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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

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  • Dec. 24, 2013, 2:59 AM
    • Disney (DIS) has cut the compensation of CEO Robert Iger for 2013 by 15% to $34.3M, as the company's outperformance wasn't as good as it was in 2012.
    • Iger's package includes an unchanged $2.5M in basic salary, $8.8M in stocks, $8.48M in options, and a bonus of $13.6M.
    • Disney has also elected Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey to its board, with the appointment set to be voted on at Disney's annual meeting in March. At age 36, Dorsey is the company's youngest board member by some measure. Existing director Judith Estrin will retire. (PR)
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  • Dec. 23, 2013, 2:54 PM
    • A legal brief filed by broadcasters (FOXA, CBS, CMCSA, DIS) to the Supreme Court argues that Aereo is a subscription service and not just a hardware supplier of OTA transmitting devices.
    • The distinction could be critical to how the Supreme Court rules in the case if the judge strays from the closest precedent which was set in a Cablevision DVR case back in 2009.
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  • Dec. 18, 2013, 2:40 PM
    • The FCC proposes ending the TV sports blackout rule which has plagued fans in cities which struggle to fill stadiums.
    • Last month, Senators John McCain and Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill in the Senate on the same issue.
    • Industry insiders say a no-blackout rule could give a little bit of an edge to media companies (FOXA, DIS, CBS, CMCSA, TWX) potentially looking at streaming sports on a limited basis and is less of an advantage for some Pay-TV heavyweights (DISH, DTV, TWC, CHTR).
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  • Dec. 18, 2013, 1:09 PM
    • Disney (DIS) could see a big boost in toy sales this holiday season based on tracking of cargo shipments by Panjiva.
    • Toys based on Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First are pouring into retailers, according to the research firm.
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  • Dec. 18, 2013, 12:32 PM
    • Hulu (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA) announces that it will topple the $1B mark in revenue this year, up from $695M in 2012 and just a shade over $400M in 2011. The number of advertisers rose over 15% during the year to over 1,000 brands.
    • The subscriber count for Hulu Plus is now over 5M to mark growth of over 66% Y/Y.
    • Once again, Hulu says original content will be a top priority in 2014.
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  • Dec. 17, 2013, 3:38 PM
    • The NPD Group is out with the SVOD Report which looks at streaming activity between January and October of this year.
    • The top movies streamed were The Hunger Games (LGF), The Avengers (DIS) and The Lorax (CMCSA) which are all movies aimed at younger audiences. The rankings go a long way toward explaining the tent-pole strategy of major studios.
    • Data on TV streaming showed the most activity was for Breaking Bad (AMCX), How I Met Your Mother (CBS), and AMC's The Walking Dead.
    • Netflix (NFLX) doesn't like to share ratings information, but NPD has the back of investors. Its data shows 11% of all Netflix users streamed Arrested Development at least once during the six weeks following its release. The mark was lower for House of Cards (5%) and Hemlock Grove (4%), although the penetration rates compare favorably to the broadcast world.
    • SVOD share of the total home video market rose to over 25% during the year.
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  • Dec. 16, 2013, 11:29 AM
    • Disney's (DIS +1.2%) rousing success with Frozen shows animation can still deliver, but the company will have to wait quite a long time for Pixar to deliver a hit.
    • Next year, no Pixar movie will be released for the first time in almost a decade.
    • What to watch: The strong box office tally of Frozen, Despicable Me 2, Monsters University, and The Croods indicates the reports on the death of animation were greatly exaggerated - but the "perfectionist" culture at Pixar may test the patience of the higher-ups at Disney. Pixar has the 26 Academy Awards on its shelf, but indy studios are starting to put out well-received animation features at a more rapid clip.
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  • Dec. 13, 2013, 12:55 PM
    • New polling from Harris Interactive confirms that consumers streaming video content prefer the practice of binge viewing.
    • The news isn't a shocker to Netflix (NFLX -0.2%) and Amazon (AMZN +1.3%) which have been pointing toward their own viewing data for quite a while.
    • Redbox Instant (VZ, OUTR) could be the next streaming service to bring on TV shows for binge viewing, according to media buzz.
    • The read-through for broadcasters (CBS, AMCX, FOXA, DIS, CMCSA) is mixed. Advertising rates could suffer if more viewers are willing to wait until series are available for streaming, but the payoffs for quality content are getting higher and higher. Just this week, CBS CEO Les Moonves tipped off that Amazon paid $700K per episode for streaming rights to Under the Dome - while AMC Networks knows full well that without Netflix hit show Breaking Bad would have broken down.
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  • Dec. 13, 2013, 8:01 AM
    • Aereo says it won't oppose a petition to the Supreme Court filed by broadcasters (FOXA, CMCSA, CBS, DIS) as it preps to let the high court decide the issue on if its service is legal.
    • So far, Aereo has a decent track record in court cases filed against it in new markets where its has entered.
    • However, the legal squabbles have slowed down Aereo's growth track. The company is only in 9 markets after setting a goal to be in 22 by the end of the year.
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  • Dec. 12, 2013, 10:51 AM
    • Disney (DIS -1.9%) was widely seen as slowing down acquisitions after the mega-purchase of Marvel and Lucasfilm, but that doesn't mean the company will go dormant.
