Seeking Alpha

Viacom Inc. (VIA)

  • Yesterday, 4:52 PM
    • Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) declares $0.40/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 2.87%
    • Payable Oct. 1; for shareholders of record Sept. 15; ex-div Sept. 11.
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Aug. 3, 1:19 PM
    • One big film question coming into August was whether Tom Cruise was too old to still carry an action movie; Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation (VIA, VIAB) answered its own way, dominating the box office with $56M domestically, including $20.3M on Friday, a first-day high for the franchise.
    • That's well ahead of $40M projections and even further ahead of another debut, the remade Vacation (NYSE:TWX), which drew $14.9M, good for second place.
    • They were followed by a series of films doing repeat business: Ant-Man (NYSE:DIS), third with $12.6M ($132.2M in three weeks); Minions (NASDAQ:CMCSA), fourth with $12.2M ($287.4M in four weeks); and Pixels (NYSE:SNE) in fifth with $10.4M ($45.6M in its two weeks).
    • Worldwide, the new M:I has hit $121M -- adding $65M internationally to its $56M domestic. The film's outperformed the franchise's previous entry, Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol by 49% in the same markets.
    • Rogue Nation is set to open in China on Sept. 8; it was the biggest international market for Ghost Protocol, with $101M in receipts.
    | Comment!
  • Fri, Jul. 31, 1:50 PM
    • Sky Italia (OTCQX:SKYAY +1.6%) has agreed to buy MTV Italia from Viacom (VIA +0.7%, VIAB +1%)
    • No financial details were disclosed. The deal, for a free-to-air MTV channel, could press market leader Mediaset as Sky begins to integrate existing MTV content with Sky Italia programming.
    • Recently, Mediaset made a deal with Vodafone to offer its pay-TV content to Vodafone Italy customers, a response to competitor Telecom Italia offering its customers Sky Italia content.
    | Comment!
  • Fri, Jul. 31, 9:15 AM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) has acquired a 50% interest in Prism TV Private Limited -- a regional network operator in India -- for 9.4B rupees (about $153M).
    • Prism TV owns and operates a number of entertainment channels, including ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Oriya and ETV Gujarati. The company has been rebranding the channels under the "Colors" mark.
    • Viacom is executing the deal through its Nickelodeon Asia Holdings unit. The remaining half of Prism TV will be held by Network18, Viacom's partner in its Viacom18 joint venture that operates 10 channels in India, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Colors.
    • "This acquisition is an important step in building on our leadership position in India, a key market in Viacom’s international growth strategy," says Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman.
    | Comment!
  • Thu, Jul. 30, 9:05 PM
    • After a Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB -0.4%) experiment to shrink theatrical release windows launched with two exhibitor partners -- AMC Theatres (AMC +4.1%) and Cineplex Entertainment (OTC:CPXGF) -- other chains are beginning to take up sides, including one giant lined up against.
    • Five other chains have signed up to show two low-budget horror films on Paramount's terms: National Amusements (owned by Sumner and Shari Redstone); Southern Theatres; Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Canada-based Landmark Cinemas; and upscale chain iPic. With the added support, about 30% of the exhibition market has signed on.
    • Meanwhile, the country's largest chain, Regal Entertainment (RGC +2.9%), says it's rejecting the plan, preferring to stick with a "traditional distribution model."
    • Paramount's idea -- to shorten the 90-day exclusive window that theatrical chains have before a film heads to other formats -- is a change to the status quo that the studio sweetens by offering to share digital revenues with participating chains.
    • “The parameters of the current proposal, both economic and structural, simply do not make sense for us given the potential risks to the long-term health of our business,” said Regal CEO Amy Miles on an earnings call today.
    • Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RLD, IMAX, RDI, MCS.
    • Previously: Paramount's release-window experiment draws praise -- and worries (Jul. 16 2015)
    • Previously: Exhibitors on watch as shorter release window to be tested (Jul. 09 2015)
    | Comment!
