Fri, Jan. 2, 11:54 AM
- 2014 saw a mixed performance for movie studios (LGF, CMCSA, TWX, DIS, SNI, VIA, VIAB, FOXA, DIS).
- U.S. box office -5.2% Y/Y to $10.3B. Higher ticket prices and improved in-theater spending helped offset low traffic.
- China box office +36% Y/Y to $4.77B Though the number of foreign films are capped by the government, the box office winner in the nation in 2014 was Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction. Local productions accounted for 54% of the tally. IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) had a big year.
- U.K. box office -5% to $1.73b. The Lego Movie from Warner Bros. topped the chart.
- France box office +8% to $4.77B.
- Japan +5.9% led by a stellar $249M from Disney's Frozen.
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
Dec. 30, 2014, 11:02 AM
- U.S movie admissions are down 6% to 1.259B this year to mark the lowest level of movie attendance since 1995.
- An increase in average ticket prices on the push to premium seating helped offset the decline in traffic.
- Paramount (VIA, VIAB) took in box office revenue of $1.0278B (+8% Y/Y) on 18 movies tracked to rank sixth of the studios.
- Transformers: Age of Extinction was the studio's leader at $245M, while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Interstellar both beat expectations with takes of $191M and $174M, respectively.
Dec. 24, 2014, 8:10 AM
- Media analysts expect an announcement shortly from Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) on how it plans to distribute The Interview online.
- The options for the movie studio are plentiful - including using a powerhouse tech outlet such as Google (via Google Play or YouTube), Apple, or Netflix.
- Sony-owned Crackle is also an option as is a deal with a pay-TV operator.
- What to watch: A successful online launch of the film could have some wider implications for movie studios (LGF, VIAB, VIA, TWX, DIS, FOXA) and theater chains (RGC, CKEC, AMC, CNK) with the industry's mainstream distribution model showing some signs of cracking.
Dec. 16, 2014, 1:47 PM
- The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies opened in many international markets last weekend with an impressive $122.2M haul.
- The Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) film had strong openings in Germany, France, and Brazil ahead of the U.S. debut scheduled for this weekend.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is up over $334M globally for Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) with China and Japan still untapped.
- Interstellar from Paramount (VIA, VIAB) became only the 4th film ever to top $100M at IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) theaters.
Dec. 12, 2014, 12:13 PM
- Time Warner (NYSE:TX) CEO Jeffrey Bewkes speculated on the potential for a mega-merger in the media industry yesterday during a discussion at a conference sponsored by Dealbook.
- The exec mentioned CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) as two companies that might like to combine within the sector.
- Time Warner remains very much in the M&A discussion after spurning an $85-per-share offer from 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) earlier this year.
- "I don’t want to talk about it," says Bewkes after already pointing to the elephant in the room.
Nov. 23, 2014, 8:47 PM
- Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 earned $123M in the U.S. and $275M globally in its opening weekend, according to estimates from Rentrak.
- Though the third Hunger Games installment had the strongest debut of the year in the U.S., the movie fell short of the +$150M openings of the first two HG films.
- Mockingjay's strong showing in key international territories helped make up for the U.S. shortfall.
- Shares of Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) fell 5.0% Friday as Thursday night's tally for Mockingjay tipped off a sub-$150M weekend.
- Interstellar showed some strong legs as buzz remained strong for the sci-fi mind-bender. The Paramount (VIA, VIAB) film got a boost as it stayed in most IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) theaters even with Katniss Everdeen unleashed.
Nov. 18, 2014, 9:41 PM
- Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) will begin tracking TV viewership on online subscription services in December, sources tell the WSJ.
- The technology used by Nielsen to derive the ratings measurements won't require any cooperation from streamers such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN).
- The development could help content owners compute the impact of licensing their programming and prevent them from having to negotiate in the dark.
- Related stocks: TWX, AMCX, CBS, CMCSA, DIS, FOXA, SNE, LGF, VIA, VIAB, RENT.
