Tue, Sep. 15, 5:23 PM
- The new fall TV season doesn't begin in earnest until after next week's Emmy Awards, but the return of football is again providing welcome news for broadcasters.
- Football-related programs took 11 of the top 20 spots in the ratings during the past week, and NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) tallied up the viewers. Thursday night's NFL season kickoff (Pittsburgh at New England) became the second-most watched season opener, with 27.4M viewers.
- The Sunday night game (New York Giants at Dallas) was second in the week's ratings, with 26.8M. The next three spots were NBC's pregame shows for those games.
- CBS drew numbers for its pregame and postgames, and 60 Minutes benefited again from a football lead-in, finishing eighth to be the highest non-football program with 11.5M viewers.
- After weeks where Fox News Channel (FOX, FOXA) topped cable primetime, ESPN (NYSE:DIS) took the lead this week, with 3.69M viewers on average to Fox News' 1.7M and USA Network's 1.62M.
- NBC Nightly News is tops in news, with 8.2M viewers to ABC's World News Tonight with 7.8M and CBS Evening News with 6.3M.
Tue, Sep. 15, 12:35 PM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA +0.7%) is in talks with the owners of Universal Studios Japan to take a majority stake in the theme park -- a move that would help it catch up internationally with key media rivals including Fox, Time Warner and Discovery Communications.
- The deal could value USJ Co., which has multiple owners including Goldman Sachs and Asian private-equity firms MBK and PAG, at $6B.
- Universal Studios Japan opened in 2001 but struggled with decreased visitors toward the end of the decade. A rebound's under way, thanks in large part to a Harry Potter attraction that opened in July.
- With ratings pressuring its TV businesses, NBCUniversal has gotten some Disney-esque good news from growth in theme parks. It currently has a licensing deal at USJ along with ownership of Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort.
Mon, Sep. 14, 1:37 PM
- A thrills-and-chills face-off at the box office ended with The Perfect Guy narrowly edging The Visit, but with both films well outperforming projections.
- ScreenGems' (SNE -1.1%) The Perfect Guy drew $26.7M against The Visit, a bit of a comeback from M. Night Shyamalan, which pulled $25.7M -- both well above an expected $15M-$17M each.
- Sony's War Room continued its surprising run, drawing $7.4M to finish third and likely overshadowing the debut of another faith-based film, 90 Minutes in Heaven. War Room, from the company's Affirm label, has grossed $39.2M in three weeks.
- In continuing-film strength, Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation (VIA -0.9%, VIAB -1.2%) was fifth, grossing $4.2M to bring its seven-week total to $188.2M, and Straight Outta Compton (CMCSA -0.9%) was sixth, adding $4.1M to its five-week cumulative run of $155.7M.
Mon, Sep. 14, 12:07 PM
- After its public falling-out with GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, NBC (CMCSA -0.9%) has found a new face to pump up The Celebrity Apprentice: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- The show will return for the 2016-2017 season with the twice-elected California governor and acting veteran of the Terminator films.
- The network ended its relationship with Trump in June, cutting loose the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant broadcasts and saying Trump wouldn't participate in The Celebrity Apprentice, which is licensed from Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group.
- Previously: Trump says he's bought out NBC from Miss Universe, made peace (Sep. 11 2015)
- Previously: NBC to Trump: You're fired (Jun. 29 2015)
Fri, Sep. 11, 1:36 PM
- GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he's bought out NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and made peace, settling all lawsuits against NBC (CMCSA -0.7%).
- The organization was a joint venture between Trump and NBCUniversal. It runs the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants.
- Following Trump's comments earlier this summer about Mexican immigrants being rapists and killers, NBC started cutting ties with Trump and the pageants, refusing to air the pageants. Earlier, Univision said it wouldn't broadcast the pageants.
- Should be fun: Trump is set to appear on NBC late-night staple The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this evening.
- Previously: NBC to Trump: You're fired (Jun. 29 2015)
Thu, Sep. 10, 3:33 PM
- Wrapping a program rearrangement on MSNBC (CMCSA -0.3%), anchor Brian Williams will return from his six-month suspension to serve as breaking-news anchor for the cable network on Sept. 22, the first day of a U.S. visit by Pope Francis.
- Despite a heavy revamp of the afternoon schedule, including multiple cancellations, Williams won't have a dedicated hour. Instead, he'll work on various afternoon programs depending on news -- and he'll anchor breaking special reports for NBC if Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, who replaced Williams on that broadcast, is unavailable.
- Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd is returning to the network to host a 5 p.m. show, while 6 p.m. is unresolved with Al Sharpton's PoliticsNation moving to Sundays.
- Previously: MSNBC cancels chunk of afternoon lineup amid news refocus (Jul. 30 2015)
Wed, Sep. 9, 6:34 PM
- Fox News Channel (FOX, FOXA) has been on a streak since its GOP debate ratings coup, prevailing in weekly primetime cable ratings for the fifth week in a row.
- The network averaged 1.86M viewers overall to ESPN's 1.82M. Disney Channel (NYSE:DIS) was third with 1.5M, while HGTV (NYSE:SNI) and USA Network (NASDAQ:CMCSA) tied with 1.4M viewers.
- Total-day ratings were ruled by the usual suspects: Nickelodeon (VIA, VIAB) in first, followed by Disney, Adult Swim and Cartoon Network (NYSE:TWX).
- The top-rated cable show was again TNT's Rizzoli & Isles, with 4.7M viewers, followed by USA Network's weekly doses of WWE Monday Night Raw, with just under 4M.
Wed, Sep. 9, 4:34 PM
- International M&A and growth will be a "huge opportunity," says NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.8%) CEO Steve Burke as he looks to catch up globally with media-giant competitors.
- Speaking at the BofA/Merrill Lynch media and entertainment conference, Burke also said viewers feel there's "too much" original programming out there, but the program glut is likely to slow down.
- "There are very few companies with a $150 billion market cap with so little of their revenue coming from outside the U.S.," Burke said. "We see it as a huge opportunity. I think whether it's M&A activity or organic growth, international is a huge opportunity for us and it's something we'll pursue over the next five to 10 years."
- Earlier, NBCUniversal set a movie distribution deal with Alibaba's new streaming service, Tmall Box Office (TBO), and Comcast is building a $3.3B Universal theme park in Beijing. NBCUniversal gets some 20% of revenue internationally, vs. 30%-plus for Fox and Time Warner, and 51% from globally focused Discovery Communications.
- High-quality scripted programming is in surplus due to streaming players paying into the market, but it won't keep up, Burke says. "It’s a logical response to the fact that you can get paid for these shows in so many new ways and people are trying to do things to define their networks and stand out and have ratings go up.”
- Previously: Universal Pictures in deal with Alibaba's Netflix-like China video service (Sep. 09 2015)
- Related: Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) CEO Stephen Burke Presents at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Investor Conference (Transcript) (Sep. 09 2015)
Wed, Sep. 9, 9:41 AM
- NBCUniversal (CMCSA +0.8%) has a multi-year licensing deal with Alibaba Group (BABA +4.7%) to place its Universal Pictures titles on the new Tmall Box Office streaming service.
- The deal includes Universal's recent global hits Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions (the last of which is set for 3D release in China over the weekend). Library titles are also included in the deal, beginning this month.
- Subscription video on demand is set to grow rapidly in China over the next few years. Alibaba's service was set to include films from U.S. partner Lions Gate, and Netflix has been in discussions to enter the country.
- Previously: Alibaba unveils Netflix-like Chinese service priced at $57/year (Sep. 02 2015)
Tue, Sep. 8, 3:28 PM
- Christian film War Room (SNE +1.3%) prevailed in holiday-weekend box office, preventing Straight Outta Compton (CMCSA +1.8%) from ruling for a fourth straight week as few moviegoers left end-of-summer gatherings to hit up theaters.
- War Room grossed $12.6M over the four days ($9.45M in three), benefiting from one of the slowest Labor Day weekends at the box office in a decade and outpacing Compton's $11.1M ($8.85M for the three days). It's nonetheless proving a surprising faith-based hit for Sony's Affirm unit.
- New films failed to boost totals. A Walk in the Woods and The Transporter Refueled drew $10.3M and $9M in third and fifth place respectively for the four days.
- Compton has earned just under $150M in four weeks, while Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (VIA +1%, VIAB +1.5%), in fourth at the holiday box office, has grossed over $180M domestically in six weeks.
Tue, Sep. 8, 9:33 AM
- In a rearrangement of what it offers football-viewing cord cutters, the NFL is merging what was a separate highlight service into Game Pass -- a $99/year offering that will let subscribers listen to all games via live audio and watch complete regular-season games via TV as soon as the games are over.
