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Jul. 7, 2014, 7:41 AM
- The summer box office stayed in a sluggish trend with a 4th of July weekend that failed to produce any fireworks.
- The top 12 films for the weekend earned $118.5M, down 47% from last year when Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger debuted.
- Transformers: Age of Extinction led the box office rankings with a $36.4M haul for Paramount (VIA, VIAB), while Tammy opened to $32.9M over the five days for Warner Bros. (TWX).
- The summer box office is now down nearly 20% Y/Y after the misfire during the crucial holiday weekend.
- Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX, FOXA, SNE, CMCSA, LGF.
Jul. 3, 2014, 8:17 AM
- Univision continued its impressive World Cup ratings this week with 5.1M viewers tuning in for the coverage of the U.S.-Belgium knockout stage game.
- The network also scored another 1.8M viewers through its streaming service.
- Though the rating bonanza is well-timed with Univision a rumored target of CBS and Time Warner, there's a bittersweet element to the payday after the network lost the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Comcast (CMCSA) property Telemundo.
Jul. 2, 2014, 12:49 PM
- Pay-TV operators (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) will have to spend about $18.32 a month per subscriber within wo years to gain broad rights to sports content, according to estimates from SNL Kagan. That figure makes it difficult for the group to offer smaller bundles to bring back cord-cutters and lure cord-nevers.
- The major sports broadcasters (DIS, TWX, FOXA, CMCSA, CBS) only earned about $1.17 a month in 1995, despite lacking any competition from streaming or online services.
- Though the AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner Cable mergers could add leverage to the pay-TV side, new sports channels Fox Sport 1 and NBC Sports Network aim to achieve the must-have clout and high carriage fees earned by ESPN.
- Passing on costs might not be an option: Average revenue per user at pay-TV operators has hit a tipping point with consumers, with most analysts seeing the push-back continuing.
- "Something has to give," sums up media analyst Craig Moffett.
Jul. 1, 2014, 9:09 AM
Jul. 1, 2014, 7:25 AM
- Box office revenue in China is up 22% Y/Y to $2.16B for the first six months of the year as foreign films continue to outperform in the nation.
- Hollywood films (TWX, FOXA, SNE, CMCSA, LGF, VIAB) now claim 52% market share in China.
- The impressive tally only includes four days of contribution from Transformers: Age of Extinction which is smashing records in the nation.
- IMAX (IMAX) is a major force in China with consumers well-adapted to the premium format.
Jun. 25, 2014, 10:21 AM
- Handing a major win to TV broadcasters, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 Aereo's streaming TV service violates the Copyright Act.
- Aereo has maintained an unfavorable ruling would be a death knell for the company. Broadcasters, meanwhile, had threatened to stop providing their channels over the air, as they looked to protect the lucrative affiliate fees they receive from pay-TV providers.
- Broadcaster shares have moved higher following the verdict: CBS +5.4%. DIS +1.4%. FOX +2%. FOXA +1.9%. CMCSA +0.9%. InterActiveCorp (IACI -1.6%), a major Aereo investor, is trading lower.
- Prior Aereo coverage
Jun. 24, 2014, 2:42 PM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA) has lined up as much as $2.5B in fall prime-time ad commitments, according to Variety.
- That mark would be well-ahead of the $2B hauled in by the broadcaster last year.
- Media insiders think ABC (DIS) and CBS (CBS) took in less money this year than last, although CBS probably secured the best rates of the bunch.
Jun. 21, 2014, 11:38 AM
- A decision by the Supreme Court in the case pitting Aereo against major broadcasters (CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, DIS) is expected to be announced next week. A check of the court's docket shows June 23, June 25, and June 26 as possible announcement dates.
- If Aereo wins a favorable ruling from SCOTUS rapid expansion could be on tap, even though the start-up might still face a fight on Capitol Hill and with the FCC. Investments from media giants or P-E firms could push Aereo into dreamland.
- The reaction from broadcasters to an Aereo win is hard to gauge, although the "nuclear option" of moving all content to cable has been thrown out by top execs.
- If Aereo loses the company will likely go away. CEO Chet Kanojia has dismissed talk that paying broadcasters a carriage fee was an option.
- Beyond the headline from the high court on Aereo, media attorneys will be busy looking at the nuts and bolts of the ruling. The legal precedent set in the case could guide how content is distributed and fees sliced up in the future.
- The stock to watch: CBS has been tipped by analysts as the broadcaster which could see the most volatility as the ruling is dissected. Nomura is a buyer on weakness.
Jun. 16, 2014, 10:33 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR -0.2%) and Comcast (CMCSA -0.3%) name Matthew Siegel as the new CFO of the company being spun off as a result of the merger between the cable giants.
- The new company will launch with 2.5M former Comcast customers.
- Siegel is currently the treasurer at Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.2%).
Jun. 3, 2014, 1:03 PM
- TV networks (TWX, AMCX, VIA, CMCSA, FOXA, DIS) could get a boost as advertisers weigh letting loose of the 3-day window of counting ad views to move to a broader 7-day window which falls more in line with viewer habits.
- CBS (CBS -1.1%) COO Joseph Ianniello estimates the shift could present the company a "9-digit opportunity" as ratings on hit shows are lifted dramatically. Bernstein Research puts the benefit in the tens of millions.
- Webcast of CBS at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference
May 30, 2014, 10:27 AM
- Consumers are rapidly adapting to purchasing movies through digital channels, according to NPD.
- The growth rate for the electronic sell-through of movies is triple of that for TV EST.
- The exclusive early release window for some digital titles appears to be helping to boost demand and awareness.
- The trend is encouraging for studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) looking to capture some of the lost revenue from the lower demand for DVDs.
- Movie theater operators (CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, DCIN) might look at the development differently with their revenue share mix tilted higher the longer movies stay in a theater.
May 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
May 23, 2014, 7:25 AM
- Analysts project China's box office haul for this year will reach $4.49B to mark a 24.7% increase from last year's level.
- U.S. films have performed extraordinarily well in China this year, led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a $116M gross. Godzilla opens in two weeks with expectations for a smashing run.
- What to watch: The sizzling growth of China's box office will provide a significant boost to movie studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) this year, while IMAX (IMAX) continues to become entrenched in the nation.
May 21, 2014, 2:04 PM
- Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) declares $0.225/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
- Forward yield 1.76%
- Payable July 23; for shareholders of record July 2; ex-div June 30.
May 21, 2014, 9:50 AM
- The Syfy network will debut Sharknado 2 on July 30.
- The first Sharknado film delivered staggering ratings while dominating the shark-in-a-tornado TV category. A theatrical run and merchandising brought in extra money for NBCUniversal (CMCSA).
- What to watch: Sharknado 2 will roll out in 86 different nations within a day of its U.S. debut in an example of the exponential ratings power that an under-the-radar hit can deliver.
May 19, 2014, 9:11 AM
- A report from the FCC indicates basic cable TV prices have risen at a rate 4X the rate of inflation over the last 18 years.
- In the last year alone, the average cost of basic service rose 4.6% to $63.03.
- What to watch: The FCC report, which is full of details on the impact of pricing in "non-competitive" markets, is likely to be referred to during discussion in Washington DC on the Time Warner Cable (TWC)- Comcast (CMCSA) merger.
- Related stocks: CVC, CHTR
- Full FCC report (.pdf)
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