Mon, Feb. 1, 3:24 AM
- Just how much longer should cord-cutters be able to watch episodes from the current seasons of TV shows on Hulu (CMCSA, FOX/FOXA, DIS)?
- That is one question that has emerged in negotiations between media giant Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) and Hulu, which have been heating up lately, according to WSJ.
- The two sides have been in talks since late last year about Time Warner buying into the streaming site as a part-owner.
Fri, Jan. 29, 11:22 AM
- A Trumpless debate resulted in the second-smallest TV ratings of the Republican debate cycle, though Fox News (FOX +1.5%, FOXA +1.7%) will be pointing to the fact that it still beat rivals' coverage of Trump's counter-debate rally.
- Last night's debate was seen by 11M-13M viewers, an 8.4 rating -- beating only last month's Fox Business debate among the GOP tilts (which, to be fair, have all been heavy in traditional terms). Fox News' first debate in August drew a crush of nearly 24M viewers.
- Even with Trump skipping, Fox easily beat coverage provided by CNN (TWX +0.6%) and MSNBC (CMCSA +1.8%) of Trump's veterans' rally, and had structured ad deals such that the Donald's absence wouldn't sting the pocketbook.
- Updated 12:45 p.m.: Final numbers show 12.5M viewers for the debate between 9 and 11 p.m. ET, while CNN and MSNBC had about 2.7M viewers combined.
Thu, Jan. 28, 3:49 PM
- Fox News (FOX -1.4%, FOXA -1.6%) scored a ratings coup last summer when it drew the highest viewership ever to a primary debate in the first GOP debate, with the help of poll leader Donald Trump.
- As the channel prepared to show its second debate tonight, Trump's reignited feud with Fox News and withdrawal threatened to dampen those ratings -- and in fresh news, CNN (TWX -2.1%) and MSNBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) plan to cover at least some of Trump's competing event tonight.
- MSNBC says it will cover a speech by Trump in the 9 p.m. hour, Variety's Brian Steinberg says, while CNN might treat it as a live news event.
- Previously: Fox debate draws crush of 24M viewers; Stewart gets 3.5M for finale (Aug. 07 2015)
Tue, Jan. 26, 2:41 PM
- In cable ratings, Fox News (FOX +2.9%, FOXA +2.6%) has reclaimed its crown following a newsy event to cover: Winter Storm Jonas hitting the East Coast.
- The network averaged 2.1M viewers to lead cable nets for the second week out of three this year, just ahead of HGTV (SNI +2.7%), with 1.7M on average. Third place was split between USA Network (CMCSA +1.1%) and TBS (TWX +1.8%).
- Fox News also led on a 24-hour basis (with real help from the storm, as all-day ratings can be dominated by children's programming). In the adults 18-49 demographic, TBS was the leader.
- The top two single programs were nabbed by Discovery (DISCA +4.2%) -- Gold Rush with 4.5M viewers, and Alaska: The Last Frontier with 3.7M, just ahead of USA's 8 p.m. hour of WWE Monday Night Raw.
Thu, Jan. 21, 4:12 PM
- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) logged another of its winning 2016 days, up 0.8%, while Albert Fried's Rich Tullo says the company is set to beat Street expectations.
- Affiliate fees can boost Turner, he suggests: The broadcaster will see a "modest return to growth driven by 'low teens' escalating affiliate fees, a modest rebound in scatter market ad rates, programmatic advertising and new programming investment."
- And a heavy investment in DC comic properties could result in some more billion-dollar franchises for Warner Bros. "We expect Time Warner to roll out the Justice League, the DC Villains, and a Harry Potter companion series -– Fantastic Beasts," he writes. "We are most optimistic about DC Villains as fans seem to love: The Joker, The Penguin, Harley Quinn and Bane."
- Albert Fried has an Overweight rating and a $90 price target, implying 29.5% upside from today's close. That's after TWX has posted YTD gains of 7.8%.
Thu, Jan. 21, 1:23 PM
- European pay-TV firm Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY -1.1%) has struck a blow against streaming rivals with an exclusive deal to license the entire content library of Showtime (CBS +5.5%) across all its territories.
- It's Showtime's biggest international deal, and adds to a similar arrangement Sky has with HBO (TWX +2%).
- Netflix (NFLX -2.7%) missed out on the deal by only wanting a portion of Showtime's programming, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
- Sky distributes programming across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy -- and the consolidation of its British, German and Italian units has given it stronger bargaining power. It had previously licensed programs on a one-off basis, and territory by territory.
Wed, Jan. 20, 2:49 PM
- Star Wars: Episode VIII, the storyline follow-up to The Force Awakens, has gotten seven more months to work, as Walt Disney (DIS -1.8%) has delayed its release to Dec. 15, 2017.
- The film had been set to open May 26, 2017, where it was expected to try to take share from a Terminator: Genisys sequel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
- Its new date puts it up against Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One (NYSE:TWX) -- though of course the further away the date, the fuzzier the exact release expectations.
