Yesterday, 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
Tue, Oct. 25, 5:03 PM
- AT&T (T -0.4%) has revealed its "aggressive" price plan for new streaming service DirecTV Now: $35/month.
- Since AT&T is zero-rating data for its customers, that's the total price for the company's subscribers. Other customers will need to consider data needs if they're video-hungry.
- That gets users 100-plus premium channels for less than the typical cable bundle, and less than PlayStation Vue (SNE -0.9%), but in the ballpark of Sling TV (DISH +0.3%).
- CEO Randall Stephenson says the company aims to keep the price down through new advertising models.
- AT&T/Time Warner deal coverage
Tue, Oct. 18, 2:18 PM
- Sony Music Entertainment (SNE +2.1%) is promoting Rob Stringer to succeed Doug Morris as its chief executive officer, as Morris moves on to become chairman of the group.
- Those moves are effective in April. Stringer is chairman and CEO at the company's Columbia Records, the label representing Beyonce and Adele.
- Stringer has led Columbia to be the leading label by market share, Sony says.
Fri, Oct. 14, 10:28 AM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) began selling its PlayStation VR unit this week at a pricing point ($399) below the Facebook Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The roll-out is being closely watched to see if the product ends up as a holiday favorite.
- "Anyone who buys [a PlayStation VR unit] in the next six months already owns a PlayStation 4, so it's not necessarily going to drive that many new console sales, but it certainly extends the brand," says Digital World Research CEO P.J. McNealy.
- "New content is steadily flowing in but we have yet to see the killer app that will be necessary to make VR mainstream. We remain optimistic for VR over the long-term for both games and enterprise," notes Macquarie Capital analyst Ben Schacter.
- Estimates of VR headset sales over the next year range from 1.4M (Goldman Sachs) to below 1M, although many industry watchers say one "killer" virtual reality game could drive up demand.
- On a very positive note, GameStop's (GME) COO told TheStreet that the company is sold out of the Sony VR product in most stores.
- There's also positive reviews out from Wired and TechRadar that could help win over some consumers.
Fri, Oct. 14, 3:42 AM
- Targeting Japan and other parts of Asia, Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation unit plans to release five or six smartphone games in the year ending March 2018, its latest attempt to lure more casual gamers to its high-end gaming platform.
- Sony isn't alone. The wildly successful Pokemon Go debuted in July, and Nintendo plans to launch Super Mario Run by the end of the year.
Thu, Oct. 13, 2:28 AM
- Although sales of high-end virtual reality headsets have been slow, Sony (NYSE:SNE) will enter the market today with a cheaper product that could have a better shot at mainstream acceptance.
- Not only is the PlayStation VR, at $399, less expensive than other systems, but it is also powered by Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, which is owned by tens of millions of people.
Mon, Oct. 10, 4:01 PM
- The Girl on the Train led the box office in a weekend of mostly leftovers, grossing $24.7M for Universal/DreamWorks (CMCSA +0.7%).
- That was easily good enough to surpass last week's leader, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (FOX +1.3%, FOXA +1.4%), which fell off 48% in its second week to draw $15M. Deepwater Horizon (LGF, SNE +0.7%) slipped another spot to third, with $11.75M.
- Rounding out the top five: remake The Magnificent Seven (NYSE:SNE), with $9.2M, and Storks (TWX +0.5%), with $8.5M.
- In longer-running milestones, Sully (NYSE:TWX) has hit $113.5M domestically in its fifth week, Suicide Squad (TWX) is still throwing spare change on a big pile ($1.1M in its 10th week for a domestic total of $322.5M), and Finding Dory (DIS; still in 207 theaters in U.S.) has hit $1B in worldwide grosses.
Fri, Oct. 7, 10:32 AM
- After months of a slowdown, image sensor production is set to return to full capacity in the coming six months at Sony (SNE -0.7%) thanks to new smartphones.
