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  • Tue, Nov. 1, 12:20 PM
    • The battle for the live-TV streaming audience is heating up as Hulu signs deals with Fox (FOX -1.1%, FOXA -0.6%) and Disney (DIS -0.4%) to incorporate dozens of networks into its upcoming service.
    • Fox and Disney are part of the co-ownership group at Hulu, of course, along with NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.6%) and Time Warner (TWX -0.7%). The new deals mean that Hulu's service will include Disney's nets (particularly including ESPN live and on demand, as well as others in the Disney/ABC group) and Fox's entertainment, news, sports and nonfiction services.
    • While early streaming-TV efforts (from Sling TV (DISH -1%) and Sony (SNE -2.2%)) looked more like "skinny bundling," lately the bundles are looking fatter. Hulu's adding dozens of networks, and AT&T's (T -0.7%) DirecTV Now (launching this month) is promising more than 100 channels for $35/month.
    | Tue, Nov. 1, 12:20 PM | 16 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 31, 5:04 PM
    • Nielsen (NLSN +0.8%) has pulled for a recount data it released last weekend suggesting that cable networks, particularly ESPN (DIS -1.2%), had suffered dramatic declines in subscribers.
    • That comes after complaints from clients (particularly ESPN, which Nielsen reported saw record losses of 621,000 subscribers in its most recent month).
    • “Nielsen is investigating a larger than usual change in the November 2016 Cable Network Coverage Area Household and Persons Universe Estimates (versus the prior month)," the ratings firm said. "We take the accuracy of our data very seriously and are conducting a thorough analysis to determine whether or not there is an issue with these estimates. We are working closely with our clients and will update them as soon as the analysis is complete.”
    • ESPN said it fired back at Nielsen "in light of their demonstrated failures over the years to accurately provide subscriber data." Among other issues, ESPN suggested that Nielsen isn't properly counting subs from "virtual" MVPDs like Sling TV or PlayStation Vue.
    | Mon, Oct. 31, 5:04 PM | 20 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 31, 3:26 PM
    • Tyler Perry continued to rack up scary sums as Boo! A Madea Halloween (LGF +1.6%) held the weekend's box-office crown against a disappointing home debut in Tom Hanks' Dan Brown film series.
    • Inferno (SNE -0.8%), the follow-up to 2006's The Da Vinci Code and 2009's Angels & Demons, drew just $15M to finish No. 2 against Madea's $16.7M. That's well off the $77M The Da Vinci Code opened with domestically, but Inferno has already drawn $132.7M from international openings.
    • Similarly, Doctor Strange -- the latest entry in the Marvel (DIS -1.2%) Cinematic Universe -- won't open in the U.S. until Friday, but drew $86M in overseas openings.
    • Rounding out the top five films: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (VIA flat, VIAB -0.3%) was No. 3 with $9.6M; The Accountant (TWX +1.2%) No. 4 with $8.48M; and Ouija: Origin of Evil (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fifth with $7.1M.
    | Mon, Oct. 31, 3:26 PM | 5 Comments
  • Sat, Oct. 29, 6:01 PM
    • According to Nielsen's most recent numbers, ESPN (NYSE:DIS) lost another 621K subscribers in October; the worst in its existence as a cable company.
    • Generally, ESPN has been losing about 300K subscribers/month.
    • ESPN is on track to spend $7.3B in rights fees in 2017. Given its shrinking subscriber base, it may be difficult for ESPN to continue to license the most expensive content.
    • Source
    | Sat, Oct. 29, 6:01 PM | 137 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 27, 9:47 AM
    • There's some mind-blowing numbers out on e-commerce as part of the 2016 Adobe holiday season forecast.
    • E-commerce sales are expected to increase 11% this year to $91.6B. Though the pace is slower than what was seen in some recent years, it still triples the overall growth rate in retail.
    • Cyber Monday is set to be the largest online shopping day of all time, with $3.36B in sales anticipated.
    • Large retailers are seen outpacing smaller retailers by a wide margin, 17% growth vs. 7% growth. That means more market share for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), Best (NYSE:BBY) and Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) in comparison to chains which already have a harder time leveraging their shipping costs.
    • Adobe says hot gifts this year will include virtual reality devices, Pokemon, Barbie, Lego, Hot Wheels and Frozen toys.
    • A stretching out of the holiday season from early October until past Christmas could help FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and UPS (NYSE:UPS) manage the logistics more efficiently.
    • Related stocks: SNE, HAS, MAT, NILE, EBAY, DIS.
    • Related ETFs: IBUY, XRT.
    • Full Adobe report
    | Thu, Oct. 27, 9:47 AM | 16 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 26, 3:02 PM
    • Walt Disney (DIS +1%) is swapping a pair of animated release dates.
    • Pixar's accelerating its release schedule for The Incredibles 2, which is moving up to June 15, 2018.
    • That was the original timetable for Toy Story 4, which will trade dates and now come out June 21, 2019.
