Mon, Aug. 24, 1:32 PM
- With summer winding down, box office this weekend was down about 7% Y/Y with a lackluster set of new releases. But Universal's N.W.A picture Straight Outta Compton (NASDAQ:CMCSA) scored again, grossing $26.8M to bring its two-week total to $111.5M despite increasing press mentions charging the film with whitewashing the group's treatment of women.
- Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation (VIA, VIAB) took second place with $11.7M, bringing its four-week total to $157.8M. The new entries followed: Sinister 2 (CMCSA) in third with $10.6M; videogame convert Hitman: Agent 47 (FOX, FOXA) in fourth with $8.2M, and American Ultra (NYSE:LGF) sixth with $5.5M.
- In international markets, Terminator: Genisys (VIA, VIAB) is putting on a rebound, taking the top spot due to a big bow in China. The film has drawn just $89M domestically, but its worldwide total is $353M thanks to foreign markets. It was the fourth-best opening ever for a U.S. film in China.
- Stock movements among film producers have a heavy effect from today's market melt: CMCSA -1.5%; VIA +0.6%; VIAB -0.9%; FOX -2.2%; FOXA -1.9%; LGF -2.3%.
Thu, Aug. 20, 11:24 AM
- Viacom (VIA -3.8%, VIAB -4.2%) is joining other media stocks under pressure, as Deutsche Bank cuts its price target to $56.
- VIA closed yesterday at $43.72 and is currently trading at $42.24.
- The bank's Bryan Kraft says renewal renegotiations with Dish Network for spring 2016 are "critical" for Viacom -- with the spectre of Dish dropping Viacom content entirely.
- "DISH has low double-digit market share of the national pay-TV ecosystem, and in our view a nonrenewal is simply not an option for Viacom," Kraft says. He thinks the deal will happen, but that Dish has the upper hand in pricing power.
- "We think that even if Viacom is able to secure a DISH renewal at competitive rates, pressure coming from smaller bundles, continued weakness in traditional pay-TV subscribers, combined with the fact that stronger networks are also looking for healthy increases will likely limit Viacom's ability to achieve the top end of its long term affiliate guidance."
- Deutsche Bank anticipates 5.2% growth in Viacom's domestic affiliate revenue for fiscal 2016, followed by 5% growth -- below Viacom's management guidance.
Mon, Aug. 10, 2:26 PM
- Fox's expensive reboot of Fantastic Four might face a write-off after stumbling from the box-office gate this weekend amid bad word-of-mouth and critical reviews.
- Fox (FOX -1.4%, FOXA -0.1%) inherited the Marvel property and had hopes for a hero franchise that could rival X-Men, though the film will need a huge overseas reception to realize those dreams.
- The $26.2M it earned was below expectations of $40M, ensuring it finished second behind Paramount's Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation (VIA +2.2%, VIAB +2.5%), topping the box office with $29.4M ($108.7M in its two weeks).
- Among longer-term August players, Ant-Man (DIS +1%) earned $7.8M to bring its domestic total to $147.4M in four weeks, and Minions (CMCSA +1.3%) drew $7.4M to total $302.8M in five weeks.
Fri, Aug. 7, 6:21 PM
- A pair of cable TV numbers highlights from last night: First, coverage by Fox News (FOX +4.5%, FOXA +2.8%) of the first Republican primary debate drew a giant 24M viewers, with the help of unpredictable poll leader Donald Trump.
- That's the most-watched primary debate ever, and far more than the most-watched GOP debate of the 2012 race (7.6M viewers). Interest was high with a cavalcade of candidates (10 of the 17 declared candidates in the crowded prime-time debate) and expectations for controversy, or at least brashness, from Trump.
- The next GOP debate is set for Sept. 16 on CNN (NYSE:TWX) -- likely fervently hoping for a Trump boost.
- Meanwhile, on Comedy Central (VIA +2.6%, VIAB +3.1%), Jon Stewart's last episode of The Daily Show drew 3.5M viewers, making it the No. 2 Daily Show ever in viewer count. Only an October 2008 episode with Barack Obama drew more, with 3.6M.
