Why I'm Shorting Charter And Buying Comcast
Ranjit Thomas, CFA
Ranjit Thomas, CFA
You Probably Hate Comcast
Chris DeMuth Jr. • 28 Comments
Chris DeMuth Jr. • 28 Comments
Tue, Nov. 29, 12:39 PM
- Planned for Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood (NASDAQ:CMCSA).
- Noted to be "expansive, immersive and interactive," development of various Nintendo-themed (OTCPK:NTDOY) areas is ongoing with isolated openings scheduled over the next few years.
- The Vision for Nintendo at Universal Theme Parks
Mon, Nov. 28, 2:22 PM
Mon, Nov. 28, 9:56 AM
- With mounting criticism of the quality Thursday Night Football, scattered suggestions have emerged in recent weeks that the NFL could pull the plug on the experiment.
- The suggestions are stronger than that; per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will be considering the possibility of ending - or at least limiting - the games, Pro Football Talk reports.
- The current contract with CBS (CBS -0.2%) and NBC (CMCSA -0.6%) runs through 2017, which means that changes to the package could be made by 2018 - barring a renegotiation. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) also has a deal to broadcast Thursday Night Football games.
Mon, Nov. 21, 2:07 PM
- NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is making another $200M investment in BuzzFeed and will expand the advertising sales partnership between the two media players.
- "We are looking forward to using the power of our brands to collaborate in more innovative ways that drive value for both companies," says NBCUniversal President of Digital Enterprises Maggie Suniewick.
- NBCUniversal press release
- Previously: NBCUniversal investing another $200M into BuzzFeed (Oct. 20)
Thu, Nov. 17, 6:15 PM
- As NBC (CMCSA +1.5%) takes over its half of the season of Thursday Night Football broadcasts from CBS (NYSE:CBS) tonight, it looks like it might get its wish for higher ad rates than its rival.
- In the summer, NBC had argued that its Thursday night games might command higher rates, coming closer to the U.S. holidays -- and it's gotten as much as $600,000 for a 30-second spot, Reuters reports.
- It had been asking $560,000, in line with what CBS got for five Thursdays earlier in the season to which it drew an average of 14.7M viewers (down 16% Y/Y).
- NBC's back-loaded games might also benefit if last week's football ratings uptick is linked to the conclusion of U.S. election season.
- Comcast today hit an all-time high of $68.72.
Thu, Nov. 17, 12:18 PM
- In no surprise, the list is dominated by the ripping financial sector:
- Allstate (ALL +1.4%)
- Ameriprise (AMP +0.2%)
- TD Ameritrade (AMTD +1.6%)
- BB&T (BBT +2.1%)
- Citigroup (C +2.4%)
- Citizens Financial (CFG +2%)
- Comerica (CMA +1.5%)
- CNA Financial (CNA +0.6%)
- Loews Corp. (L +0.9%)
- Marsh & McLennan (MMC +1.9%)
- PNC Financial (PNC +2.6%)
- Royal Bank of Canada (RY +0.7%)
- U.S. Bancorp (USB +1.9%)
- Aetna (AET +1.5%)
- Best Buy (BBY +10.4%)
- CBS (CBS +0.6%)
- Celanese (CE +0.1%)
- Comcast (CMCSA +1.5%)
- Dell Technologies (DVMT +1.1%)
- The Gap (GPS +0.4%)
- Humana (HUM +1.4%)
- KLA-Tencor (KLAC +2.7%)
- Liberty Media (LMCA +1.6%)
- Lam Research (LRCX +1.9%)
- Micron (MU +5.3%)
- Nvidia (NVDA +2.7%)
- Rockwell (ROK -0.5%)
- Teck Resources (TCK +0.5%)
- Texas Instruments (TXN +1.1%)
- New lows:
- Novo Nordisk (NVO +0.3%)
Wed, Nov. 16, 6:44 PM
- Meet the new bundles; same as the old bundles? A report from Digitalsmiths (now a research arm of TiVo) says that in an a la carte scenario for picking TV channels, the most desirable would be ABC, CBS and NBC in that order.
