Jun. 21, 2014, 11:38 AM
- A decision by the Supreme Court in the case pitting Aereo against major broadcasters (CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, DIS) is expected to be announced next week. A check of the court's docket shows June 23, June 25, and June 26 as possible announcement dates.
- If Aereo wins a favorable ruling from SCOTUS rapid expansion could be on tap, even though the start-up might still face a fight on Capitol Hill and with the FCC. Investments from media giants or P-E firms could push Aereo into dreamland.
- The reaction from broadcasters to an Aereo win is hard to gauge, although the "nuclear option" of moving all content to cable has been thrown out by top execs.
- If Aereo loses the company will likely go away. CEO Chet Kanojia has dismissed talk that paying broadcasters a carriage fee was an option.
- Beyond the headline from the high court on Aereo, media attorneys will be busy looking at the nuts and bolts of the ruling. The legal precedent set in the case could guide how content is distributed and fees sliced up in the future.
- The stock to watch: CBS has been tipped by analysts as the broadcaster which could see the most volatility as the ruling is dissected. Nomura is a buyer on weakness.
Jun. 16, 2014, 10:33 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR -0.2%) and Comcast (CMCSA -0.3%) name Matthew Siegel as the new CFO of the company being spun off as a result of the merger between the cable giants.
- The new company will launch with 2.5M former Comcast customers.
- Siegel is currently the treasurer at Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.2%).
Jun. 3, 2014, 1:03 PM
- TV networks (TWX, AMCX, VIA, CMCSA, FOXA, DIS) could get a boost as advertisers weigh letting loose of the 3-day window of counting ad views to move to a broader 7-day window which falls more in line with viewer habits.
- CBS (CBS -1.1%) COO Joseph Ianniello estimates the shift could present the company a "9-digit opportunity" as ratings on hit shows are lifted dramatically. Bernstein Research puts the benefit in the tens of millions.
- Webcast of CBS at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference
May. 30, 2014, 10:27 AM
- Consumers are rapidly adapting to purchasing movies through digital channels, according to NPD.
- The growth rate for the electronic sell-through of movies is triple of that for TV EST.
- The exclusive early release window for some digital titles appears to be helping to boost demand and awareness.
- The trend is encouraging for studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) looking to capture some of the lost revenue from the lower demand for DVDs.
- Movie theater operators (CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, DCIN) might look at the development differently with their revenue share mix tilted higher the longer movies stay in a theater.
May. 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
May. 23, 2014, 7:25 AM
- Analysts project China's box office haul for this year will reach $4.49B to mark a 24.7% increase from last year's level.
- U.S. films have performed extraordinarily well in China this year, led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a $116M gross. Godzilla opens in two weeks with expectations for a smashing run.
- What to watch: The sizzling growth of China's box office will provide a significant boost to movie studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) this year, while IMAX (IMAX) continues to become entrenched in the nation.
May. 21, 2014, 2:04 PM
May. 21, 2014, 9:50 AM
- The Syfy network will debut Sharknado 2 on July 30.
- The first Sharknado film delivered staggering ratings while dominating the shark-in-a-tornado TV category. A theatrical run and merchandising brought in extra money for NBCUniversal (CMCSA).
- What to watch: Sharknado 2 will roll out in 86 different nations within a day of its U.S. debut in an example of the exponential ratings power that an under-the-radar hit can deliver.
May. 19, 2014, 9:11 AM
- A report from the FCC indicates basic cable TV prices have risen at a rate 4X the rate of inflation over the last 18 years.
- In the last year alone, the average cost of basic service rose 4.6% to $63.03.
- What to watch: The FCC report, which is full of details on the impact of pricing in "non-competitive" markets, is likely to be referred to during discussion in Washington DC on the Time Warner Cable (TWC)- Comcast (CMCSA) merger.
- Related stocks: CVC, CHTR
- Full FCC report (.pdf)
May. 15, 2014, 9:41 AM
- SpinCo (CHTR, CMCSA) has tapped Michael Willner to be the CEO of the company.
- Willner is the co-founder and CEO of Insight Communications.
- Comcast and Charter will each get to appoint three board members and mutually agree on the last three members.
- SpinCo is the new cable company that will be spun off from Comcast following the firm's merger with Time Warner Cable.
May. 15, 2014, 4:43 AM
- The Federal Communications Commission is due to vote today on a proposal to formally allow some "commercially reasonable" deals that would enable Internet content companies to pay fees so that their traffic receives priority on the network.
- Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) are among those opposed to "pay-for-priority," while Netflix (NFLX) is strongly in favor of net neutrality as well. The latter has reluctantly forged "direct-peering" agreements that remove bottlenecks between networks and ensure that its contents streams more smoothly.
- Advocates of net neutrality fear that pay-for-priority will lead to "fast lanes" for corporations that can afford it and slower traffic for others, and some even want Internet providers to be reclassified as utilities, as is the case with telephone operations.
- Meanwhile, the FCC is also scheduled to decide on rules for the sale of low-frequency airwaves to wireless carriers, with the regulations expected to limit how much Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) can purchase.
- Other relevant tickers: CMCSA, TWC, ALLT, LVLT, CCOI, FTR, WIN, CTL, CHTR, CVC, DISH.
May. 13, 2014, 9:56 AM
- Media analysts at the Upfront meetings in New York City forecast some ad rate increases for major broadcasters.
- Topeka forecast: ABC (DIS) +0.5%, NBC (CMCSA) +3%, Fox (FOXA) +5%, CBS +7%.
- Advertising revenue from this week's Upfront commitments will be largely realized later in the year.
- The CW network - owned by CBS and Time Warner (TWX) - is tapped to see a 1.5% falloff in ad rates due to some dwindling momentum.
- Upfront coverage: ESPN dazzles, strength at CBS
May. 13, 2014, 7:01 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) plans to add Turner shows to its list of on-demand viewing options, according to the WSJ.
- The deal with the Time Warner (TWX) unit will include shows from TNT, TBS, CNN, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, and truTV.
- Sector watch: Deals to add distributions channels for current shows can increase ratings. CBS (CBS) saw a significant jump in the ratings for The Good Wife after signing a similar deal with content.
May. 11, 2014, 5:05 AM
- Time Warner has held discussions to buy popular YouTube video network Fullscreen, Bloomberg reports.
- Fullsreen, which is backed by Peter Chernin, Comcast Ventures (CMCSA) and WPP, is looking to receive a similar price that Disney has agreed to pay for another Youtube network, Maker Studios. Disney was to hand over $500M upfront and another $450M in milestones.
- Fullscreen has 380M subscribers and draws over 3B monthly video views. It generated $50-70M in revenue last year but it isn't profitable.
May. 7, 2014, 1:55 PM| Comment!
May. 4, 2014, 10:05 AM
- DreamWorks Animation (DWA) CEO Jeffery Katzenberg fired out a warning to the movie industry during his talk at the Milliken Global Conference in Beverly Hills last week.
- “Movies are not a growth business,” exclaimed the exec who cut his teeth on the medium.
- Katzenberg sees a future where movies play for a short period of three weeks at theaters for $15.00 - followed by a run on TV at $4.99 and smartphones at $1.99. The forecast doesn't bode well for theater operators and associated businesses.
- DreamWorks plans increasing its focus on shortform (digital and TV) in response.
- Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei also cautioned at the conference of a seismic change in the media industry as "clutter" from video games and social media crowds out traditional entertainment channels.
- Movie studio stocks: DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA
- Movie exhibitor/equipment stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX, DCIN
- Related ETF: PBS
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