Wed, Nov. 4, 11:16 AM
- Cable TV networks are sinking in reaction to sharply lowered guidance from Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which is using its conference call to lower expectations for ratings and subscribers in 2016.
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) was positive earlier but has tumbled 2.6%; Twenty-First Century Fox is off (FOX -4.6%, FOXA -4.9%); Viacom has sunk (VIA -5.2%, VIAB -6.2%); Discovery Communications as well (DISCA -4.3%).
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) is off 3.5% and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) down 2.1%.
- Time Warner is now -10% in reaction to its conference call, still ongoing.
- Previously: Time Warner dives 7.9%, cutting 2016 outlook on call (Nov. 04 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner -0.7% early after Q3 beats on strength at HBO, Warner Bros. (Nov. 04 2015)
Fri, Oct. 30, 12:27 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is off 10% following its Q3 earnings miss yesterday as analysts come in with downgrades and price target cuts.
- Credit Agricole and CLSA lowered ratings by a few notches, setting shares to Underperform from a previous Buy rating.
- Meanwhile, FBR lowered its price target to $40, from $44, and Pivotal reduced its target to $35, from $37. Shares are currently trading at $33.50.
- FBR holds an Outperform rating while Pivotal rates the stock a Hold.
- In an unusual step, Starz commented on the suit filed by former senior VP Keno Thomas (against the company, along with CEO Chris Albrecht, CRO Michael Thornton and Liberty Media) over discrimination claims tied to his firing that also includes allegations that the network wanted him to falsify revenue and subscriber numbers for the company's board.
- “Normally, we would not comment on pending litigation, and, in this instance the company has not even been served,” says a spokesperson. “However, based on reading the complaint in the press, rest assured that Starz, as well as the other defendants cited, will defend themselves vigorously against these scurrilous, unsubstantiated and offensive attacks by a disgruntled former employee.”
- Previously: Starz misses as distribution declines offset network gains (Oct. 29 2015)
Wed, Oct. 28, 2:33 PM
- It's not even Halloween yet, but Starz (STRZA +2.3%) has given an early renewal to its original series Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- The show, set to premiere on Saturday, is a follow-up to the Sam Raimi Evil Dead film series (1981-1992).
- Starz has ordered a second season of 10 episodes that will return principals, including Bruce Campbell as chainsaw-handed Ash and Lucy Lawless.
- Licensing deals are bringing Ash vs. Evil Dead to more than 100 countries/territories for a simultaneous premiere Halloween night.
Mon, Oct. 5, 5:31 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) are in advanced talks about a merger, the Los Angeles Times is reporting -- a move that's been much discussed as investors divined John Malone's intentions.
- Starz is up 1.6% after hours; LGF is up 7.5% in late trading.
- According to the sources, Lions Gate management would run a combined company but find a key role for Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.
- Earlier this year, Malone hinted at a bigger tie-up after taking a minority stake in Lions Gate via a stock swap
- An outright deal isn't the only possible outcome, the Times said; a variety of closer partnerships are part of the discussions as well.
- Previously: Report: Lions Gate was close to Starz buyout (Apr. 29 2015)
- Previously: Maffei: More might come from Malone-Lions Gate relationship (Mar. 09 2015)
- Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
Tue, Sep. 29, 5:28 PM
- In musical TV news, Starz (STRZA -1.9%) has expanded its partnership with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, executive producer of its biggest original hit, Power.
- A new two-year exclusive deal means that Jackson's G Unit Film & Television will produce new projects for the network along with keeping Jackson on to star in and produce Power.
- In other rap collaborations, ABC Family (DIS +1%) gives the go-ahead to a new series from Nicki Minaj, who like Jackson will executive produce and star in her show. It'll be based on immigration with her family from Trinidad.
Wed, Sep. 16, 10:20 AM
- With traditional pay TV subscribers on the wane, a potential purchase of Starz (STRZA +5.6%) is not the best way to spend AMC Networks' (AMCX -1.1%) "M&A powder," says Stifel Nicolaus' Benjamin Mogil.
- Adding Starz won't change AMC's affiliate positioning, he writes, though for Starz (up solidly today), the combination makes more sense as a way to accelerate a possible discussion with Lions Gate (LGF +0.9%).
- He rates AMC Networks as a Buy and Starz at Hold.
- A deal here could speed up additional consolidation in the space, writes Macquarie's Amy Yong, who holds a Neutral rating on AMCX and Outperform on STRZA.
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:42 PM
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:39 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is up 7% in after-hours trading on news that it's in talks to be acquired by AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), itself up 2.5% after hours.
- Bloomberg reported the preliminary talks, which come after a few abortive attempts by suitors to acquire Starz in the past year. “They probably ultimately need to combine with others at least from a bundler point of view, if not from an ownership point of view,” John Malone -- Starz's top individual investor -- said last week.
- An AMC deal would require the sign-off of the Dolan family, who control voting power after AMC was spun off from Cablevision four years ago.
- Starz has a market cap of $3.9B and an enterprise value that's grown to more than $5B from $4B last year, during a period when it was often linked to Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF). Shares in Starz are up 26.1% over the past 12 months.
Tue, Sep. 1, 5:41 PM
- Starz (STRZA -1.8%) has added its Starz Play service to Roku's streaming platform.