- A slowdown in the phone market pushed Sony to slow production in the October-March period last year. But "The business environment for our customers is improving," says Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing President Yasuhiro Ueda, speaking at a news conference today.
- Monthly production would rise from a current 70,000 wafers to full capacity of 73,000 (excluding outsourced production). Along the way, sensor shipments from the quake-damaged Kumamoto factory have recovered to pre-disaster levels.
- The company makes sensors for clients including Apple and Samsung, though it has been diversifying its base: "Our client portfolio is getting less reliant on specific customers, as we are adding Chinese smartphone makers that are recently thriving."
Mon, Oct. 3, 3:49 PM
- In a face-off between two new films for box-office supremacy over the weekend, "peculiar" beat "disaster."
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (FOX +1.9%, FOXA +2.3%), directed by Tim Burton and based on the fantasy novel, topped domestic box office with $28.5M. That was good enough to surpass Deepwater Horizon (LGF +1.5%, SNE -0.5%), based on the 2010 oil rig explosion, the largest marine oil spill in history; it drew $20.6M.
- Roundout the top five were a pair of films from last week -- remake The Magnificent Seven (NYSE:SNE), with $15.7M, and Storks (TWX -0.3%), with $13.8M -- and Sully (NYSE:TWX), which took $8.4M.
- Tom Hanks-starring Sully brought its cumulative total over four weeks to $105.4M domestically, and $151.9M total worldwide.
Mon, Oct. 3, 12:45 PM
- Ahead of the launch of a live TV service, Hulu has cut the price of its ad-supported programming tier to $5.99/month from $7.99/month.
- That's a new-subscriber promotion that's good for one year, which could help Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOX, FOXA, TWX) fight for new subscribers with Amazon.com and Netflix, which still have their entry-level tiers at $7.99.
- Hulu's ad-free tier remains at $11.99/month, and while its live TV offering doesn't have a price or launch date yet, it's expected to come around $35/month, slightly more than core offerings from Sling TV (NASDAQ:DISH) or PlayStation Vue (NYSE:SNE).
- AT&T (NYSE:T) says its DirecTV Now streaming service will be "aggressively" priced and that the company would zero-rate data for its wireless subscribers.
Mon, Sep. 26, 5:42 PM
- Another slow weekend for films ended with a remake of The Magnificent Seven (SNE -0.4%) topping the box office by beating some animated counter-programming.
- Sony's new take on the Western grossed $34.7M to top the week's other wide debut, Storks (TWX -0.8%), which drew $21.3M. Both films edged last week's leader, Sully (NYSE:TWX), which fell to third with $13.5M. It's grossed $92.1M domestically in its three weeks of release.
- Sequel Bridget Jones's Baby (CMCSA -2%) fell off in its second weekend, dropping to No. 4 with just $4.7M.
- Storks is the second film for recently assembled Warner Animation Group, after The LEGO Movie.
- Among longer-running high grossers still in theaters: Suicide Squad (TWX) was No. 8 with $3.1M (cumulative domestic of $318.1M; worldwide total of $731.8M); Pete's Dragon (DIS -1.4%) was No. 13 with $870K (cumulative domestic of $74.2M; worldwide total of $122.4M); The Secret Life of Pets (NASDAQ:CMCSA) was No. 15 with $692K (cumulative domestic of $364.3M; worldwide total of $820.9M).
Wed, Sep. 21, 6:08 PM
- Sony (SNE +3%) is close to a major motion-picture team-up with China's Dalian Wanda Group, the ambitious owner of the world's largest group of film theaters, Deadline Hollywood says.
- Details are in flux but could include film financing (particularly for tentpole films that perform well in China) as well as marketing cooperation, the report said.
- Sony, with a spotty track record at the box office in the past couple of years, could find an easier entree to China in such a deal. Wanda is that country's largest exhibitor.
- Wanda, controlled by China's second-richest man, has made no secret of its wish to invest heavily in the movie business. It's worked on the exhibition side to buy Carmike Cinemas and combine it with AMC Entertainment Holdings, and it bought producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B earlier this year. A near-plan to buy 49% of Paramount Pictures for around $4B was squelched in the drama at Paramount owner Viacom.