    • Earlier this week, CFO Jay Rasulu didn't shy away from sounding positive on more M&A activity from Disney during his talk at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
    • Meanwhile, Carne Capital thinks Disney could have an interest in Scripps Networks.
    • Credit Suisse raises its price target on Disney DIS to $80 and increase its FY14 estimate.
    • Shares of Disney continue to see-saw around the $70 mark.
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  • Dec. 11, 2013, 3:25 PM
    • An initiative started last month by Comcast (CMCSA -1%) to utilize a "See It" button on Twitter to help users watch a show or buy tickets via its Fandago property appears to be catching on.
    • The service could see a major expansion as early as Q1 that allows Twitter users who tweet "SEEIt" to have an automatic button embedded in their message that can send users directly to a show online or through video on demand. In some cases, the SEEIt button will act as a remote control for users' set top boxes.
    • The SEEIt service is seen as a way to boost ratings metrics and potentially advertising rates for shows which light up social media.
    • Signing up for the Twitter-Comcast service: Disney (DIS), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Fox Networks (FOXA), Cablevision (CVC), Charter (CHTR), Time Warner Cable (TWC).
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  • Dec. 11, 2013, 7:58 AM
    • Analysts think a combination of Discovery Communications (DISCA) and Scripps Networks (SNI) would make a strategic fit due to the complementary nature of their programming. It's a common theme in the sector as negotiations over licensing deals and carriage fees gets easier with scale.
    • The merger activity within the sector is seen as a recognition that the Pay-TV industry is set to see more major changes. One of the biggest takeaways from the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this week was that programmers such as Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX), and CBS (CBS) are prepared to work out deals with virtual MPVD (online TV) players that emerge from the tech industry.
    • Merger scuttlebutt: DirecTV (DTV)-Dish Network (DISH), Madison Square Garden (MSG)-Time Warner, Charter (CHTR)-Time Warner Cable (TWC).
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  • Dec. 10, 2013, 9:49 AM
    • Disney's (DIS +0.4%) presentation at a media conference in NYC focused on global opportunities as theme parks, TV networks, and movies all reach deeper into developing markets
    • Rapid expansion of Disney's theme park in Shanghai is on tap even after it opens. The park is within 3 hours of +300M people making it a logical target for investment. The tone from CFO Jay Rasulo is extremely confident that the park will be very successful and add to Disney's top-line growth.
    • Monetizing mobile is still a work in progress as measurement techniques are refined.
    • The bidding for NBA rights for ABC and ESPN is the last piece of the sports puzzle for Disney with other sports wrapped up. Rasulo seems to expect heated competition from other sports networks.
    • On the impact of Aereo: The upstart tech concern doesn't factor into Disney's strategy.
    • Previous on Disney conference
    • UBS Global Media and Communications Conference webcast
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  • Dec. 10, 2013, 9:29 AM
    • Data mining and tech initiatives are a big focus at Disney (DIS), according to CFO Jay Rasulo. Though the company is still in the "early days" of realizing the revenue potential of features like the MagicBands at theme parks the potential of catering marketing to consumer behavior is enormous.
    • On M&A: Nothing on the scale of Lucasfilm or Marvel is being looked at, but it's safe to say that an increase in Disney's buyback plan doesn't mean M&A still isn't on the front burner.
    • Virtual MPVD (online TV) is coming. Disney will be willing to license its content. This development is key with ESPN a lynchpin of getting consumers to cut the cord with traditional Pay-TV options.
    • The Marvel strategy is to deliver the treasure trove of content throughout the Disney ecosystem. The deal with Netflix is a natural due to the new distribution channel it gives Disney.
    • The emergence of rival sports networks from Fox, CBS, and NBC hasn't disrupted programming costs or advertising rates to a large degree, says Rasulo. Ratings have also held up.
    • UBS Global Media and Communications Conference webcast
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  • Dec. 9, 2013, 11:47 AM
    • Frozen topped the U.S. box office rankings with a $31.6M haul, but perhaps more importantly the Disney (DIS) film did very well in Europe and still has Russia and Italy to debut in this week. More than any other studio Disney gets a lot of bang for its bucks if it delivers a hit with children due to its merchandise and theme park tie-ins.
    • Hunger Games: Catching Fire (LGF) fell back to earth with a $27M hold, but is still on pace to eclipse the $400M mark.
    • China continues to be a strong market for Gravity (TWX) as the movie has now earned over $64M in the market. The sci-fi thriller has been one of the biggest surprises of the year with a global box office take of over $630M and counting. The movie has also backed up the idea of the must-see IMAX format for particular features.
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  • Dec. 9, 2013, 7:50 AM
    • ZenithOptimedia forecasts advertising will grow 5.3% in 2014 to $560B with a solid pace of growth in the U.S. and China supporting the industry.
    • TV advertising (CBS, CMCSA, FOXA, DIS, AMCX, DISCA, SNI) is in decline as desktop Internet and mobile continue to draw advertising buyers, but perhaps not as rapidly as some have previously predicted. TV's share of advertising is expected to go from 40.2% of advertising this year to 39.3% in 2016, according to the research firm.
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Company Description
Walt Disney Co, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified entertainment company with operations in five business segments: Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products and Interactive.