- The service is Starz's TV Everywhere offering for authenticated subscribers. It's offering Roku owners a growing slate of original programming, along with early-window films from Disney, Sony, and others.
- The move adds to Starz Play's reach; it's also available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and Chromecast, as well as iOS/Android devices.
Thu, Aug. 6, 1:01 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) is down another 5.2% today (down 13.7% in two days) amid a deepening media stock sell-off that it seems to have spurred with its Tuesday earnings report, where it took a fair chunk of time on an analyst call acknowledging subscriber losses at ESPN.
- Also off broadly at midday: CBS -3.1%; CMCSA -4%; FOXA -9.8%; VIAB -15.6%; TWX -5%; AMCX -9.6%; LGF -6.7%.
- The sell-off is affecting several companies with a cable or pay-TV component, as sub losses at ESPN -- the most valuable part of any cable bundle -- point to the effect of cord-cutting.
- Analysts are agreeing that the trend of unbundling (or skinny bundling) might threaten the long-term health of the pay TV ecosystem, which has profited from the promise of rising subscription fees from providers. That's dependent on subscriber counts that don't significantly drop off.
- A growing pile of reports this week is indicating warning signs for subscriber counts. Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) had "almost certainly the worst quarter" for satellite subscriber losses, analyst Craig Moffett noted, as it merged Sling TV subscriber growth into its overall count, masking the core number. Moffett estimates Dish lost 151K satellite TV customers in Q2.
- Subscriber losses mean lower affiliate fees. Disney said in its call "we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
- Other industry decliners: CRWN -8.9%; QVCA -5.4%; STRZA -6.1%
- Previously: Disney tumbles 8.9% after revenue miss; Iger talks ESPN again (Aug. 05 2015)
- Previously: Disney's Iger bullish on ESPN despite consumer changes, unbundling (Aug. 04 2015)
Wed, Jul. 29, 11:33 AM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) has tanked in early trading, -10.7%, after a Q2 miss on top and bottom lines mitigated by subscriber figures that grew from last year.
- Earnings of $63M were down 9% Y/Y despite operating profit that rose to $110.5M. Adjusted OIBDA was $123.4M -- like operating profit, up 5%. For Starz Networks, revenue of $333.3M was up 2%.
- Revenue breakout: Programming networks and other services, $380.3M (up 2.2%); Home video net sales, $37.4M (down 1.8%).
- The company's on track toward a goal of 75-80 episodes of original series, says CEO Chris Albrecht, bolstered by its key hit Power.
- Subscriber count of 23.5M was down slightly from Q1's 23.7M, but up from a year-ago 22M.
- Conference call to come at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Thu, Jul. 16, 2:36 PM
- Starz (STRZA +2%) is hiring Jeffrey Hirsch to head up a new area of Global Marketing and Product Planning, and he'll join the company on Monday.
- Hirsch -- formerly an executive VP and CMO of residential services at Time Warner Cable -- will oversee development of products and services for worldwide distribution, with particular focus on brand awareness as Starz develops more original programming.
- Starz will hold a conference call to discuss Q2 results on July 29 at 1 p.m. ET.
Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM
- There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
- While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
- "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
- And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
- Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
- Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
Thu, Jun. 25, 5:35 PM
Wed, Jun. 3, 4:41 PM
- A revitalized John Malone is ready to push consolidation across media firms, with his eye on content now that the Charter-Time Warner Cable wheels are in motion.
- The "bundle" is coming apart, he tells the WSJ, and as he hinted at earlier this spring, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) could play a key role in content mergers.
- “Lions Gate could buy Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and potentially other free radicals in the industry,” Malone said. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) or AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) could be targets though those agreements might be difficult.
- Malone engineered a stock-swap earlier this year between Lions Gate and Starz that put him on LGF's board in exchange for 4.51% of Starz, and Lions Gate was reportedly close to a Starz buyout before valuation concern killed the deal.
- Asked at an investor meeting about CBS and Viacom, Malone didn't announce any plans, pointing to the Sumner Redstone succession issue (Redstone controls near 80% of both companies) -- though there's wide belief that either could be for sale after Redstone's death.
- Aside from his involvement in Starz and Lions Gate, Malone also has a 29% voting stake in Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) as well as a stake in ITV (OTCPK:ITVPF), not to mention his position in the various Liberty companies. (Liberty Broadband is backing Charter in its TWC takeover.)
- After a flat day, Starz spiked 1.5% heading into the close, and Lions Gate finished the day up 1.8% as Malone's comments came to light.
Thu, Apr. 30, 12:55 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) has moved up 2.5% after a Q1 where it beat expectations solidly across the board and ramped up its original programming by the most ever.
- Operating income rose 26% to $142.5M. Adjusted OIBDA gained 23% to $155.5M.
- Subscriptions gained by 400K since the end of Q4, and are up 1.8M from a year ago. Starz has 23.7M subscribers.
- Revenue by segment: Starz Networks, $334M (up 3%); Starz Distribution, $109.7M (up 25.7%); Starz Animation, $7.3M (down 18%).
- The company says its slate of original programming this year will include 75-80 episodes of scripted series.
- Conference call at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
- Previously: Report: Lions Gate was close to Starz buyout (Apr. 29 2015)
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