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Comcast Corporation (CMCSA)

  • Tue, Nov. 24, 1:51 PM
    • The Justice Dept. is looking into whether Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is violating antitrust law with its practices in the cable ad-sales market, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • The probe examines the $5B market and whether Comcast is engaging in "monopolization or attempted monopolization” of spot sales in Comcast service locations, as well as whether the company's deals with rivals amount to restraint of trade.
    • The investigation is in early stages, the paper reports, but the government has requested information from companies in the market including Comcast.
    • Comcast says the market is "robustly competitive," that local cable ads are only 7% of local ad sales due to competitive media including radio and broadcast TV, and that it will cooperate fully with the probe.
    | Tue, Nov. 24, 1:51 PM | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 23, 7:10 PM
    • Five days after the YES regional sports network was blacked out on Comcast (CMCSA -1.2%) systems in three states, the president of the channel's key sports team is weighing in.
    • This amounts to nothing more than a money grab," the New York Yankees' Randy Levine tells the New York Daily News. "It's a typical gutless act by a cable carrier seeking to promote its own self-interest.
    • The dispute is over price (YES is reportedly the most expensive RSN at $4.89 per subscriber month). Interestingly, Comcast says it has a deal in principle, but may be stalling -- the Yankee's spring training a few months away, and the Brooklyn Nets (the channel's other key draw) have a 3-11 record.
    • Comcast saves millions by dropping the channel from nets where it says few viewers are watching anyway.
    • Previously: Comcast +2.3% as three-state YES Network blackout begins (Nov. 18 2015)
    • Previously: Comcast, YES at carriage impasse with midnight blackout deadline (Nov. 17 2015)
    | Mon, Nov. 23, 7:10 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Nov. 23, 2:08 PM
    • CTI Towers -- a unit majority owned by Comcast (CMCSA -1.2%) -- has bought 120 telecom towers from Vyve Broadband.
    • The subsidiary says it won't disrupt operations depending on the towers; tenants include all of the U.S. big four: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
    • The move may raise some eyebrows, though, among those following Comcast's possible ambitions in wireless service. Last month, the company told Verizon it would execute a right to resell Verizon's airwaves and then said it was (slowly) testing its service -- perhaps a hybrid cellular/Wi-Fi service a la Google's Fi.
    • Previously: Comcast: Testing wireless service, but in no hurry to launch (Oct. 27 2015)
    | Mon, Nov. 23, 2:08 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Nov. 19, 7:53 PM
    • Sports broadcasters have been enjoying an ad bonanza from the rapidly growing daily fantasy sports industry -- try to watch a game this year without uncountable ads from DraftKings and FanDuel -- but a crackdown on those two firms and their industry could run out the clock on the party, analysts say.
    • The two companies combined spent $118M on TV ads in September, says Michael Nathanson -- that's AT&T-level ($129.2M) money. And most of it goes to ESPN (DIS +0.5%), followed closely by Fox Sports (FOX -1%, FOXA -1.2%).
    • "While the category is not as large as autos, films, health care or consumer products, the birth of a new category was incremental to the [TV] market and had to be a factor in [Q3's] upside to ad estimates," Nathanson writes.
    • NBCUniversal (CMCSA +0.1%) and CBS (CBS +0.9%) are also benefiting, to a lesser extent, from the fantasy spending.
    • Bernstein's Todd Juenger said the spending gains may be "unsustainable," adding "Daily fantasy sports sites may not even exist next year. Even if they do, the probability that they grow, again, at these rates is very low."
    | Thu, Nov. 19, 7:53 PM | 13 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 19, 1:20 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is spreading out, taking its Stream TV cable service to Chicago.
    • The streaming service has been available in Boston since its launch last week. The service, for $15/month, lets customers watch live broadcast TV and HBO while on their (Comcast) home broadband networks, along with an on-demand library that can be watched at home or remotely.
    • Notably, the company is exempting all Stream TV traffic from the data caps it's been introducing in some markets -- a "zero rating" approach similar to T-Mobile exempting video streaming from its data limits. Comcast says that's because the service is delivered over its cable system and not the Internet.
    • That might insulate it from potential net neutrality complaints; regulations have an exemption for non-broadband service.
    • The company plans to launch Stream TV nationwide early next year.
    • Previously: Comcast working on unified video app (Nov. 11 2015)
    | Thu, Nov. 19, 1:20 PM | 5 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 18, 6:43 PM
    • The Comcast-backed investment company that former CFO Michael Angelakis is running has added two new key execs.
    • The first non-Comcast hires at the firm are former Sunoco CFO Clare McGrory and David Caplan, a partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell. McGrory joins as partner and CFO, Reuters reports, while Caplan will become partner and general counsel after the end of the year.
    • While not internal to Comcast, Caplan has experience on several of Comcast's deals, including its acquisition of NBCUniversal.
    • Angelakis stepped down as CFO of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to be CEO at the new investment company, which has $4B in capital commitments from the cableco along with up to $100M from management (and $40M from Angelakis personally).