  • Thu, Jul. 23, 11:18 PM
    • As six Hollywood studios fell into the crosshairs of Europe's regulators -- who filed formal antitrust charges today related to pay TV access -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), for one, promised a vigorous fight.
    • Responses were more straightforward, or absent, among the other targets: NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB), Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), 20th Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX).
    • Along with Sky UK (OTCQX:SKYAY), the six are charged with creating improper licensing deals that prohibited viewers outside the UK and Ireland from accessing paid Sky programming, blocking much of Europe from watching U.S. films and TV.
    • "The impact of the commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously," said a Disney spokesperson.
    • The charges are the result of 18 months' investigation by the European Commission. They may not stop at Sky, as investigations are ongoing into pay TV providers in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Geographic limitations on digital viewing is seen to be holding back the unity of a fragmented European market.
    • The bottom line: The EU could fine companies up to 10% of global annual revenue.
    • Today: DIS -0.5%; CMCSA -3.2%; VIA -0.7%; VIAB -0.3%; SNE +2.9%; FOX -1.4%; FOXA -1.4%; TWX -1.2%; OTCQX:SKYAY -1.7%.
  • Wed, Jul. 22, 7:33 PM
    • Another ding to MTV (VIA, VIAB) after a year of ratings challenges, as programming chief Susanne Daniels is leaving the network after nearly three years there to join YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG).
    • Mina Lefevre will take over as an executive VP in charge of all scripted development and programming, and report directly to network president Stephen Friedman.
    • Daniels was charged in 2012 with refocusing the network, but has faced double-digit ratings declines for the past two years -- a problem afflicting all Viacom's networks to varying degrees.
    • At Google-owned YouTube, she'll be VP of the company's original-content pipeline. YouTube detailed its investments in original content in April, including work with Smosh, the Fine Bros. and AwesomenessTV.
    • Elsewhere, VH1 named Chris McCarthy its new general manager. McCarthy held the same position at MTV2 and Logo.
    • Previously: Viacom takes $785M writedown for restructuring (Apr. 06 2015)
    • Previously: CEO: Viacom restructuring to wrap this month, save $250M (Mar. 09 2015)
    • Previously: Viacom reportedly prepping companywide layoffs (Feb. 23 2015)
  • Thu, Jul. 16, 8:18 PM
    • Paramount Pictures' move to shorten the traditional theatrical release window for films -- by just a bit -- may be thawing relations between studios and theater chains who may be acknowledging the movie business has changed from the old way.
    • After Paramount (VIA, VIAB) made a deal with AMC Theatres (NYSE:AMC) and Cineplex Entertainment (OTC:CPXGF) to shorten the home-entertainment release window on a pair of low-budget horror films, other exhibitors called wanting in, says Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore -- a sign that the shorter windows could take off.
    • The films can head to digital platforms just 17 days after they leave most theaters, which should happen in shorter order than a usual 90-day window. In return, the theater chains will share a piece of the digital revenue that Paramount will earn from taking the films to home venues.
    • While the model likely won't work for major and tentpole releases that stay in theaters for long stretches, it's the first time that theater owners have agreed to cede turf, and it acknowledges that a smaller film might not need to stay in theaters for weeks and weeks.
    • There's still worry: A rival studio exec argued to Variety that even this move can get customers more used to skipping the theater and watching at home.
    • Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RLD, IMAX, RDI, MCS.
    • Previously: Exhibitors on watch as shorter release window to be tested (Jul. 09 2015)
    • Previously: Paramount, theater chains experiment with shorter release window (Jul. 08 2015)
    | Comment!
  • Thu, Jul. 16, 2:59 PM
    • Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU) is up 4.3% as it rolls out its mobile game based on the film Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation, which is due in theaters July 31.
    • The game, which incorporates first-person and third-person shooter elements, is free to play and features in-app products ranging from $0.99 to $99.99 per item.
