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News 06-10-12 09:20 PM

$422,000 to stream a movie? The continued "success" of phone cramming
http://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-conten...e-cramming.jpg If you were watching Mulholland Drive on your phone, it probably wasn't through Streaming Flix.
Aurich Lawson

From July 2009 until December 2010, a Minneapolis-based company called Streaming Flix allegedly hit on a hugely profitable business model'slapping steep monthly fees for its online movie service on the phone bills of 253,269 customers. In total, $9.7 million was billed in that year and a half. How many movies did Americans watch after spending all that cash? 23.

That's no typo'and it means an average of $422,000 was spent each time someone streamed a film. It also suggests that 99.99 percent of the people paying monthly fees for the service weren't using it.

Perhaps that's why the very first Google hit for "Streaming Flix" points to a question from one Barbara G. Shewants to know what the company is and why "I am being billed for it with my AT&T bill but did not sign up for it?" The situation grew so bad that the FBI opened a probe of Streaming Flix and its related companies. In December 2010, the Bureau asked the public to send in complaints about the company.

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