- Of 78% of respondents who would go for a TV package where they chose their own channels, 70.7% chose ABC (DIS +1.5%); 70.1% went for CBS (CBS +0.3%); and 65.5% for NBC (CMCSA +0.7%). Those were followed by Discovery Channel (DISCA -0.6%; 62.1%) and History Channel (A&E, 59.7%). Only 56% would go for Fox (FOX +0.3%, FOXA +0.3%).
- Respondents were unsurprisingly stingy with what they might pay for buffet-style TV, though: an average of about $1.50 for most of the channels in the top 10 (with PBS leading those, at $1.74). In sum, a combination of the top 10 channels in the survey would be worth $15.30 to viewers -- well under what they would charge as solo over-the-top operations.
Wed, Nov. 16, 3:31 PM
- With Donald Trump set to take over the White House, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to reform the pay TV set-top box market is "95% dead," according to one analyst.
- Wheeler's proposal to kill off the boxes met with opposition from the industry even after it was modified to be much closer to pay TV providers' app-focused approach. The FCC said the market for the boxes sat at $20B a year and that the cost of renting them had gone up 185% since 1994, while other consumer electronics dropped 90% in price over that period.
- "I would say it's 95 percent dead," said Bloomberg Intelligence's Matthew Schettenhelm. "It's a very long road to get this done.”
- House Republicans have asked Wheeler to focus on the ongoing broadcast incentive spectrum auction, and not to move forward with “complex and controversial items that the new Congress and Administration will have an interest in reviewing."
- That includes an open item on Business Data Services as well, not to mention lengthy reviews ahead for AT&T/Time Warner and Level 3/CenturyLink deals.
- Public Knowledge's Chris Lewis says it's too early to hold a funeral: "We don't know what Trump thinks about set-top boxes."
- Pay TV players: CMCSA, CHTR, CVC/OTCPK:OTCPK:ATCEY, T, DISH, VZ, FTR, CTL
- Previously: FCC pulls set-top box vote from today's meeting agenda (Sep. 29 2016)
Tue, Nov. 15, 11:42 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is launching two new Hispanic networks in January, after evaluating dozens of proposals.
- The company has chosen Primo TV and Kids Central for the launch, two networks promising family programming targeted to bicultural Hispanic youth.
- Kids Central, owned and operated by Condista Networks, is English-language and aiming at viewers ages 3-7, with an expanded audience in prime time targeted at whole families. It will also have Spanish language video as part of its on-demand content.
- Primo TV, meanwhile, is also English-language and targeted viewers ages 6-16. It's owned by V-Me Media.
- Comcast carries more than 160 independent networks. In 2011, as part of the terms of its NBCUniversal purchase, it promised to launch 10 new independently owned and operated networks (eight of them minority-owned) by 2019; the two new networks will be the sixth and seventh in that count.
Mon, Nov. 14, 5:36 PM
- With a seemingly interminable U.S. election finally over, is America ready for some football?
- In a season marked by across-the-board ratings declines, Fox's (FOX +1.2%, FOXA +1.4%) broadcast of the Dallas Cowboys-Pittsburgh Steelers game drew the highest rating of any NFL game this season -- a 17.8 overnight rating.
- Meanwhile, NBC (CMCSA +1.2%) got a 14.3 rating for its night game matching the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the highest for any prime-time game since opening weekend. While discussion abounds about what's affecting ratings, the ratings draw of these two matchups can't be ignored.
- Overall, ratings are down about 14%. Before Sunday's games, NBC's ratings have been down 18% and Fox's about 4%.
Mon, Nov. 14, 2:25 PM
- Doctor Strange is piling on to Disney's (DIS +0.4%) record studio 2016, repeating atop the box office for the second week with fairly strong legs and $43M.
- The Marvel film outgrossed the $35M from Trolls (FOX +1.1%, FOXA +1%) and brought its domestic total to $153M and a robust worldwide gross of $492.6M. Trolls held up strong in its follow-up week, dropping just 25% W/W. Overall, the box-office weekend was up 56% Y/Y, according to Box Office Mojo.
- Paramount's sci-fi film Arrival (VIA +1.3%, VIAB +1%) made the strongest debut, coming in third with $24M, easily surpassing Universal's Almost Christmas (CMCSA +1.7%), with $15.6M.