- As such, it's not a head-on challenge to existing broadcasters of the games (CBS, CMCSA, DIS, FOX, FOXA) -- where live sports still may be the key glue holding traditional program bundles together -- but it offers viewers more choices in a media environment where almost every week brings another content provider breaking off to go over the top to viewers. The on-demand games will have additional camera angles as well.
- The consolidation of the NFL's app approaches is the latest in a number of digital changes for pro football this year, from a game exclusively offered via Yahoo, to record streaming options on CBS, to Verizon's data-pumping plan of making in-season games available to mobile customers.
- Previously: Verizon streaming NFL games to all service plans (Sep. 02 2015)
- Previously: CBS plans record NFL streaming broadcasts, including Super Bowl (Sep. 01 2015)
Wed, Sep. 2, 7:26 PM
- Watchable -- the upcoming video service from Comcast (CMCSA +1.6%) -- looks a bit like a mix of YouTube and Hulu, according to the demo site that Variety found briefly unprotected today.
- The site's open to all, subscribers and nonsubscribers alike, and to unregistered viewers, though registration apparently comes with personalization options.
- Watchable will rely heavily on editor curation and be available (at some point) not only on the Web, but also on Comcast's X1 set-top and on mobile devices.
- Content partners that showed up in the demo included Vox Media (a recent recipient of Comcast cash) and its tech site The Verge; Popsugar, Break, Smosh, Vice, Discovery Digital and Fox Sports Digital.
- Comcast's service may be racing Verizon to market; Verizon's Go90 service is set to bow in "coming days."
- Previously: Comcast nearing launch of in-house video platform Watchable (Aug. 14 2015)
Wed, Sep. 2, 4:57 PM
- Prestige studio Miramax, previously rumored to be exploring a sale, has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer, Bloomberg reports.
- Qatari investment bank QInvest will co-advise on the process, which is said to start formally after the Labor Day holiday. The studio is part-owned by Qatar through the country's sovereign wealth fund.
- Miramax could be looking for up to $1B after its current owners bought it from Disney for $660M in 2010, and bidders could include streaming services like Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOX, FOXA), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Amazon.com's Instant Video (NASDAQ:AMZN), or studios like MGM or oft-rumored buyer Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF).
- Miramax's most recent release is Mr. Holmes, with Ian McKellen as famed detective Sherlock Holmes, and it currently produces From Dusk Till Dawn, the TV adaptation of the film now in its second season on the El Rey network.
Wed, Sep. 2, 11:14 AM
- Hulu is launching a subscription option that will give viewers a commercial-free experience, if they're willing to pay more.
- An $11.99/month level will provide ad-free programming, or subscribers can choose a $7.99/month option with "limited" commercials.
- Current subscribers won't have to switch from their deal, but can elect to go commercial-free for an additional $4/month.
- Hulu -- co-owned by NBCUniversal (CMCSA +1.3%), Disney (DIS +0.6%) and Fox (FOXA +0.3%) -- has been aggressively moving on content acquisition in a bid to better complete with Netflix and Amazon.com's video lineup.
- The company says for viewers who choose the limited-commercial level, "Hulu will continue to show fewer commercials than scheduled television."
Wed, Sep. 2, 10:53 AM
- Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks studio is set to leave Walt Disney (DIS +0.3%) and find a new distribution home after a six-year arrangement that showed mixed results and few blockbusters.
- The label is in talks with Universal Pictures (CMCSA +1.2%), The Hollywood Reporter writes. And going back to Paramount (VIA +1.7%, VIAB +2.3%) is a possibility.
- DreamWorks left Paramount for a Disney deal in 2009 just after breaking off talks with Universal. Spielberg's maintained offices at Universal, though, and was a hands-on executive producer to its monster hit Jurassic World, making him important to extensive future dinosaur-related plans.
- Spielberg's deal with Disney expires next August, just after the release of fantasy story The BFG, an adaptation of the Roald Dahl book.
- DreamWorks won't be going with hat in hand: It has hundreds of millions in new commitments from Participant Media and other sources, meaning it won't have to fight for funds as it did during its Disney cold streak.
Mon, Aug. 31, 3:13 PM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has named Myrna Soto its Global Chief Information Security Officer, a new role at the company.
- Soto will be responsible for cyber and data security strategy/policy across all Comcast enterprises, including NBCUniversal and Comcast Spectacor.
- She comes out of the Comcast Cable organization and has been with the company since 2009. She has more than 25 years of information security/technology leadership experience across a variety of industries.
CMCSA vs. ETF Alternatives
Other News & PR