Oct. 8, 2013, 10:14 AM
- A judge in New York will allow TV broadcasters to depose executives with Aereo as part of the discovery process in a copyright infringement case.
- After losing several legal battles in the group's effort to shut down Aereo, the ruling could expose some contradictions in Aereo's patent filings.
- Related stocks: DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, SBGI, BLC, NXST.
Sep. 27, 2013, 10:22 AM
- The FCC says Comcast (CMCSA +0.8%) has to put Bloomberg's business TV network alongside CNBC and MSNBC on the list of programming offered to consumers.
- Bloomberg maintained it was at a disadvantage by not being included in the "neighborhood" of business networks.
- The agency keeps a rather close watch on Comcast due to the media giant operating a cable TV business and networks under the same corporate umbrella.
Sep. 26, 2013, 6:15 PM
- Hulu (DIS, FOX, CMCSA) acting CEO/content chief Andy Forssell: "Allowing people to pay more and not have advertising at all, I think that’s the right path long term." Forssell nonetheless defends the ongoing inclusion of ads within Hulu Plus ($7.99/month), arguing the revenue they generate helps the streaming service buy more content.
- Somewhere, Reed Hastings (NFLX) and Ted Sarandos might be chuckling. The presence of ads is one key reason Hulu Plus' subscriber base (4M as of April) remains much smaller than that for Netflix's comparably-priced streaming services (37.6M at the end of Q2, 29.8M domestic).
- If Hulu ever offers an ad-free subscription option with pricing competitive with Netflix, it could prove to be a tough rival, given Hulu Plus' TV content library is arguably superior, and offers access to many episodes shortly after they air. Netflix, however, has a superior movie library.
Sep. 24, 2013, 12:50 PM
- Broadcasters face a growing risk that courtroom decisions will go against them in a myriad of cases against Hopper (DISH), Aereo, and FilmonX.
- After a detailed breakdown of the most recent developments, BTIG thinks the pendulum is swinging toward the upstart services.
- If it does, the future of retransmission fees is up in the air.
- Related stocks: DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, SBGI, BLC, NXST.
- Related ETF: PBS
Sep. 24, 2013, 8:22 AM
- Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings made an interesting disclosure on the phenomenon known as binge viewing during his talk at the Google Zeitgeist event.
- The exec notes most streaming customers watch Netflix as if they were reading a book - a chapter at a time on their own schedule.
- Even if binge viewing is more of a media sensation than the normal practice of consumers, the ability of Netflix to allow TV viewers to play catch-up was credited by execs at AMC Networks on the heels of its Emmy win and success for Breaking Bad which started off as a ratings dud.
- What to watch: The symbiotic relationship between Netflix and broadcasters (CBS, DIS, AMCX, VIAB, CMCSA) is part of the thesis on why the company won't be squeezed out.
Sep. 23, 2013, 8:38 AM
- Hollywood studios appear unfazed by the degree of censorship in China as the massive revenue potential in the nation proves blinding.
- Last year, the industry was more than willing to change major plot lines mid-development (ex: Red Dawn villains go from Chinese to North Korean), while this year media companies are setting up more local shops to help cater films to Chinese audiences.
- Profits could be plentiful, although a grass-roots backlash is also a possibility.
- Related stocks: TWX, SNE, LGF, FOXA, VIA, DWA, CMCSA.
- Related ETF: PBS
Sep. 22, 2013, 2:26 PM
- As cord-cutting slowly but steadily gains momentum, pay-TV providers are trying to strike more expansive on-demand (VOD) streaming deals to counter Netflix's (NFLX) rise.
- Whereas VOD services have typically offered 4 or 5 shows on a rolling basis, providers now want to offer every episode all season.
- The WSJ reports Comcast (CMCSA) has reached a broader on-demand deal with Fox (FOX, FOXA) that will include mobile viewing. Fox and (Comcast-owned) NBCUniversal are said to be more open to such deals than Disney and CBS.
- VOD services provide access to shows before Netflix does, but also include ads, often disable fast-forwarding, and usually don't cover back seasons.
