Fri, Nov. 6, 6:22 PM
- Over-the-top video service Hulu has undergone a transformative year, adding ad-limited and ad-free subscription tiers, putting heavy investment into new content and exclusives, and focusing on building rather than selling, as it builds up to take on heavyweight Netflix and Amazon.com's video service.
- Its corporate parents -- NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Fox (FOX, FOXA) -- are happy with that approach for now, which is good, as Hulu loses more money in the buildup.
- In Disney's earnings call, COO Tom Staggs acknowledged Hulu would keep stepping up programming investment, "and that will continue to increase their losses in the near term."
- The market is big enough, though, and "we feel good about where they're going strategically."
- In recent interviews, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has made clear the service isn't currently pursuing international expansion -- a sharp contrast with Netflix -- and that after the corporate parents eschewed a 2013 sale, an IPO or sale isn't in the near future until it builds up more.
Tue, Nov. 3, 3:35 PM
- Fox (FOX +1.3%, FOXA +1.3%) is trying out a new ad model on Hulu -- the streaming service competing against two rivals with no ads at all.
- Fox subsidiary TrueX has a new "engagement ad" that it will be introducing on Fox programs on Hulu, but making available to other media companies. It allows viewers the option of choosing a 30-second interactive ad rather than a longer ad load that usually accompanies the programs (if viewers aren't already on the ad-free tier).
- “The whole purpose is to get out this heavy ad-loading environment, where consumers are ad blocking and consumers are ad avoiding,” says TrueX chief Joe Marchese.
- Snack maker Mondelez has signed up as a launch partner for the ads, which at first will only be on devices where clicking is easy before moving to set-top boxes.
- Hulu -- owned along with Fox by Disney (DIS +0.6%) and NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.3%) -- recently added two higher-priced tiers for "limited" commercials or completely ad-free, though at its base it's hoping to fix an interruptive ad model that is running into resistance as consumers adopt ad blockers.
- Previously: Hulu CEO: Ad-free model is adding net subscribers (Sep. 29 2015)
Tue, Nov. 3, 3:23 PM
- In a couple of executive shuffles, Comcast (CMCSA -0.4%) has a pair of new executive VPs.
- The company promoted Lynn Charytan to executive VP and general counsel, with oversight over all its legal affairs. She has been senior deputy general counsel and will continue overseeing regulatory compliance with the NBCUniversal transaction requirements. Charytan joined Comcast in 2010.
- It also hired Robert Eatroff as executive VP of Global Corporate Development and Strategy. He comes from Morgan Stanley, where he was head of mergers & acquisitions for the Americas, and will start in January.
- In his roles, he succeeds Alexander Evans, who is joining Comcast's former CFO Michael Angelakis at a new strategic investment company Angelakis formed in partnership with Comcast, and Bob Pick.
Fri, Oct. 30, 5:53 PM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.7%) wasted little time in launching new apps for the newest Apple TV, which launched in stores today.
- The unit is launching four apps for the service -- for NBC TV, USA Now, NBC Sports Live Extra and CNBC. The apps variously feature on-demand libraries as well as live events for TV Everywhere (password) authenticated subscribers.
- The main NBC app has day-after availability for new fall shows and streaming access to returning shows (with TVE authentication), as well as late-night programs. The USA Network app is offering a mix of full seasons and select episodes.
- Meanwhile, CNBC will have a live feed plus on-demand access to Jim Cramer's Mad Money and the network's prime-time shows. And in the DVR-proof area, NBC Sports Live Extra is promising access to 3,000 live events/year.
- Comcast is up 0.4% in after-hours trading.
Thu, Oct. 29, 8:01 PM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is moving forward with a planned customer-service improvement push by hiring more than 100 people in Boston, most of which will be customer-facing jobs including technicians, sales and account execs.
- This spring the cableco seemed to acknowledge its awful reputation with customers by committing $300M, and some 5,500 new workers, to improve its reputation.
- Earlier, Comcast said it hooked up the first Connecticut customer for its Advanced Communities Network, a fiber-to-the-unit initiative to bring its Xfinity services to apartments, condos and other multifamily units and single-family communities. The neighborhood in New Haven intersects Yale University and the town's business/retail corridor.
