HEARD ON THE STREET: Cable Horror? Comcast Hopes So [Wall Street Journal]
Summary: Comcast will report Q3 earnings tomorrow, which are expected to reflect the quarter's strong sales in digital cable, broadband internet and its recently debuted phone service, the famed "triple play."The earnings report will follow yesterday's 52-week high for the company's shares. Comcast's latest marketing strategy includes "Fearnet," in which it is releasing a series of horror movies and other Halloween-oriented programming on its cable network, Internet portal and mobile phone service. Through these types of campaigns, the company hopes to convince customers of the value of the "triple play," beyond the one-year sale price. Such marketing strategies also communicate to investors that Comcast is focused on building its brand. Similarly, despite rumors that the company might be considering possible acquisitions, Comcast officials deny any such plans, also quelling investor fears that management might be nervous about the future. Analysts project that Comcast shares can still rise beyond yesterday's high. However, the company can expect to face stiffer competition from phone companies and the possibility of triple play subscribers jumping ship after the first year's discount ends. Another challenge could be devices like Apple's that bring downloaded movies into the living room. However, many analysts estimate that Comcast's growth prospects are strong, particularly in the phone and broadband Internet categories.
Related links: Cable Stocks: Will The Rally Continue? • Comcast Signs Up Its Millionth Digital Phone Customer • Fiber to the Home: A World of Headaches for Comcast NewRatings.com: Comcast "buy," target price raised • Television Week: Comcast, Turner Invest in User-Generated Ad Firm
Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Stocks: Comcast (CMCSA), DirecTV Group Inc. (DTV), EchoStar Communications Corp. (DISH) • ETFs: SPDR O-Strip (OOO), Vanguard Consumer Discretionary VIPERs (VCR), iShares Dow Jones US Consumer Services (IYC)
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