Nov. 6, 2014, 8:34 AM| Comment!
Nov. 5, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Oct. 29, 2014, 1:22 PM
- A bid by Aereo to be defined as a cable provider gained support from the FCC with a new proposal out this week which was described in a blog post written by Chairman Tom Wheeler.
- The agency supports "open access" for consumers to high-speed broadband delivery and the right of over-the-top firms to offer programming owned by pay-TV providers and broadcasters.
- In essence, the FCC thinks the bundled pay-TV model should be broken so that consumers will not be forced to pay for channels they never watch.
- What to watch: Though Aero isn't likely to be the ultimate pay-TV disrupter without the deep pockets to license content, the position of the FCC opens the door for other Internet video players to emerge and chips away at the bundled channels model.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, TWC, VZ, T, NFLX.
Oct. 15, 2014, 11:32 AM
- Netflix (NFLX -2.6%) slid a little lower after Time Warner announced HBO would become a stand-alone service sometime in 2015.
- Though it isn't clear how much of HBO's programming will migrate over to the OTT product, the mention of the "international possibilities" of a streaming HBO is enough to catch the attention of Netflix watchers.
- The development also has implications for Hulu (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA) and Amazon (AMZN -1%) which could end us as delivery partners or direct streaming rivals, according to Re/code.
- Pay-TV operators (CHTR, CVC, DISH, DTV) are in a bit of a box by the plan and may choose to play hardball with HBO.
Oct. 10, 2014, 7:43 AM
- The top 40 cable channels have lost 3% of the subscribers over the last four years, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
- ESPN (NYSE:DIS), TNT (NYSE:TWX), Nickelodeon (NASDAQ:VIAB), USA (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and CNN all shed more than 3% of their subscribers as consumers sought smaller bundles.
- Basic plans with a trimmed list of channels account for 12% of all pay-TV subscriptions, up from a level of 8%-10% just a few years ago.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC.
Oct. 7, 2014, 1:22 PM
- Consumers will end paying for the "reckless spending" of major networks for sports coverage rights, warns Mediacom's Tom Larsen.
- Earlier this week, ESPN (NYSE:DIS) and TNT (NYSE:TWX) signed 9-year contracts which will triple the amount they spend for NBA rights.
- Though the added costs won't start piling up until the 2015-2016 NBA season ends, some media analysts think a bubble has been built up on sports licensing costs that could burst before then.
- The pay-TV sector could suffer if consumers hit the wall on rising monthly TV bills.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, TWC, CMCSA, CVC.
Oct. 6, 2014, 3:32 PM
- Cable industry analyst Craig Moffett thinks the cable/broadband industry is well-positioned to benefit from the gradual consumer shift to WiFi-first services.
- The pieces are falling together for the group as smartphone users increasingly use WiFi connections for data and voice - instead of relying on cellular networks.
- In another two to three years after technology hurdles are cleared, cable WiFi could be the standard, says Moffett.
- Related stocks: TWC, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, VZ, T
Oct. 6, 2014, 10:45 AM
- ESPN's new deal with the NBA will let it experiment with selling online access to "out of market" games outside of the traditional pay-TV bundle.
- Though the initiative could take several years to take form, it will mark another small step toward a la carte programming for consumers.
- Media analysts note the length of the contract between the NBA with Disney (DIS +0.7%) and Time Warner (TWX) effectively boxes out Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) and NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) until past the 2024-2025 season.
- On the pay-TV side, operators such as Comcast, Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), AT&T (NYSE:T), Cablevision (NYSE:CVC), Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) have to fret over an online product competing with their sports packages which include NBA games.
Sep. 23, 2014, 11:11 AM
- A new mini-bundle from AT&T (T -0.5%) aimed at cord-cutters and cord-nevers will include broadband services, select basic cable channels, HBO, and Amazon Prime.
- The service will be priced at an introductory rate of $40 per month for a year after which a strong upsell effort from the company would be expected.
- A slimmed-down package from Dish Networks is expected to debut before the end of the year.
- What to watch: Pay-TV industry executives have expressed confidence that the cheaper packages will attract new customers - instead of cannibalizing their base subscribers from the +$100/month level. It's a view not shared by some media analysts who warn of a new era of deal-hopping between pay-TV and broadband providers.