- Previously: Comcast at INTX: $300M investment in customer service (May. 05 2015)
Wed, Oct. 28, 9:44 PM
- Event programming is continuing to drive big ratings this fall, with Fox (FOX, FOXA) drawing a winning rating in overnights from its World Series coverage.
- Paced by Game 1 between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, the network pulled a 4.4 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic with a 13 share -- that, despite a power outage that disrupted the stadium feed, and an audience-testing extra innings game that surpassed the five-hour mark.
- NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) followed Fox with a 1.8 rating/6 share, then CBS with a 1.7/5. NBC's Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris fell off just 8% W/W despite running against baseball, and The Voice was off 4% while Chicago Fire rose 11%.
- At CBS, NCIS got a 2.0, down 5% W/W, and NCIS: New Orleans recorded a 1.6 (flat).
- TBS scored with 6M viewers for its NBA season tip-off.
- Meanwhile, with final numbers in, the CBS premiere for Supergirl on Monday became the fall's top premiere in total viewers, with 12.95M from 8:30-9:30 p.m. It tied NBC's Blindspot as the top premiere in the young-adult demo, holding 70% of that audience from No. 1 comedy The Big Bang Theory ... though its test will come next week without that strong lead-in. CBS gained 2.2% today.
Wed, Oct. 28, 7:55 PM
- With IBM taking on the digital and data assets of The Weather Company, what happens to The Weather Channel that it's leaving behind?
- It's struggling, but it will pursue storm coverage as a "hyper-local streaming service," according to channel CEO Dave Shull. "We are continuing to invest in our strategic partnerships with our distributors, advertisers, and emerging technology start-ups."
- The network will continue as its own company -- still owned in part by NBCUniversal (CMCSA +0.7%) along with Bain Capital and Blackstone (BX +1.2%) -- and has a long-term deal to use the services it sold to IBM. It's also still one of the most distributed channels on pay TV; Shull says more than half of America tunes in at least once a week.
- Comcast's recent earnings filing shows its investment in the channel has been marked down to $81M after a $252M impairment charge.
- Previously: IBM confirms Weather Co. deal, touts cloud/analytics synergies; shares rise (updated) (Oct. 28 2015)
- Previously: WSJ: IBM near $2B-plus deal for The Weather Company assets (Oct. 27 2015)
Tue, Oct. 27, 8:28 PM
- IBM is nearing a deal in excess of $2B to acquire the digital and data assets of The Weather Co., owner of the Weather Channel, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
- The company -- owned in part by NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) along with Bain Capital and Blackstone (NYSE:BX) -- started hiring banks to seek a buyer in August for a deal it hoped would hit $3B. The company's digital bits were widely considered to be the most valuable.
- IBM has a particular interest in the company's forecasting group, WSI, the WSJ says -- a unit that's chock full of tech and weather data that the Weather Co. licenses to various businesses.
- The deal would reportedly come with Weather Co. CEO David Kenny, who would join IBM.
- A $2B deal would be a discount over the company's 2008 sale price, valued at $3.5B. IBM shares fell 4.1% today.
- Previously: IBM eyes digital assets of The Weather Company (Oct. 19 2015)
- Previously: Weather Channel hires banks to explore sale for up to $3B (Aug. 20 2015)
Tue, Oct. 27, 7:17 PM
- Following its in-line Q3 earnings report, Comcast (CMCSA -1%) confirmed its intention to test wireless services as part of a spectrum deal it entered with Verizon years ago.
- Commercial launch isn't close, though, and the company isn't showing interest in making an acquisition in the wireless space: "We've always felt (wireless is) part of a product set," says CEO Brian Roberts. "I don't think we feel that we have to necessarily in any way seek owner's economics."
- But it is evaluating whether to enter the bidding in the FCC's broadcast incentive spectrum auction.
- "It takes about six months to activate the MVNO," CEO Brian Roberts said. "We're going to trial some things and test some things after we activate. We'll update people as that progresses."