- Disney hasn't suggested that any troubles are contributing to the delay, pointing instead to the success of The Force Awakens' schedule: "In the popular holiday moviegoing corridor, it smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time as well as the biggest domestic second and third weekends, en route to becoming the highest grossing domestic release of all time with over $861M and the third biggest global release ever with $1.887B."
- Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson, is scheduled to begin shooting next month in London. Johnson tweeted a video link to his feelings.
- Updated 6:01 p.m.: Disney isn't leaving the May 26 date idle, moving Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales earlier from a previous July 7, 2017, date.
Tue, Jan. 19, 6:12 PM
- The CW Network (TWX +0.2%, CBS -1.1%) -- in the middle of looking at new streaming partners as a deal with Netflix expires -- is in talks with Netflix over a new deal for the network's shows.
- Along with the company's earnings, Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos says they're trying to work a new arrangement. “We’d like to make that deal work ... It’s great programming, we have a great relationship with Warner Bros. and CBS on that deal, and we’d like to continue it.”
- Amid reports that the CW would even consider going over the top itself with a solo streaming service, Sarandos said the talks weren't behind schedule: “It’s a time honored-tradition to negotiate in the press ... So you’re seeing some of that from them.”
- After hours: CBS +2.4%.
- Previously: Bloomberg: Streaming deal expirations could prompt CW to go over-the-top (Jan. 12 2016)
- Previously: CW explores new streaming partners as Netflix deal expires (Jan. 11 2016)
Tue, Jan. 19, 4:31 PM
- Looking to take on new global ambitions from Netflix, HBO (NYSE:TWX) is planning a stand-alone streaming service for Spain, making programming available there without a pay-TV subscription.
- The move means that HBO will no longer license its shows to Spain's pay TV services, in a gamble that bigger gains are to be had from the direct service in a country with high rates of broadband-only homes.
- The network has offered a Web-only service (HBO Nordic) in Scandinavia since 2012, and it recently unveiled an offering similar to HBO Now in Colombia, planning to extend that service across Latin America.
- Business is growing faster outside the U.S. than domestically -- to 92M subscribers at the end of 2014, vs. 73M at the end of 2012. But lower charges elsewhere mean HBO gets only 20% of its revenue abroad.
Fri, Jan. 15, 12:10 PM
- Time Warner (TWX -1.6%) has joined voices in opposition to Charter's (CHTR -3.6%) proposed buyout of Time Warner Cable (TWC -2.6%), touching one of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's hot buttons: It says HBO's push into streaming could be affected.
- The company launched its direct-to-consumer version of HBO, HBO Now, last April -- setting a key anchor point in the cord-cutting debate defining media companies today.
- Time Warner's concerned about statements by Charter management suggesting the combined company "would be inclined to take action directed at programmers in response to the development of 'over the top' services with the purpose and/or effect of slowing down the development of OTT options to the detriment of consumers."
- Dish Network (DISH -3.9%) has filed actively in opposition to the merger and Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen used a meeting with FCC staffers to make the same point: The combination could "degrade" or "destroy" online video competition, which includes its Sling TV service.
- "We think the (Charter-TWC) transaction is more likely than not to be approved," wrote Bernstein's Paul de Sa, "although a rejection is not out of the question, for example, if there is significant documentary evidence of anticompetitive intent toward over-the-top (OTT) video providers as Dish alleges."
Thu, Jan. 14, 10:09 AM
- The Revenant (FOX +1%, FOXA +0.7%) and Mad Max: Fury Road (TWX -0.2%) are the big-studio story of the Oscar nominations, with 12 and 10 overall nods respectively.
- Those two earned Best Picture nominations along with The Big Short (VIA -0.7%, VIAB -0.3%); Bridge of Spies (DIS -0.5%); Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight); Fox's The Martian; Room and Spotlight.
- Among box-office successes that were largely left out: Despite becoming the highest-grossing domestic film ever, Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens was unsurprisingly skipped for Best Picture but took five technical nominations; Universal's (CMCSA +0.6%) historic earner Jurassic World (fourth-highest gross ever) received no nominations; and its $200M worldwide hit Straight Outta Compton drew only a nomination for original screenplay.
- Among big studios, Fox drew the most nominations (20, though Ridley Scott was snubbed as director of The Martian, and not counting Fox Searchlight); Disney drew 13 overall; Warner Bros. 11 (10 from Mad Max); Paramount six; Universal three.
Wed, Jan. 13, 8:01 PM
- MKM Partners likes videogames in its Media & Entertainment outlook for 2016 -- and of those companies, Electronic Arts (EA -3.4%) is its top pick, though it also has praise for peers Activision Blizzard (ATVI -6.1%) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO -3.3%) in that sector.
- MKM's joining a chorus noticing EA's strong game slate for this year, and it says the company should also benefit from continuing margin expansion, "which has been fueled by steady gross margin improvement and declining operating expenses," Eric Handler writes.
- The firm thinks EA can expand EPS growth through mobile sales of its popular game platforms and deploying excess cash in a variety of ways.