- Disney now has its best year ever at the domestic box office, with $2.3B surpassing the previous high from last year.
Thu, Nov. 10, 6:56 PM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA +2.6%) is in discussions to take a stake in European broadcaster Euronews, and Euronews chief Michael Peters has been tasked with getting an agreement by year's end, Reuters says.
- That stake would likely be 15-30%, sources said. Control of Euronews -- originally conceived by state-owned continental channels as a "European CNN" -- would still rest with Egyptian billionare Naguib Sawiris, who holds 53%.
- The move could give NBC News a foothold in Europe even as it works to strengthen Euronews' offerings.
Wed, Nov. 9, 11:34 AM
- While Time Warner is trading lower as investors digest a slimmer chance of a buyout by AT&T under a Trump administration, Sprint (NYSE:S) -- a company long thought to again become a merger prospect after a change in the White House -- is up 12.5% and hitting two-year highs today.
- Its oft-discussed merger matchup partner, T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is up 3.8%.
- Meanwhile, changes are likely coming to the FCC, Wells Fargo argues: It will at least be more conservative, if not working under new leadership soon; expecting Chairman Tom Wheeler to stay a full term is "no longer realistic."
- "If the rhetoric of those surrounding Trump’s campaign rings true, we can expect a Republican FCC to make a big push to roll back some of the regulations put in place under President Obama such as the Title II/Net Neutrality rules," writes analyst Jennifer Fritzsche. "There may also be a push to roll back some or all of what the FCC just did on privacy."
- "It’s unclear whether Chairman Wheeler will be able to act on the open items related to Business Data Services or set top box reform before he departs and if he does not, some suggest a Republican FCC will reverse course on these two items. There is also a big question on how a Trump FCC will view transactions including the recently announced T/TWX merger and the LVLT/CTL transaction."
- LVLT +0.4%; CTL +0.5%. TWX -1%. Names tied to net neutrality: T, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, OTCPK:ATCEY, CTL, FTR, CCOI, DISH.
Mon, Nov. 7, 7:34 PM
- Doctor Strange (DIS +2.1%) lit up a sleepy fall box office, drawing a Marvel-esque $85M to finish No. 1 against a surprisingly strong debut from animated film Trolls (FOX +1.9%, FOXA +1.7%).
- Disney's film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character, had already played strong in its overseas opening, and has now added $240.7M foreign box office to make a worldwide total of $325.8M.
- Its strength also has pushed Walt Disney Studios past the $6B global box-office mark for the first time.
- Trolls -- distributed by Fox and made by DreamWorks Animation (CMCSA +1.4%) -- grossed $46.6M domestically along with a worldwide total of $151.4M.
- A third debut, Mel Gibson's war drama Hacksaw Ridge (LGF +7.6%), drew $15.2M after rolling out in about three-fourths as many theaters as Doctor Strange and Trolls, slotting it at No. 3 ahead of Boo! A Madea Halloween (also LGF, and grossing $7.7M).
Mon, Nov. 7, 12:31 PM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA +1%) has signed a deal to be the exclusive U.S. seller of ad inventory on Apple's News app.
- That gives access to a massive user base, with more than 70M active monthly users of the News app and a pre-installation on all iOS devices. And NBCU will take some portion of the 30% cut from ad sales that usually went to Apple.
- Apple will get out of the business of selling ads on that product. And while NBCU is taking over aggregate sales, individual publishers will still be able to sell their own ads (and keep all the revenue) alongside content they produce, and opt out of the program.
- NBCU will create a dedicated sales group for the effort, led by senior VP James Kreckler.
Fri, Nov. 4, 11:24 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA +0.3%) is set to bring Netflix (NFLX +0.8%) to millions of set-top boxes next week with a launch of the streaming service on its X1 platform.
- Netflix's service will be integrated throughout the platform, meaning customers will be able to search and browser programming alongside live and on demand programs through their Xfinity TV subscription, Comcast says.
- A user can search for an actor and see everything that actor's in, whether on Netflix or on its Xfinity live/on-demand programs. And they'll be able to launch the app by saying "Netflix" into their X1 voice remote.
- The move should provide a vector for new Netflix customers as well, since they can sign up directly through the box and have it added to their Comcast bill.