- Comcast last week triggered part of a 2012 deal where a cable consortium sold airwaves to Verizon with a right to resell Verizon service later. The company is said to be planning a hybrid cellular/Wi-Fi service along the lines of Google's Project Fi.
- Related: Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts on Q3 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Oct. 27 2015)
Tue, Oct. 27, 9:43 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is off slightly, -0.6%, along with the broader market after Q3 results where yet again profits were in line and the company beat on revenue that grew 11%.
- Profits fell 19.2% Y/Y overall. Revenues were boosted by strong results on the content side, with Universal films contributing and theme parks, cable networks and NBC TV all adding strong gains.
- Cable Communications revenue of $11.74B (up 6.3%) by segment: Video, $5.35B (up 3.3%); High-speed Internet, $3.13B (up 10.2%); Voice, $900M (down 1.4%); Business Services, $1.2B (up 19.5%); Advertising, $593M (down 0.2%); Other, $562M (up 11.8%).
- At NBCUniversal, revenues of $7.15B (up 20.8%) by segment: Cable networks, $2.4B (up 7%); broadcast television, $1.97B (up 11.3%); filmed entertainment, $1.95B (up 64%); theme parks, $896M (up 14.1%).
- Net video subs fell by 48,000 (that is the company's best Q3 result in that area for nine years) and high-speed Internet customers gained by 320,000 (best Q3 there in six years). Voice customers grew by 17,000.
- Overall customer relationships were up 156K to 27.4M, driven by two-product bundlers (single-product customers up 24,000; double-product up 130,000; triple-play up 1,000).
- Press Release
Tue, Oct. 27, 7:14 AM
Tue, Oct. 27, 7:05 AM
Mon, Oct. 26, 5:30 PM
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Mon, Oct. 26, 1:20 PM
- Maybe everybody stayed at home trying to buy Star Wars tickets online.
- In a dismal weekend at the box office, five new wide releases tanked and surrendered leadership to three returning films, led by The Martian (FOX -0.2%, FOXA -0.1%), which reclaimed the top spot with $15.9M.
- Goosebumps (SNE +0.6%) and Bridge of Spies (DIS +0.2%) were second and third, with $15.5M and $11.4M respectively.
- Of the newcomers, The Last Witch Hunter (LGF +1.2%) did best -- which isn't saying much. The Vin Diesel film drew just $10.8M in more than 3,000 theaters for the No. 4 spot. The latest in a series, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (VIA -0.7%, VIAB -1%) was sixth with $8.2M, showing on just 1,656 screens as some exhibitors skipped showing it over Paramount's home-entertainment plans.
- And biopic Steve Jobs (CMCSA +0.3%) went from one of the best per-screen averages in limited release to just $7.3M now that it's gone wide. Despite some critical acclaim for the film, that's barely better than the panned Ashton Kutcher film Jobs did in opening its take on the Apple chief.
Mon, Oct. 26, 10:32 AM
- The board at Comcast (CMCSA +0.4%) has approved a proposal to reclassify its shares, such that its special common stock (NASDAQ:CMCSK) would be reclassified into its A-share common stock.
- The company says the move to leave only the one class will end some confusion, as well as increase the trading liquidity of the A shares.
- The plan is to reclassify each share of CMCSK into a share of CMCSA.
- A preliminary proxy has been filed and the company will hold a special meeting to vote on the issue. Shareholders of record at the close on Oct. 20 are entitled to vote.
- CMCSK is up 0.1%.
Fri, Oct. 23, 7:31 PM
- Broadcast networks giveth, and taketh away, on some freshman series after several weeks of numbers in the books.
- NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has cut its order on The Player, starring Wesley Snipes, to nine episodes from its 13 -- meaning it will shuffle off the schedule in November after weakening to 4M total viewers on Thursday. The Player, from the producers of The Blacklist, followed that show in time slots and drew a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49.
- Earlier this month, NBC had given a full-season order to more successful Blindspot.
- Meanwhile, Fox (FOX, FOXA) gave Rosewood a full-season order while cutting its order for Minority Report.
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