- Of the 3.5M last night, 1.8M were adults 18-49. It was also the show's most social episode ever, Nielsen said, with 117K Twitter users sending 233.4K tweets about the show, seen by 4.3M people.
- The success was a double-edged sword for Viacom: A nice coup, but it highlights the challenge of replacing Stewart with Trevor Noah after Comedy Central (and Viacom nets in general) faced ratings headwinds this past season.
- Previously: Viacom faces heavy risk in late-night host replacements (Apr. 16 2015)
- Previously: Noah succeeding Stewart, taking fake news helm at Comedy Central (Mar. 30 2015)
- Previously: Is Jon Stewart worth $100M to Viacom? (Feb. 12 2015)
Fri, Aug. 7, 10:06 AM
- Viacom is rebounding (VIA +4.6%, VIAB +5%) from a rampant selloff after earnings -- VIA was down 13.3% yesterday, and VIAB down 14.2% -- amid the feeling that it may have gotten swept up in a media meltdown following profits that beat expectations despite a (somewhat predictable) revenue decline.
- Analysts are stacking up cautious notes on VIAB today. Wells Fargo has downgraded the stock to Market Perform, and deep price target cuts are coming in: RBC Capital to $62 from $73; Wunderlich to $87 from $98; Stifel Nicolaus to $70 from $89; and Topeka Capital to $57 from $73.
- One defense comes from Barclays, which sees the stock may be oversold in upgrading to Overweight, from Underweight. Viacom had the most exposure to structural media shifts, Kannan Venkateshwar explains, but "At present levels however the stock is starting to price in extreme scenarios."
- Despite the two-notch upgrade, Barclays reduced its price target to $56 from $67, implying a 20%-plus upside.
- Viacom's greatest uncertainty lies in domestic ad growth rates and affiliate fees, but the stock already reflects "decline scenarios worse than newspapers."
- In the worst case, Viacom could trade on asset value/option value instead of earnings, setting a floor for the stock, Venkateshwar writes.
- Previously: Viacom dive accelerates, down more than 17%; Paramount boosting slate (Aug. 06 2015)
- Previously: Viacom sinks after revenues miss by nearly 5% (Aug. 06 2015)
Thu, Aug. 6, 10:52 AM
- A Viacom sell-off is accelerating rapidly: VIA -17.4%; VIAB -19.1%.
- Notable in its earnings report was the fall-off in Filmed Entertainment, chiefly due to comps with last year's quarter (and its release of Transformers: Age of Extinction) and this year's Q3, which had no major release.
- On its earnings call, the company detailed that Paramount Pictures would expand its release slate in 2016, to 15 films. They included several sequels -- new follow-ups to Transformers, Jack Reacher and Zoolander among them.
- Paramount is looking forward this fall to Minority Report, its new drama coming to Fox.
- Previously: Viacom sinks after revenues miss by nearly 5% (Aug. 06 2015)
- Previously: Viacom beats by $0.02, misses on revenue (Aug. 06 2015)
Thu, Aug. 6, 9:33 AM
- Viacom is lower by far in early going (VIA -5.3%; VIAB -6.5%) as it logged fiscal Q3 results that beat on the bottom line though sales disappointed without a major film contribution from Paramount in the quarter.
- EPS of $1.47 was a record for the June quarter and was up 4%.
- Film revenue was off 44% to $479M, comparing to a year ago when it featured Transformers: Age of Extinction. The company's fourth quarter this year includes Terminator: Genisys and Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation. Home Entertainment revenues dropped 30% to $199M
- Revenue by segment: Media Networks, $2.6B (flat); Filmed Entertainment, $479M (down 44%).
- Media networks revenue was up $6M; excluding forex impacts, it was up 2% as affiliate fees were higher on rate increases.
- Debt outstanding was $13.08B at quarter's end, compared to $12.7B on Sept. 30. Cash balance was $421M, down from $1B on Sept. 30.