Nov. 16, 2014, 7:57 PM
- Interstellar had a strong second weekend at the box office, taking in $29.2M in the U.S. and $135.2M globally as positive word of mouth kept interest high.
- The Paramount (VIA, VIAB) film played in 64 territories.
- Universal's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Dumb and Dumber To was the top film in the U.S. over the weekend with a $38.1M haul, despite the uncommon 20-year lag between the original and sequel.
- Though Big Hero 6 had another solid weekend in the U.S. with $36M, the bigger news for Disney (NYSE:DIS) is that its movie business passed $4B in annual global box office receipts for only the second time in history.
- The top 12 films in the U.S. earned an estimated $135M, up 13% from the corresponding week from a year ago.
- Movie exhibitor stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX.
Nov. 14, 2014, 10:38 AM
- Dow Chemical (DOW +1%) says it "fundamentally disagrees" with the position outlined by Dan Loeb's Third Point hedge fund in its latest statement and new website, which the company says reflect the views of "an activist investor that has little interest in anything that benefits [Dow's] many long-term shareholders."
- Jim Cramer is now a fan of Dow, citing the company as an example of a buyback done right; combining Dow's $5B increase in its buyback plan with its total repurchase authorization totals ~17% of market cap.
- Cramer also sees buyback opportunities in FLEX, JACK, M, DIS, KMB, VIA, DPS and AZN.
Nov. 13, 2014, 9:35 AM
- Execs with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) made some negative comments about Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) during post-earnings commentary.
- The company says it will increase ad sales outside of the Nielsen-monitored universe after feeling an impact from missing out on some digital/streaming channels.
- The development could set up well for Rentrak (NASDAQ:RENT).
- Viacom earnings call webcast
Nov. 13, 2014, 7:47 AM| Nov. 13, 2014, 7:47 AM | Comment!
Nov. 12, 2014, 2:48 PM
Nov. 12, 2014, 10:49 AM
- There is a harsh take on TV stocks out this morning from Sanford Bernstein.
- Analyst Todd Juenger thinks the "unprecedented" declines in TV viewership amid SVOD competition will continue.
- A vicious cycle is in play where content companies sell to streamers in order to make up for lost ad revenue which only accelerates the erosion of the medium.
- "We believe ad-supported TV is in the early stages of a structural decline." says Juenger.
- Sanford on TV stocks: CBS (NYSE:CBS) price target reduced to $55, Scripps Network (NYSE:SNI) price target cut to $79, Viacom (VIA, VIAB) downgraded to Underperform from Market-perform, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) downgraded to Market-perform from Outperform.
- Related ETFs: PBS
Nov. 9, 2014, 9:52 PM
- Disney Animation's (NYSE:DIS) Big Hero 6 took in an estimated $56.2M during its opening weekend in the U.S. to outpace the debut of Interstellar from Paramount (VIA, VIAB) which also appears to have crossed the $50M level.
- Interstellar's global box office haul was $130M spread across 63 territories, while Big Hero 6 played in 18 markets to $63.8M.
- IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) showings accounted for 25% of Interstellar's box office sales and the film is expected to remain a strong draw in the format up until the premiere of the next Hobbit movie on December 17.
- Big Hero 6 is also tapped to show some legs with no major animated feature due out until November 26.
Oct. 31, 2014, 9:44 AM
- The U.S. premiere for Interstellar from Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB) is set for November 5 with expectations starting to be pushed even higher.
- Fandango and MovieTicket.com both report strong advanced ticket sales for the film, while some IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) theaters have added 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. screenings for next Wednesday.
- Hollywood insiders say the film has the potential to create a must-see-in-theater buzz after director Nolan shot the movie on film to open up the potential to see it in the striking 70mm format.
- Nolan also pleased the top brass at Paramount by coming in under the production budget of $175M by about $10M.
- Movie exhibitor stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX.
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.
Other News & PR