Jan. 26, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) reportedly prefers joining up up with Charter Communications (CHTR) to bid for Time Warner Cable rather (TWC) than making an offer on its own.
- Comcast thinks TWC's asking price of $160 a share is too high, while the latter isn't interested in selling itself in a piecemeal fashion.
- Charter is willing to let Comcast have TWC's New York-area cable systems in exchange for Comcast backing Charter's bid. The New York network would fit in nicely with Comcast's operations in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Jan. 25, 2014, 10:44 AM
- The recent warnings up and down the retail sector on slow store traffic trends haven't gone unnoticed by movie studios and theater operators as they look for ways to reach revenue targets this year and beyond.
- The toughest nut to crack for the movie industry might be "Generation Z" - a group that is more focused on devices and streaming options than traditional film distribution channels. Media analysts think the "all-or-nothing" nature of Gen Z increases risk for studios with their big budget films.
- Rentrak (RENT) is one company that is on top of tracking Gen Z. The research firm recently signed a deal with CBS to provide advanced demographics culled in part from online measurements of social engagement.
- Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, LGF, SNE, VIAB, DIS, TWX, FOXA, CMCSA, IMAX, RLD.
- Related ETFs: PBS
Jan. 24, 2014, 9:13 AM
- Broadcasters face a tricky question on how to battle Aereo effectively, while not scaring off ad buyers at this year's Upfront meetings.
- Fox (FOXA) and CBS (CBS) have threatened to go to cable if Aereo wins in the Supreme Court, a development that would have a major impact on ratings on ad rates. NBC (CMCSA) and ABC (DIS) have held their tongue so far on the nuclear option.
- The Supreme Court won't rule on the Aereo case before the Upfront meetings in May.
Jan. 23, 2014, 12:01 PM
Jan. 22, 2014, 10:14 AM
- The Weather Channel (CMCSA) unloads on DirecTV (DTV +0.1%) for its steep termination fee policy and has gone to the lengths of asking viewers to switch providers.
- The network has been dark on DirecTV since January 13 and has missed a ratings bonanza with a massive East Coast storm in progress.
- What to watch: The DirecTV vs TWC battle is being closely watched in the industry as the satellite operator boldly wants to see TWC alter its programming away from reality TV. If the network caves, DirecTV could have leverage in future content deals.
Jan. 17, 2014, 2:35 PM
- CBS (CBS -0.4%) and Fox Sports (FOXA) have submitted bids for the right to air as many as eight Thursday night football games, according to Reuters.
- The league is selling the package after seeing its own network deliver sub-standard ratings compared to games aired on Sunday and Monday nights.
- The bidding is in its early stages and is also expected to include ESPN (DIS), NBC (CMCSA), and Turner Sports (TWX). Media analysts think the winner will have to dig deep.
Jan. 17, 2014, 10:41 AM
- Aereo plans to launch its service in Cincinnati next week as it continues on its expansion path despite the legal objections from major broadcasters.
- The formula will be same for the consumers in the three states that are within Cincinnati's broadcasting range: $8 a month for 30 OTA channels.
- Legal handicappers have given an edge to Aero in its Supreme Court battle, but ABC (DIS), Fox (FOXA), CBS (CBS), and NBC (CMCSA) might have an ace up their sleeve.
- The nuclear option: If the major broadcasters move away from the OTA broadcasting world to re-emerge on cable they would remove themselves from the tight content control of the FCC. Edgy shows in the spirit of The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or True Blood could be part of the programming mix to boost ratings and advertising revenue.
Jan. 17, 2014, 10:18 AM
- Executives at The Weather Channel are probably wondering what they did wrong as the network has suddenly become the high-profile test case over carriage fees.
- DirecTV (DTV +0.1%) wants an unprecedented 20% drop in TWC's per subscriber carriage fee and has invested in a new weather network as a leveraging tool.
- A quiet hurricane season cut into ratings at the network last year.
- To make matters even trickier for TWC, AccuWeather says it will launch its own cable network in Q3 of 2014.
- TWC doesn't have the protection of getting bundled with each networks in a package deal, despite being partially owned by NBCUniversal (CMCSA).
Jan. 17, 2014, 10:07 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA -0.4%) will have a lot to say in how consolidation in the cable industry (CHTR, LMCA, CVC) works itself out.
- The company seems to play a role, major or minor, in nearly every permutation of a Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.3%) takeover, note analysts.
- Brean Capital on Comcast's CEO: "Brian Roberts is very much a kingmaker here."
Jan. 15, 2014, 6:54 PM
- Reuters reports Charter (CHTR) has "reached out" to Comcast (CMCSA) about a joint bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC), after Time Warner spurned Charter's $132.50/share offer. Charter and Comcast are said to be "in preliminary discussions about how to structure a potential alliance."
- One source says a bid could involve Charter buying Time Warner in full, and then selling off some subscribers to Comcast.
- Regulators are bound to closely scrutinize any major cable asset purchases made by Comcast, given its enormous size.
- More on Charter/Time Warner Cable
Jan. 15, 2014, 8:28 AM
- Morgan Stanley upgrades Comcast (CMCSA) to an Overweight rating and raises its price target to $63.
- The investment firm is convinced that Comcast trades at a discount to peers and sees growth potential with new initiatives such as a next-generation set-top box and home security.
- CMCSA +1.65% premarket to $53.68.
Jan. 14, 2014, 4:37 PM
- Fox (FOXA) says it will launch shows whenever it feels like it might be a strategic time throughout the calendar year as it breaks from the concept of a strict pilot season.
- Though the move runs the risk of disrupting how big budget ad buyers approach new shows, it also reflects the modern reality that TV viewers have given up on the idea of a "TV season" as their choices from cable networks, Amazon, and Netflix (NFLX) proliferate all year long.
- Down the road, consumer product companies could also benefit as data mining and Internet-viewer tracking becomes a larger factor in advertising spending than the wining and dining at the annual May upfront meetings.
- Expect CBS (CBS), NBC (CMCSA), and ABC (DIS) to consider similar moves.
Jan. 14, 2014, 4:04 AM
- DirecTV (DTV) stopped carrying The Weather Channel last night following a dispute over fees, with the satellite TV provider reportedly wanting a reduction of over 20% and the channel demanding a rise of 1 cent per monthly subscriber.
- DirecTV believes that with more people accessing weather information via their phones and the Internet, the value of TV services is decreasing. The Weather Channel obviously begs to differ.
- Last month, DirecTV "quietly" started distributing a small network called WeatherNation ahead the expiration of the carriage deal with The Weather Channel.
- The latter's shareholders include Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal and Blackstone Group (BX).
Jan. 13, 2014, 3:33 PM
- Cable TV customers at Comcast (CMCSA -2.7%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.5%) will be charged a fee if they choose to switch to a lower-fee programming package, according to Variety.
- Fees range from $2 to $6 depending upon the service.
- What to watch: The tactic could backfire on the companies with new online TV services destined to launch sometime this year. An announcement on Intel's Internet business could come next week. Expect the high pricing in the Pay-TV sector to be a selling point for the new ventures which will offer a more attractive entry point.
Jan. 13, 2014, 10:40 AM| Jan. 13, 2014, 10:40 AM | Comment!
Jan. 13, 2014, 7:13 AM
- A host of movie studios face an antitrust probe from the European Union over licensing deals with Pay-TV operators in Europe such as BSkyB (BSYBF) and Vivendi (VIVHY).
- The issue could cut into the ability of studios (TWX, FOXA, SNE, CMCSA, CMCSA) to charge different prices across the EU bloc on the same film.
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