- Press Release
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.
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)
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%.
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, 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.
Tue, Apr. 7, 8:30 PM
- Viacom (VIAB -1.9%) hit a third rail of investing by suspending stock repurchases as part of its $785M writedown/amortization in restructuring ... but as is often the case, the company may be better off by taking its cost-savings medicine now and picking up the buyback later, Miriam Gottfried writes.
- Viacom has repurchased $15B in shares since October 2010 -- nearly 55% of its current market cap.
- Buybacks shrink outstanding shares, which boosts headline metrics, but "while Viacom will temporarily stop lowering the denominator of that calculation, the cost savings from its restructuring should bump up the numerator."
- Viacom said its new actions should provide some significant ongoing savings of $350M/year, after $175M in fiscal 2015.
- Gottfried compares Viacom's 11.2 forward P/E favorably to peers that range from 17 to 21.1.
- Previously: Viacom off 1.9% following writedown; analysts update targets (Apr. 07 2015)
Tue, Apr. 7, 10:10 AM
- There's some early volume driving Viacom (VIAB -1.9%) lower in the wake of its $785M writedown as part of its restructuring.
- While the company offered few new details on layoffs or its new structure, one telling portion was amortization based on lower revenue expectations, in "certain original programming genres that have been impacted by changing media consumption habits."
- Peter Kafka's sources saw the message there: The Internet is killing the shelf life for Viacom reality shows like Jersey Shore and others that the company purchased from others -- and may have overvalued.
- SA contributor Dana Blankenhorn sees M&A in the firm's near future. The Sumner Redstone era is coming to an end, and one way or another Blankenhorn thinks it's with a sale: "Redstone may not want to sell, but he can either find a buyer now or let his estate auction off the property at some time in the future."
- The B shares face a couple of price target changes today: Wedbush has lowered its target to $77, from $83 (with a Neutral rating), while Deutsche Bank has boosted its target to $85 (with a Buy rating). VIAB is trading at $67.30.
- Previously: Viacom takes $785M writedown for restructuring (Apr. 06 2015)
Mon, Mar. 9, 2:15 PM
- Viacom's (VIA +1.2%, VIAB +1.3%) jumped into positive ground as its restructuring should be done by month's end and bring $250M in savings, CEO Philippe Dauman says.
- Speaking at Deutsche Bank's media conference, Dauman also raised the issue of re-evaluating some programming, in the middle of a season of companywide ratings issues.
- A long-in-the-works layoff process reportedly began as the company's TV channels were realigned into two groups and cuts were reported at TV Land. MTV is reported to have cut 9% of workers.
- Despite investor chatter about Viacom reuniting with CBS, Dauman was categorical: "We have no intention of buying CBS or buying any big company ... If we see there's lot of consolidation, we'll take a look at it, but we're not going to be a consolidator."
- Dauman also denied the company would sell Paramount in whole or part to a Chinese company: "completely untrue."
- Previously: Moonves boosts CBS, dismisses merger talk again; shares rise (Mar. 02 2015)
- Previously: Viacom reportedly prepping companywide layoffs (Feb. 23 2015)
Mon, Mar. 2, 8:23 PM
- Les Moonves said on CNBC last month that CBS was "very happy being alone," and the CEO doubled down on that talk at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
- Moonves says his COO tells him that CBS will be a $100 stock in four years, so buyers or merger partners like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) or Viacom (VIA, VIAB) would have to pay "a very high price." CBS shares gained 4.5% Monday to close at $61.75.
- He also expressed little concern about smaller cable bundles or any lack of negotiating power by eschewing a merger, saying CBS will be in every bundle. "People can't live without CBS ... We like the hand we're playing."
- The company faces new negotiations with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) at the end of the year.
- Previously: AMC Networks finally looking for a deal? (Feb. 25 2015)
- Previously: Cumulus higher in late trade as CBS M&A chatter flies (Feb. 24 2015)
VIA vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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