- Related pay-TV stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, CMCSA, TWC.
Sep. 17, 2014, 4:15 PM
- The Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act was passed today by the Senate.
- The legislation allows satellite companies (DTV, DISH) to retransmit broadcast TV channels to rural customers outside of any market.
- A plan by some Senators to add some provisions to the bill on a la carte options for consumers died off over the last few days under some pressure from the pay-TV industry (CVC, CHTR, TWC, CMCSA).
- "It's too big a change to be swallowed," noted Senator Jay Rockefeller.
Sep. 10, 2014, 9:25 AM
- A number of Internet companies are staging an organized protest against the FCC's net neutrality proposal today.
- Though Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Mozilla, and Reddit aren't actually slowing down their websites, they are drawing attention to the current and suggested policies of broadband providers (CHTR, CVC, TWC, CMCSA, VZ) with loading icons dedicated to the cause of an open Internet.
- The proposed "fast-lane" premium pipeline for content providers would mark the end of Internet freedom, according to the group.
Sep. 8, 2014, 2:39 PM
- A new report from Nielsen puts some numbers to the escalating transition of TV viewing toward digital channels.
- In the key 18-34 year old demographic, digital video consumption rose 53% to 35 minutes a day.
- The digital growth rate was even higher for the 35-49 year old group with a 80% rise to 26 minutes a day.
- 50-64 year olds increased digital viewing by 60%.
- Live TV viewing dropped 1%-2% across age groups.
- Related stocks: CHTR, CVC, TWC, NFLX, DISH, DTV, VZ,
- Nielsen Cross-Platform Report
Aug. 19, 2014, 2:50 AM
- The National Association of Broadcasters has filed a lawsuit against the FCC's plans to auction off airwaves stating that the plan will incur expense and harm coverage of TV stations.
- The auction is set to take place next year, and will allow TV stations to take bids and sell their airwaves to meet the surging demand of mobile broadband.
- The new lawsuit challenges the regulations stating that it doesn't fully protect broadcasters that don't participate in the auction.
- Broadcasters say that they should not be forced into having their coverage area reduced or to pay out of pocket for the expense of moving their broadcast signal to a new frequency.
- Relevant tickers: CMCSA, TWC, ALLT, LVLT, CCOI, FTR, WIN, CTL, CHTR, CVC, DISH
Aug. 15, 2014, 11:25 AM
- Cable and satellite providers ended Q2 with more broadband subscribers than video customers, according to Leichtman Research Group.
- An important distinction is that the pace of cord-cutting declined during the quarter as many customers simply shifted to packages such as U-verse or FiOS away from traditional cable.
- Analyst Craig Moffett notes the pay-TV industry is growing revenue at twice the clip as the wireless business which seems to defeat the suggestion of some that it's a dying entity.
- Related stocks: CHTR, CVC, TWC, DISH, DTV, VZ, T.
Aug. 12, 2014, 1:40 PM
- 98% of millennials without a pay-TV subscription tell nScreenMedia that they have no interest in getting one in the future.
- The result of the survey flies in the face of the contention by some cable execs that millennials will jump into pay-TV packages when their earnings power increases.
- Currently, 19% of millennials don't have a pay-TV subscription.
- Media analysts thinks the best play by pay-TV operators to reel cord-cutters and cord-nevers back in would be to jump to 4K movie services via smart TVs. Set-top boxes which could handle the 4K format could roll out as soon as 2015.
- Related stocks: DTV, DISH, CVC, CHTR, CMCSA, TWC.
- nScreenMedia White Paper (sub required)
Aug. 9, 2014, 10:28 AM
- Viacom (VIA, VIAB) issues a demand in federal court that its contact with Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) be rescinded.
- The legal filing is in response to an anti-trust lawsuit filed by Cablevision against Viacom.
- The crux of the dispute between the media companies is over whether Viacom tried to muscle Cablevision into including smaller networks with its well-known properties in bundled packages.
- Cablevision wants the court to force Viacom into licensing MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon without non-core networks - while Viacom is looking for relief that would see its content pulled from Cablevision.
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