- Separately, Wanda had taken stakes in Paramount franchises Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers.
Thu, Sep. 15, 6:36 PM
- Videogame sales ticked up Y/Y, rising 1% as key new game releases reversed a trend of declines, according to NPD Group.
- Spending had been falling against tough comparisons with last summer's releases. But a strong release schedule, including a new year's Madden NFL and a high-profile release in No Man's Sky, rescued August from summer doldrums.
- Overall sales rose to $573.4M as a pickup in software slightly more than offset continuing declines in hardware and accessories.
- Hardware sales continued a downward trend, coming on the cusp of a console refresh cycle at Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Those revenues fell 6% Y/Y to $178.1M.
- "The unit growth in sales for the Xbox One and the 3DS was not enough to offset the decline in spending on the PS4, Wii U and older consoles," says NPD's Sam Naji. "The decline in unit spending was also compounded by the 7 percent decline in the ARP for consoles and a 22 percent decline in the ARP for portables.”
- Videogame software spending, including digital estimates, grew 8% to $273.7M. And PC game sofware rose 18% to $14.2M. Meanwhile, accessory spending dropped 5% to $107.4M.
- In individual games (ranked by dollar sales), new releases took the spotlight: Madden NFL 17 (NASDAQ:EA) topped the chart, followed by No Man's Sky (SNE) and Deux Ex: Mankind Divided (Square Enix). Grand Theft Auto V, a cash cow at Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO), was No. 4, followed by Overwatch (NASDAQ:ATVI).
Thu, Sep. 15, 11:15 AM
- With a new high-profile series launch ahead, HBO (TWX -1%) has a deal with Sony (SNE +0.3%) bringing its streaming service and networks to PlayStation consoles.
- HBO Now, the company's $15/month streaming service, is launching on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 consoles. Alternately, HBO and Cinemax are also coming to Sony's own PlayStation Vue TV service, for an additional $15/month each.
- In the deal, those subscribers who add HBO to their PlayStation Vue service can also get programming via HBO Now using multiple devices.
- While HBO lately tends to make big distribution announcements tied to its spring Sunday-night premiere week (when it rolls out new Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep seasons), the new move comes ahead of the high-stakes debut of Westworld on Oct. 2.
Tue, Sep. 13, 1:04 PM
- Direct deals between Pandora Media (P -1.8%) and music labels -- Merlin Network, Sony Music (SNE -1.6%) and Universal Music Group (OTCPK:VIVHY -2.1%) -- should bring "enhanced subscription services" to market, the company says, an opportunity that the stock's cheerleaders have been waiting for.
- The company's headed for a $5/month radio-based product in the near term and a $10 on-demand product by year-end, says J.P. Morgan's Doug Anmuth, who reiterated an Overweight rating. "Though mgmt. didn’t comment on specific features, it indicated that the mid-tier product will have options users have requested, which we believe could include the ability to listen offline, skip tracks, & pick a limited number of songs directly," he writes. "P expects contribution margins to be in the 30-35% range (consistent w/industry economics), & that it will have multiple subscription tiers."
- The direct label deals preserve the economics of the core ad tier, says Piper Jaffray, which also reiterated its Overweight rating. The transition should "impact contribution margins near-term," but Piper expects the new functionality to "reinvigorate subscriber growth and help offset increased royalty costs," pointing to a "sizable" sub growth opportunity ahead.
- Previously: Pandora +4.2% as SunTrust's Peck upgrades to Buy (Sep. 12 2016)
Tue, Sep. 13, 8:52 AM
- Sony's (NYSE:SNE) video game division is readying not just games but also music, movies and other kinds of entertainment for its Virtual Reality headgear.
- The company's device, set to go on sale next month for about $400, is less than rival VR headsets. Oculus Rift's goes for about $600, and HTC Vive's for $800.