    • The Incredibles, about a family of superheroes, grossed $261.4M domestically and $633M worldwide for Disney in 2004. Meanwhile, the three-film Toy Story franchise has been a juggernaut, grossing a combined $883.4M in theaters domestically since the 1995 debut, and $1.97B worldwide.
    | Wed, Oct. 26, 3:02 PM | 4 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 25, 7:38 PM
    • On a week where AMC's (AMCX +4.1%) The Walking Dead returned to action and nearly bested NFL football, CBS (CBS -0.6%) did what it does, and led prime-time ratings again.
    • The network came in first for the week with an average of 9.9M viewers, ahead of NBC (CMCSA -0.7%) with 7.7M. ABC (DIS -0.7%) averaged 5.4M viewers and Fox (FOX, FOXA) 3.1M. NBC led the coveted 18-49 demographic.
    • In cable, Fox News was the leader again, with 3.21M viewers, ahead of AMC's zombie-boosted 2.172M and CNN's (TWX +0.5%) 2.169M. ESPN fell in fourth place with 2.14M viewers, ahead of MSNBC's 1.78M.
    • Among individual programs, The Walking Dead's 17M was only topped by NBC's broadcast of the Seattle Seahawks-Arizona Cardinals game (17.7M). Rounding out the next five programs, it was all CBS: 60 Minutes, with 15.99M; NCIS, with 14.77M; Chicago at Green Bay football, 14.2M; The Big Bang Theory, 14.2M; Bull, 12.3M.
    | Tue, Oct. 25, 7:38 PM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 24, 6:59 PM
    • After some long prep, Nielsen (NLSN +0.6%) is finally ready to measure out-of-home viewing, tapping some previously invisible ratings from viewership in public places, including restaurants, bars, airports and waiting rooms.
    • The company will use its Portable People Meter to measure viewing from panelists wherever they go, and combine that with its National TV ratings panel for in-home viewing. It's a stand-along service for the moment, with plans to integrated it directly into national TV ratings in the future.
    • Nielsen will offer both program and commercial ratings for live through Live+7 days. Based on more than 75,000 Portable People Meter panelists, the company will be able to project out-of-home viewing for more than half the U.S. population.
    • The service should launch in April with data back to January, while data back to September 2016 should be added shortly after launch.
    • News like this could be a boon for key providers of major-event sports broadcasting, which often gets significant viewership at bars and restaurants: ESPN (NYSE:DIS), Fox (FOX, FOXA), and Turner (NYSE:TWX) among others like CBS (NYSE:CBS) and NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA).
    | Mon, Oct. 24, 6:59 PM | 13 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 21, 5:23 PM
    • AT&T's (T -3%) interest in Time Warner (TWX +7.8%) progressed quickly from "had talks" to "advanced talks" and now a deal could be set by Monday -- which Bloomberg says is due to a sped-up timetable caused by Bloomberg's initial report.
    • That's because AT&T is said to be concerned that the publicity could allow other interested suitors like Apple (AAPL -0.4%) or Alphabet (GOOG +0.3%, GOOGL +0.3%) to jump in -- and indeed Apple is said to be monitoring the deal talks, after it made its own approach to Time Warner a few months ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Those talks involved execs under Apple chief Tim Cook and didn't get beyond a preliminary stage. A source tells the WSJ that Google doesn't look interested in an offer for Time Warner.
    • But the story of the deal points out just how much behind-the-scenes strategic talk is going on in the media/telecom spaces, as companies vie to be among the new leaders in an upended, converged digital media climate.
    • Sumner Redstone was said to be considering not only the merger of CBS (CBS +2.1%) and Viacom (VIA +2.7%, VIAB +2.8%) that he's already pushing for, but also to combine that entity with Time Warner.
    • Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA -0.5%) could join another company to get involved, the WSJ says, though that makes more sense if Time Warner's open to being parted out.
    • Unlikely to join in this time: Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX +2.2%, FOXA +2.2%), whose own pursuit of Time Warner failed in 2014 at $85/share, and Walt Disney (DIS +1.1%).
    • Previously: Time Warner at 15-year highs on merger talk; media companies rise (Oct. 21 2016)
    | Fri, Oct. 21, 5:23 PM | 64 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 3:17 PM
    • TV ratings for the third (and, to the relief of many, final) presidential debate came in on par with the second showdown, though still short of the first-debate record.
    • Across 11 networks measured by Nielsen, 68.76M viewers watched -- close to the 69M that viewed the second debate, but without PBS factored in yet, which could push past debate 2. This was the first presidential debate that didn't run against pro football competition.
    • Among broadcast networks (where the big four totaled 38.1M viewers), ABC (NYSE:DIS) led with 11M, followed by NBC (CMCSA -0.9%) with 10.4M, CBS (CBS +0.8%) with 10.1M, and Fox (FOX -0.7%, FOXA -0.1%) with 6.6M. Univision (Pending:UVN) and Telemundo added 2.4M and 1.5M respectively.
    • In cable, Fox News was the one on top, with 11.3M, best among all networks. CNN (TWX +0.4%) drew 8.7M, and MSNBC 5.5M.
    • Updated: Final numbers came in at 71.5M viewers, surpassing the second debate's 69M, but well short of the record 84.4M who viewed the first debate.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 3:17 PM | 19 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 20, 2:44 PM
    • NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.9%) is in talks with YouTube about joining the latter's burgeoning live TV streaming service set to debut next year, says The Hollywood Reporter.