- Netflix is telling media companies it won't pay as much for content licensed in bigger VOD deals. Content chief Ted Sarandos: "The less exploited shows are through on-demand services, the more valuable they are to us."
- Rentrak estimates free VOD viewing rose over 40% in 2012. Pay-TV infrastructure vendors such as Arris (ARRS), SeaChange (SEAC - previous), and Harmonic (HLIT) benefit from rising demand.
- Previous: Netflix changing Hollywood's investment habits, wants more exclusive deals
Sep. 20, 2013, 9:21 AM
- Nielsen (NLSN) says it will finally get around to including viewer totals on mobile devices in its ratings for the Fall 2014 season.
- The development will obviously help boost viewership counts and could create some leverage for broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA, CBS, SBGI, BLC, NXST) to then hike ad rates.
- The company doesn't plan to include Netflix and Hulu in its rating tallies just yet.
Sep. 18, 2013, 11:20 AM
- DirecTV (DTV -1.1%) and Dish Network (DISH +1.1%) are more at risk than cable operators (TWC, CHTR, CVC) from a new generation of consumers unwilling to pay premium prices for TV packages, according to analysts.
- Pay-TV providers aren't the only group keeping an eye on the so-called "cord nevers" as broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA, CBS, SBGI, BLC, NXST) weigh how long the current TV content model can stay locked in place.
- The bundling approach to cable/satellite packages helps broadcasters reap lucrative content deals.
- The outlook: "The revolution will take a long time," notes one grounded industry insider, but Internet TV (SNE, NFLX, AMZN) players could try to accelerate the shake-up through innovation.
Sep. 18, 2013, 7:26 AM
Sep. 12, 2013, 11:10 AM
- Pay TV providers have stepped up their lobbying efforts to get Congress to rewrite rules on retransmission fees.
- The heightened effort is a result of CBS (CBS +1.6%) recently clobbering Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.3%) in a negotiations over a new carriage contract and with an epic battle between Dish Network (DISH -0.3%) and Disney (DIS) brewing.
- What to watch: Though a few forward-looking bills are already floating around Congress with a design on ended the "bundled" era, some media analysts think an a la carte free-for-all would be wildly inefficient.
- Related stocks: TWX, CMCSA, FOXA, CHTR, DTV, CVC.
Sep. 11, 2013, 11:35 AM
- CEO Steve Burke concedes NBCUniversal (CMCSA) is behind peers in grabbing retransmission dollars and is landing lower ad rates due to NBC's weak ratings.
- A lot of distribution deals are still left to work out. The company expects the contract value to stay consistent with recent deals.
- Increased capital spending on theme parks is on tap.
- Animation films from Universal will continue to be a focus.
- Presentation webcast
Sep. 10, 2013, 7:49 AM
Sep. 6, 2013, 9:58 AM
- Theme park traffic and spending continue to look strong in a bifurcated economy where consumers are picking their spots to step in spend freely.
- Cedar Fair (FUN -0.8%) was the latest operator to issue a positive outlook, saying it forecasts a 5% increase in average guest spending and 7% boost in out-of-park revenue this year.
- Sector watch: Disney (DIS -0.5%) raised its price successfully this year while Universal (CMCSA) is investing aggressively to take advantage of current trends. Six Flags (SIX +0.2%) will book record revenue for the year, but SeaWorld (SEAS -0.9%) appears to be under-performing peers a bit.
Sep. 3, 2013, 1:57 PM
- Along with Permira, KKR is selling an 11 stake in German broadcaster ProsiebenSat.1. The value of the shares is about $1.05B and the two P-E partners will retain a combined stake of 33%.
- It was reported back in February that the two were considering options for their stake in the broadcaster. Potential suitors mentioned then included Time Warner (TWX), Comcast (CMCSA), and News Corp (NWS, NWSA).
Sep. 3, 2013, 1:09 PM
- Cable operators, satellite firms, and telcos lost a total of 366K video subscribers during Q2, according to SNL Kagan.
- The tally from the firm is consistent with the drop other researchers tabulated and shows an increase in losses from Q1.
- The trend looks even worse on a penetration basis if the pickup in housing units is factored in.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC, VZ, T, CMCSA.
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