    • Comcast has a 10-year deal to be the sole outside investor in the firm.
    • Previously: Comcast names Cavanagh to CFO post (May. 11 2015)
    • Previously: Comcast to back new strategic company (Mar. 31 2015)
    | Wed, Nov. 18, 6:43 PM | Comment!
  • Wed, Nov. 18, 3:48 PM
    • In its carriage dispute with the YES regional sports network (FOX, FOXA), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) was banking on the fact that little uptake among its customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut would mean a blackout of the expensive channel wouldn't hurt it too badly.
    • The channel did go dark at midnight last night, and Comcast's investors may be endorsing the stance -- Comcast shares are up 2.3%, and at $62.56 are re-approaching a 52-week high it set in July.
    • YES reportedly charges $4.89 per subscriber per month, which would make it the most expensive regional sports net and approaching ESPN subscriber-cost territory. It is the most-watched RSN in the country.
    • Comcast says that of 130 baseball games on YES this season, more than 90% of its subscribers didn't watch the equivalent of a quarter of the games despite the Yankees' playoff pursuit.
    • Previously: Comcast, YES at carriage impasse with midnight blackout deadline (Nov. 17 2015)
    | Wed, Nov. 18, 3:48 PM | Comment!
  • Tue, Nov. 17, 9:11 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and YES, the New York Yankees/Brooklyn Nets regional sports net, are headed for a blackout with a carriage agreement expiring at midnight -- and it might last a while.
    • As usual, the dispute settles on price -- YES, owned by Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) is reportedly the most expensive regional sports net, at $4.89 per subscriber month -- and Comcast is playing hardball with the Yankees' network.
    • The cableco says that in the areas it carries the network (in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania), its 900,000 customers don't really watch the channel, especially outside of baseball season: "The price Fox and the Yankees are requiring from our customers is not acceptable given the network’s minimal viewership, which is why we have decided we can no longer justify continuing to carry the network."
    • For its part, YES says it and Comcast reached an agreement on principle months ago and that it operated in good faith toward a new contract through the Yankees' and NYC FC's seasons and into the Nets' season.
    | Tue, Nov. 17, 9:11 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Nov. 17, 6:02 PM
    • If Hulu's three partner-owners (DIS, CMCSA, FOX/FOXA) decide to bring in a fourth -- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), reported to be in very preliminary talks about an equal stake -- it could be the tipping point for a federal probe.
    • That's the take of Guggenheim's Paul Gallant, if anything interesting were to happen with the foursome's licensing of content to Netflix.
    • It's possible that media execs haven't private discussed restricting content sales, he writes -- "But given the growing public discussion around this issue — highlighted by Time Warner's comments and its possible Hulu move — it would not surprise us if the DOJ began an investigation for any indication of coordination regarding OTT."
    • The feds reportedly launched an investigation before, he points out, into cable TV stances on over-the-top video services in 2012.
    • On the other hand, there's far from a uniform stance toward Netflix from the content providers, and Hulu co-owner Disney has a three-year movie deal with the service starting next year.
    • Comcast can't take an active role in management at Hulu until 2018, based on conditions from its acquisition of NBCUniversal.
    • Previously: Hulu-Time Warner deal: A four-way strategic play, if it happens (Nov. 12 2015)
    • Previously: WSJ: Hulu looking at stake sale to Time Warner valuing it at $5B-$6B (Nov. 12 2015)
    | Tue, Nov. 17, 6:02 PM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Nov. 17, 5:19 PM
    • The Hallmark Channel (CRWN +1.7%) is taking advantage of November's onset, switching to all holiday programming all the time and jumping to third in last week's cable ratings, averaging 1.78M viewers.
    • The channel plans original films each year, and I'm Not Ready for Christmas drew 3.6M viewers on Saturday while Christmas Inc. pulled 2.5M on Sunday.
    • For the week, Hallmark finished behind ESPN (DIS, 2.71M viewer average) and Fox News (FOX, FOXA, 2.29M average). It's planning original movies for each night during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend as well, and viewership for the first two weeks of November are up 89% over October's average.
    • CBS won prime time among big broadcasters again, averaging 10.2M viewers, ahead of NBC (CMCSA, 8.3M), ABC (6.2M) and Fox (3.6M).
    • NBC Nightly News won newscasts with 9.3M, ahead of ABC's World News Tonight with 8.8M.
    | Tue, Nov. 17, 5:19 PM | Comment!
  • Mon, Nov. 16, 8:49 PM
    • It's no longer enough just to get a movie made -- you have to have your own cinematic universe to play in. Such is the lesson from Marvel and Star Wars, and now another one's coming on quickly and furiously.
    • The Fast and Furious speedy-car franchise at Universal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), currently at seven films strong, will add on prequels and spinoffs, says producer/star Vin Diesel: “We’ve written out story lines for various characters ... It’s a very rich property and we’re committed to treating it with a lot of class.”