    • It's part of ongoing collaboration with Paramount (VIA, VIAB). Last month, the company released a third-person shooter tied to Terminator: Genisys, which is in theaters now.
  • Mon, Jul. 13, 7:51 PM
    • Standard & Poor's has a report out comparing winners and losers in a new era of television -- largely dependent on attributes that will let them weather Internet-driven changes to things like traditional business models and bundling.
    • Naveen Sarma points to four traits for long-term success in media: "strong, well-defined brands that translate across both traditional TV and online alternatives; limited exposure to second- and third-tier cable networks; less dependence on full-sized video bundles; and willingness to let vulnerable networks fail."
    • Based on that, winners who have more of those qualities: CBS (NYSE:CBS), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS).
    • Losers who might struggle: AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB).
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Jul. 13, 3:14 PM
    • Universal (CMCSA +1%) kept its 2015 winning streak going as Minions logged the second-best animated film opening ever, drawing $115.2M at home to top the box office (and even more overseas).
    • The only animated film that opened better was 2007's Shrek the Third. It helped that Minions was literally everywhere (4,301 theaters).
    • Two other openers were swept up in the chaos. The Gallows (TWX +1.2%) drew $10M to take fifth place, and Self/less got $5.38M to take eighth.
    • The rest of the top five: Jurassic World (NASDAQ:CMCSA), $18.1M ($590.6M cumulative in five weeks); Inside Out (DIS +1.4%), $17.1M ($283.6M cumulative in four weeks); Terminator: Genisys (VIA +1%, VIAB +1.2%), $13.7M ($68.7M cumulative, two weeks).
    • Combined with $124.3M outside the U.S. this week (and a bit more from an early global rollout), Minions has made just short of $400M worldwide. It would need momentum, but a $1B global mark isn't out of the question. The film hits 11 more territories in the next two months.
  • Thu, Jul. 9, 8:54 PM
    • San Diego Comic-Con has increasingly been an annual launch pad for astronomically-budgeted films, particularly as superheroes have dominated U.S. entertainment, but so far it belongs to TV as many film franchises (particularly Marvel) sit this one out.
    • That's mainly a matter of film timing, but TV is taking advantage. Shows like Supergirl (NYSE:CBS) and Blindspot and Heroes Reborn (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are taking advantage of the fan base to tease their fall efforts, as are Minority Report and Gotham (FOX, FOXA) and Agent Carter (NYSE:DIS). (TV clips)
    • With Marvel headed into "Phase Three" of its cinematic universe in 2016, it's taking the year off. Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) and Paramount (VIA, VIAB) are sitting it out too, leaving a lot of room for DC Comics and its work with Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX), including Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. But there's still the last installment of The Hunger Games (NYSE:LGF) as well as Star Wars events to come, though Disney may hold key nuggets back until it hosts D23.
    • Comic-Con runs through Sunday.
    • Previously: With no Marvel, TWX and DC could grab Comic-Con focus (Jun. 18 2015)
    | Comment!
  • Wed, Jul. 8, 4:49 PM
    • Breaking a very long tradition, Paramount Pictures (VIA -2.8%, VIAB -3%) has gotten two theater chains to agree to a shortened theatrical window for a pair of films coming out this fall.
    • Just 17 days after the films (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) leave the theaters -- run by AMC Theatres (AMC -1.2%) and Cineplex Entertainment (OTC:CPXGF) -- they'll be available on home entertainment platforms.
    • Considering genre films like these two low-budget horror films often last just a month in theatrical exhibition, that means viewers could see them at home just six weeks after they open in theaters, vs. the traditional (and contentious) 90-day window. Exhibitors have stuck to their guns on 90 days, in order to protect in-theater viewing.
    • To get the deal, Paramount is offering the chains a percentage of digital revenue through the 90 days after release. Technically, once the number of screens showing the films drops below 300, the 17-day clock will begin to tick.