- Aside from gaming, MKM also points to Imax (IMAX -3.8%), theater operator AMC Entertainment (AMC -2.4%) and Time Warner (TWX -0.7%) as picks.
- Consumer confidence is looking good in the latter stages of the business cycle, it says, and "as a result, we believe companies best positioned to outperform this year are those in the midst of positive content cycles; and operating in more economically resistant segments, particularly video games, for which we have a very bullish outlook."
- Previously: Electronic Arts +1.4% as Piper stays upbeat (Jan. 13 2016)
- Previously: Electronic Arts launches subscription service for PC gamers (Jan. 12 2016)
- Previously: Cowen: Mobile gaming points to big quarter for EA (Jan. 07 2016)
Wed, Jan. 13, 4:58 PM
- Large-cap media stocks are set to surprise investors (positively) this earnings season, says Jefferies Group's John Janedis.
- Particularly considering the bear market in media, Q4 ad results were strong and Janedis expects that market will stay strong at least through Q2. “The stock market continues to dismiss the advertising demand on doubts related to sustainability, focusing more on sub trends and terminal values,” he says. M&A could be a catalyst in 2016 as well.
- His top picks for the sector include CBS (CBS -4.4%), Lions Gate (LGF -2.6%), Live Nation Entertainment (LYV -4.5%), Time Warner (TWX -0.6%), Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -2.5%, FOXA -2.1%) and Viacom (VIA -1.9%, VIAB -2.2%).
Wed, Jan. 13, 10:52 AM
- "We don't believe the speculation," says Wells Fargo's Marci Ryvicker. "Another day, another unsubstantiated article on the potential sale of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)."
- Her note today cast doubt on the rampant (and Murdoch-fed?) rumors of a sale or a breakup of the media giant possibly forced by Carl Icahn, chatter that may be driving the stock's YTD gains of 9.7%.
- "We don't think there is any truth to this. We have been asked for our sum-of-the-parts for TWX but honestly, it's just math -– it doesn't really matter."
- HBO's not likely headed for a spinoff, and it's hard to figure out who might buy Time Warner, she says. Amazon and Apple probably don't want all of the company, and CBS isn't likely to buy a firm 2.5 times its size; "Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -0.7%, FOXA -0.5%) keeps coming up in the press, but we don't see how FOXA uses its current equity as currency."
- Meanwhile, Lachlan Murdoch has said (briefly) that Fox wasn't in the mix; and Guggenheim has reiterated its Buy rating on TWX.
- Previously: Time Warner gains again; report has Bewkes downplaying HBO spinoff idea (Jan. 12 2016)
- Previously: Icahn denies owning any Time Warner, blames speculators' rumors (Jan. 12 2016)
Tue, Jan. 12, 8:05 PM
- With its deal with Netflix (NFLX +1.4%) expiring (alongside expirations with Hulu and station owner Tribune Media (TRCO +1.3%)), the CW Network (CBS +0.5%, TWX +2.1%) is even considering creating its own over-the-top streaming service, Bloomberg reports.
- Going over-the-top is all the rage among ratings-challenged media networks now, and the CW's two co-owners are no strangers: CBS All Access launched in late 2014 offering live and on-demand shows, and Time Warner's HBO Now launched straight to viewers in time for last spring's Game of Thrones premiere.
- The lineup of the expirations may make timing right for the CW, which is suffering about 13% lower prime-time ratings this year.
- Similar to the CBS service, the CW could offer a live feed along with a library of on-demand content. Sources said such a direct-to-consumer play is inevitable for the network and prices discussed are around $2-$4/month.
- Netflix currently has past seasons of CW programs while Hulu (CMCSA +0.3%, FOX +1.8%, FOXA +2.1%, DIS +1.5%) offers current seasons.
- Previously: CW explores new streaming partners as Netflix deal expires (Jan. 11 2016)
- Previously: Nexstar sets new long-term affiliate deal with the CW (Dec. 21 2015)
Tue, Jan. 12, 2:43 PM
- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) is up 2.6%, raising it past a 10% gain for 2016 (and further off the 52-week low of $62.94 it reached on Dec. 21). It's its seventh gain in the last eight trading days.
- With the news cycle entertaining an activist push for Time Warner to sell the company or spin off HBO, The New York Post is reporting that company CEO Jeff Bewkes held meetings with investors and dismissed the idea of splitting off parts but didn't outright reject a sale idea.
- Rupert Murdoch's Post has been ringing the bell for some kind of action on TWX, with reports highlighting activist pressures and saying loyal TWX investors are behind a sale -- and certainly the noise could help Fox (FOX +1.4%, FOXA +1.9%) if it's angling for another run at Time Warner after its failed 2014 bid for the company. Chatter last week that Fox had a new $105/share bid was categorically denied by Fox.
Time Warner, Inc. is a media and entertainment company. It operates through three segments: Turner, Home Box office and Warner Bros. The Turner segment consisting principally of cable networks and digital media properties. The Home Box Office segment principally consisting of premium pay... More
Industry: Entertainment - Diversified
Country: United States
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