    • The studio's behind it, says Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, and why not: The last two films, Furious 7 and Fast & Furious 6, grossed $1.5B and $788.7M globally respectively.
    • Those ambitious plans, though, are already on top of three more sequels planned to bring the series to 10. The eighth film, which had earlier trouble finding a director, will be guided by F. Gary Gray, maker of Straight Outta Compton, another 2015 Universal hit.
    • Previously: Diesel admissions: Universal set to make it an even 10 'Furious' films (Sep. 28 2015)
    • Previously: 'Furious 7' leads box office for fourth week (Apr. 27 2015)
    | Mon, Nov. 16, 8:49 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Nov. 16, 1:06 PM
    • With the Universal Sports Network folding, NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is picking up its media rights to a number of Olympic style competitions, including swimming, track and field, gymnastics, figure skating and skiing.
    • The rights are of a piece with NBC's longtime investment in Olympic sports.
    • Events will appear on NBCSN and Universal HD for cable distribution, and will be digitally streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra.
    • NBCUniversal was a minority stakeholder in Universal Sports Network.
    | Mon, Nov. 16, 1:06 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Nov. 12, 6:57 PM
    • If Hulu sells a stake to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), it would be an equal partnership with existing co-owners, meaning it would draw down the stakes of the other three -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Fox (FOX, FOXA) -- to 25% each.
    • The move would definitely be a strategic play against Netflix and for the service, which has gotten increasingly active in the past year with new subscription models and aggressive moves into original programming and licensing products away from competitors. Content spending reportedly went to $1.5B this year from $600M in 2014.
    • Time Warner wouldn't just be putting in cash, it would be committing to license content beyond what it's already sold. Time Warner owns TV powerhouse Warner Bros. along with HBO, and Turner Broadcasting and its properties.
    • It suggests that a sale in whole that was discussed in 2013 is further off the table now. The WSJ reports that the current (preliminary) talks value Hulu between $5B and $6B.
    • Nervous content owners may favor a stronger Hulu and its closer relationship to existing TV vs. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which they feel is accelerating cord cutting and lowering ratings. Netflix, which fell into the close down 3.5%, is off another 0.8% after hours.
    • Previously: WSJ: Hulu looking at stake sale to Time Warner valuing it at $5B-$6B (Nov. 12 2015)
    • Previously: With programming buildup, Hulu's losses increase (Nov. 06 2015)
    • Previously: Hulu CEO: No current ambition for original movies, overseas expansion (Oct. 15 2015)
    | Thu, Nov. 12, 6:57 PM | 65 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 12, 6:35 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has a deal with No. 3 cableco Cox Communications to license its X1 video technology, the first license pact for its high-stakes investment.
    • Privately held Cox had been testing Internet-ready X1 tech for the past couple of years. It's deploying it in San Diego first, as part of its Contour branded service, though it will roll it out to other Cox markets next year.
    • The move gives X1 a bit of momentum that was blunted when Comcast's pursuit of Time Warner Cable ended. While it would love to license its Xfinity technology, it's not said much about licensing its new Stream TV service, which launched yesterday in Boston, and it says it's in no rush to offer a national OTT service.
    • Canada's Shaw Communications has also been testing X1.
    • Previously: Comcast working on unified video app (Nov. 11 2015)
    | Thu, Nov. 12, 6:35 PM | Comment!
  • Thu, Nov. 12, 4:00 PM
    • Hulu is looking at a stake sale to Time Warner (TWX -0.9%) that would include cash and content licensing, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • The move would make Time Warner an equal stakeholder with the current owners -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Fox (FOX, FOXA) -- and value the streaming video provider between $5B and $6B.
    • Shares in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) are sliding into the close, now down 3.9% to their lowest point since Tuesday.
    • Previously: With programming buildup, Hulu's losses increase (Nov. 06 2015)
    | Thu, Nov. 12, 4:00 PM | 12 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 11, 3:52 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is partway through merging its disparate video apps into a single one that can adjust what it shows subscribers based on what they're able to see while they are at, or away from, their homes.
    • The company currently offers two apps: Xfinity TV to duplicate its in-home offering, and Xfinity TV Go to give "TV Everywhere" (authenticated) access, which varies by type of subscription.
    • A new single app is planned to convert itself back and forth depending on whether or not a customer's on their home network, the company's video services chief, Matt Strauss, said in a conference keynote.
    • He added that while Comcast is slowing losses of video subscribers, just slowing those isn't the company's goal. It intends to get back to growth by being more "surgical" about the products it offers to different categories of customers. The company today launched "Stream TV," a broadband offering with some major broadcast channels along with HBO and some other VOD for $15/month.
    | Wed, Nov. 11, 3:52 PM | Comment!
Company Description
Comcast Corp is a media and technology company. The Company's business segments are: Cable Communications, Cable Networks, Broadcast Television, Filmed Entertainment, and Theme Parks.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States