    • Competitors among the big four broadcast networks were already reportedly in discussion to be part of Unplugged, as the service will be called. CBS (CBS +0.7%) has a definitive deal to be part; Disney/ABC (DIS -0.1%) and Fox (FOX -0.7%, FOXA -0.1%) are close to distribution deals as well.
    • NBCU would bring broadcast NBC and likely its cable channels, including USA Network, Bravo and Syfy among others.
    • CBS -- which runs its own streaming live service (CBS All Access, at $5.99/month or $9.99/month) -- reportedly sought a rate between the $2/subscriber it gets from cablecos and the $5.99 for All Access.
    | Thu, Oct. 20, 2:44 PM
  • Wed, Oct. 19, 2:51 PM
    • A new TV service from Google (GOOG +0.8%, GOOGL +0.6%) is likely to come in early 2017 after the company reached a carriage deal with CBS (CBS +0.7%) and is near distribution deals with Disney (DIS +0.6%) and Fox (FOX +0.8%, FOXA +0.4%) as well, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Reportedly called "Unplugged," the service would target cost-conscious viewers with a "skinny" bundle of live channels at $25-$40 per month, sources told the paper.
    • While it would be housed on Google's YouTube infrastructure, it would be separate from the existing ad-free YouTube Red subscription offering, though a curated part of Red would be part of the Unplugged bundle.
    • The bold move (with deals coming more rapidly than Apple's progress into TV) comes ahead of a planned live service from Hulu (CMCSA +0.2%, DIS, FOX, FOXA, TWX -0.1%) as well as AT&T's (T +0.2%) DirecTV Now offering arriving later this year (likely at $50/month or more), and enters a skinny space that already holds Sling TV (DISH +1.4%).
    • Updated 3:48 p.m.: Viacom (VIA +0.3%, VIAB +0.8%), home of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET, is also in advanced talks to join the service.
    • Wall Street Journal report
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 2:51 PM | 35 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 19, 2:38 PM
    • Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has reached a deal with CBS (NYSE:CBS) on a planned Web TV service -- and the search giant is also in advanced talks with Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) to join, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
    • The service would be housed on Google's YouTube, which has made inroads this year on live-streaming as well as subscription offerings, including ad-free product YouTube Red.
    • The move comes slightly ahead of an expected late-2016 launch from AT&T (NYSE:T) of its DirecTV Now streaming service. AT&T chief Randall Stephenson has said that service would be "very, very" aggressively priced; most analysts expect an offering around $50 a month or as much as $60/month.
    • AT&T (T) makes a dip down, now up just 0.3% on the day.
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 2:38 PM | 30 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 7:23 PM
    • DreamWorks Animation, now a part of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), has settled a suit filed by animators for the sum of $50M.
    • The suit was the latest one claiming a "gentleman's agreement" between major animation studios was actually an illegal anti-poaching deal -- and the latest one to result in a settlement as the suits proceed toward trial. Sony and blue Sky offered settlement in similar suits, for a combined $19M.
    • According to a court filing, the $50M is about 39.3% of the damages that a plaintiffs' expert attributed to DreamWorks Animation.
    • Still unsettled: Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), who with DreamWorks had filed for interlocutory appeal this summer but got denied in August.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 7:23 PM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 7:15 PM
    • There was no presidential debate in the way this time. Sunday Night Football on NBC (CMCSA -0.2%), usually a reliable ratings horse, posted its smallest audience in five years.
    • NBC drew 13.6M viewers (to a not-quite-prime matchup of Indianapolis and Houston), good enough for just the fifth-highest-rated program of the week vs. a usual near-top spot. The new numbers are piling in to a debate about what's happening to football, with an across-the-board ratings decline worrying the wide number of companies and advertisers that count on heavy viewership.
    • A week ago, with 66.5M viewers watching Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go at it, Sunday Night Football drew 14.84M viewers (a 26% drop).
    • The Thursday Night Football game on CBS (CBS -0.5%) slotted in a bit higher as the third-most-watched program, with 14.49M. No. 1: The O.T. on Fox (FOX +1.1%, FOXA +1.1%) with 15.38M, followed by NCIS on CBS with $14.77M, and The Big Bang Theory on CBS at No. 4 with 14.41M.
    • For the week in prime-time, CBS was No. 1 with 9.1M viewers on average; NBC had 7.2M; ABC (DIS +0.4%) had 5.8M, ahead of Fox's 5.1M. In cable prime-time: Fox News led with 2.44M on average, followed by TBS (TWX +0.9%) at 2.23M and ESPN with 1.99M.
    • After hours: CMCSA -1.3%.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 7:15 PM | 82 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 4:47 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) decided against buying Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) partly due to concerns that the hate speech that's rampant on the social network would undermine Disney's family friendly image, Bloomberg reports.
    • Another reason is that although Twitter has a market cap of almost $12B, it continues to lose money, which brought out some of Disney's largest investors in opposition to a deal.
    • Other potential suitors to end their interest in Twitter were Salesforce and Google.
    • Previous
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 4:47 AM | 60 Comments