s credit card (with his permission). According to Apple, Lazebnik did not see any guarantee that he would receive all 16 episodes, and therefore cannot sue for false advertisement.

The judge decided that it wasn’t yet the appropriate time to answer that question, and has put the burden of the decision on the jury, should the case go that far. A few other elements of the case have been thrown out, however, including a claim of breach of contract because there is no proof to back up Lazebnik’s claim that any such agreement existed.

Nonetheless, the case will move forward toward a class-action jury trial, though it may never actually reach that point anyway.

Breaking Bad Stories July 21, 2014

Netflix on Apple TV now lets you more quickly access the next episode in a series

The Netflix player on Apple TV has been updated with a new feature that allows watchers to more quickly jump between episodes in a single series of a show. When one episode is complete, the Apple TV will offer up the next episode. You must physically select the next episode as it will not automatically play, according to our testing (Update: the auto-play feature seems to be working on some shows, but not all at the moment). Previously, to access the next episode, users would have to revert back to the main episode list panel within the Netflix app.

Breaking Bad Stories August 12, 2013

Breaking Bad season split not going over well with iTunes season pass holders

Breaking Bad, the hit TV show on AMC starring Bryan Cranston, officially returned last night for the highly anticipated second half of season 5. However, some iTunes users are realizing that the Season Pass they purchased for the first half of the season doesn’t grant them access to the second half.

The discrepancy comes from the fact that AMC has always promoted the fifth season as one season split into two parts. The first 8 episodes aired starting back in July 2012 and appeared on iTunes as “Season 5”. Some users that purchased a season pass then expected that it would include the last half of the season that kicked off last night. Unfortunately, when the second half of the season hit iTunes, it was promoted as “The Final Season” rather than the second half of season 5 and required users to purchase a new season pass for access.

Apple allows users to buy a “Season Pass” to seasons of TV shows on iTunes and often provides a slight discount versus purchasing individual episodes. To be fair, Apple only charged $21.99 US for the season pass for season 5, which would reflect the typical cost for 8 episodes of new, premium content. In addition, the fine print on iTunes receipts also stated that the season pass for season 5 would only include “episodes airing in 2012.” The real problem here is that it forgot to remove the boiler plate text stating that the season also included all future episodes: “This Season Pass includes all current and future episodes of Breaking Bad, Season 5.”

A reader notes that the season pass for Season 3 of the The Walking Dead included both halves of the season with a long break in between the first and last 8 episodes. An iTunes rep even confirmed that the reader WOULD receive the second half of the season 5 prior to “The Final Season” landing on iTunes, so clearly there is some confusion with how iTunes handles these situations. Some users have even purchased a season pass for “The Final Season” (the second half of “Season 5” on iTunes) expecting that they’d also get access to the 8 previously aired episodes available in Season 5.

Apple isn’t alone in the move, as Amazon and Xbox offerings are splitting the seasons into two separate purchases as well, but Apple should definitely be doing more to make sure consumers know what they are getting when purchasing a season split into two parts.

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