    • It's an experiment for now, but depending on which other chains Paramount can get to show the films under the new terms, it may catch on for bigger releases.
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Jul. 6, 9:03 PM
    • Comedy Central (VIA, VIAB) has soft-launched an app on Roku's platform, the latest in a steady stream of over-the-top offerings and additions coming from traditional pay-TV outlets.
    • Viewers will be able to watch the channel's key regular programs as well as stand-up specials, and while some content is "TV Everywhere" -- requiring users to log in with their pay TV account info -- other programming, including The Daily Show and The Nightly Show, will be available without a TV subscription.
    • The network had launched on other platforms previously.
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Jul. 6, 1:09 PM
    • A holiday weekend at the box office failed to produce sparks from high-profile new releases, as it was June's dinosaurs and Pixar that kept ruling the day.
    • Over the five-day holiday period, it was Inside Out (DIS +0.5%) that earned the crown with $45.3M, to $43.8M grossed by Jurassic World (CMCSA +0.2%). On the more standard three-day measure, Jurassic World edged Inside Out in preliminary numbers, $30.9M to $30.1M, to lead the box office for the fourth straight weekend.
    • That brings Inside Out to $246.2M in domestic grosses in three weeks, while Jurassic World has over $558M in four weeks to become the No. 4 domestic grosser of all time (and No. 5 globally with $1.385B).
    • Meanwhile, high-profile new entries were mild disappointments -- Terminator: Genisys (VIA -1.1%, VIAB -1.1%) earned $28.7M over three days to finish a close third, and drew $44.2M over the five-day holiday; and Magic Mike XXL (TWX -1.1%) was fourth with $11.6M in three days and $27M over five days, drawing a 96% female audience (high even considering the male-stripper subject matter).
    • Disney crossed the $3B mark globally, as Inside Out continues to cruise, and Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in its last international market, pulling $6.5M in two days in Japan. It's the sixth year that Disney has earned $3B globally, but the fast it has done so, five weeks faster than last year's record of Aug. 5.
    • Updated 6:17 p.m.: Final figures show that Inside Out prevailed both in the three-day measure ($29.8M to Jurassic World's $29.2M) and the five-day holiday figures ($45.1M to Jurassic World's $42.1M).
  • Sat, Jul. 4, 3:36 PM
    • The halfway point of 2015 has come for film studios, and fireworks are popping at Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), as its Universal Pictures continues to ring up a banner year.
    • Through last weekend, Universal leads studios in domestic grosses with just short of $1.38B. That's good for 25% market share, lifted by the runaway success of Jurassic World ($500M domestic), Furious 7 ($351M), and nicely performing Pitch Perfect 2 ($181M) and Fifty Shades of Grey ($166M).
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) recently set their own record times to the $1B domestic mark. Disney, with $1.08B domestic, has a 19.7% market share marked by Avengers: Age of Ultron ($452.5M), Cinderella ($200.3M) and Inside Out ($185M and counting), while Warner Bros., with $1.02B, has an 18.5% market share chiefly due to American Sniper ($348.8M).
    • Universal's domestic grosses are running up 138% from last year's pace at this point, while Disney's are up 37% and Warner Bros. up 16.7%.
    • Sony (SNE; $218.7M) and Paramount (VIA, VIAB; $276.6M) are working with smaller film slates so far, with just four and three films out respectively, compared to Universal's nine, Disney's seven, and Warner's 13. Fox (FOX, FOXA; $641M gross) is running fourth so far with seven films.
    • Key films ready to take their turn this summer: Paramount's Terminator: Genisys and Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation, Warner's Magic Mike XXL and Universal's Minions.
Visit Seeking Alpha's
VIA vs. ETF Alternatives
Company Description
Viacom Inc is an entertainment content company. It connects with audiences in 165 countries and territories and creates television programs, motion pictures, applications, games, consumer products, social media & other entertainment content.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States