Mon, Jan. 26, 10:36 AM
- Shares of Jakks Pacific (JAKK +0.4%) and LeapFrog (LF +0.4%) are higher despite the sharp guidance cut from toy maker Mattel.
- Both companies are viewed by analysts as strong in channels where Mattel is weak.
- The toy player which has wreaked the most havoc on Mattel (MAT -2%) is Disney (DIS -0.5%) with the Frozen doll phenomenon cutting deeply into Barbie sales over the last year and showing little signs of abating.
- M&A talk could pick up in the sector with some entertainment giants eyeing the success Disney has had integrating franchise film characters into toys.
- Talks on a DreamWorks Animation-Hasbro combination were active last fall.
- Previously: Mattel -10.6% after CEO resigns and guidance lowered
- Previously: Toy sales up 4% in 2014 (Jan. 20 2015)
Thu, Jan. 22, 11:50 AM| 14 Comments
Tue, Jan. 20, 3:59 PM
- Toy sales rose 4% to $18.08B in 2014, according to NPD Group.
- Frozen (NYSE:DIS) merchandise brought in close to $531M spread across 39 different toy categories.
- Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), LeapFrog (NYSE:LF), and Jakks Pacific (NASDAQ:JAKK) showed strength in various categories.
- Samsung was also a factor in the toy market through strong demand for the kids Galaxy Tab 3.
Fri, Jan. 16, 11:11 AM
- NPD data shows a strong performance for Disney (DIS +0.4%) in the "toys to life" category for the holiday period.
- Sales tied to the Infinity system were up 16% Y/Y.
- Starter pack sales increased 10% to 1.2M.
- Infinity faces competition from Activision Blizzard (Skylanders) and Nintendo (Amiibo), but has gained edge with the inclusion of more Disney franchise characters into the gaming system.
- Disney Interactive pulled out a $18M profit in FQ4.
- NPD Dec. game sales breakdown
Thu, Jan. 15, 12:40 PM
- Barry Diller says there's no stretch left on pay-TV pricing as he dissects the influence of Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the industry.
- He warns on the Prime model where adding subscribers for the company dwarfs concerns on viewership and advertising.
- By the sound of it, Diller isn't recommended staying long cable stocks (CMCSA, TWC, CHTR, CVC) or positive on programmers (SNI, CBS, AMCX, FOXA, VIA, VIAB, MSG, DIS) set to renegotiate carriage deals.
- CNBC interview (video)
- Previously: Woody Allen to direct series for Amazon Studios (Jan. 13)
- Previously: Amazon added over 10M new Prime users during holiday season (Dec. 26, 2014)
Tue, Jan. 13, 11:14 AM
- ESPN (NYSE:DIS) scored an 18.5 overnight rating for last night's college football championship game to set an all-time cable record.
- The audience was up 21% Y/Y.
- If other ESPN outlets are included, the ratings improves to 18.9.
- 30-second commercials went for as much as $1M per spot, according to reports.
- ESPN has the rights to the college football playoffs out to 2025.
Wed, Jan. 7, 12:01 PM
- Disney (DIS +1.2%) will continue to assume the risk of a movie studio misfire, according to CFO Jay Rasulo.
- The company is the only major studio that doesn't lay off some risk to a financial partner through deals.
- As Rasulo noted, Disney can lean on the integration of franchise films into consumer products, theme parks, and video games to avoid some of the ups-and-downs which can impact purer-play studios such as Lions Gate and DreamWorks Animation.
- Rasulo gave his assessment at the Citi 2015 Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference yesterday (webcast).
Tue, Jan. 6, 4:16 PM
- GasBuddy.com projects gas prices will average $2.64 per gallon in 2015.
- Most economists see a boost in U.S. retail spending from the gas savings with the exception of regions highly dependent upon the energy industry.
- While some Q4 reports from restaurant chains and retailers may show a marginal lift in sales due to the drop in gas prices, insiders think quantifying the impact will be more art than science.
- The following sub-sectors have been tapped by analysts as potential under-the-radar beneficiaries of the gas price effect.
- C-stores:KR, CASY, PTRY, OTCPK:ANCUF, CST, MUSA.
- Theme parks: SIX, FUN, DIS, CMCSA, PLAY.
- Beverages: KO, PEP, COT, DPS, BUD, SAM, BREW, TAP, MNST.
Mon, Jan. 5, 7:46 AM
- ESPN (NYSE:DIS) is considering entering the daily fantasy sports market, according to a report from SportBusiness Daily.
- Fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings have seen explosive growth through their contests aimed at sports fans.
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) holds a position in FanDuel through its VC arm.
Sat, Jan. 3, 11:18 AM
- ESPN (NYSE:DIS) gobbled up more market share in 2014, according to year-end Nielsen data.
- The sports network grew total viewers 6% to ascend to number one on the chart, while other top cable networks such as USA, TNT, and TBS were on the decline.
- ESPN was one of only 7 top-40 networks to increase viewers in the key 18-49 demographic during the year.
- By the numbers: Disney makes an estimated $5.75 per pay-TV subscriber for ESPN. SNL Kagan thinks the mark could go to $8.34 by 2018.
- What to watch: Media analysts have noted that ESPN has locked up long-term contracts for most of the major sports leagues it covers. Depending upon how the future of pay-TV is viewed, the development gives ESPN upside potential to grow carriage fees/advertising/streaming revenue or gives it risk if there is a drop in subscribers.
- Previously: College football playoffs go well for ESPN and Nike (Jan. 2)
Fri, Jan. 2, 12:35 PM
- ESPN's (NYSE:DIS) big spend on securing rights to the first College Football playoff games appears to have paid off a bit with last night's Sugar Bowl generating a 15.3 household rating to follow the 15.5 rating scored by the Rose Bowl earlier in the day.
- The early game marked a 38% ratings jump from the bowl game broadcast by ESPN a year ago, while the rating for the later game was 125% higher than a year ago.
- ESPN will air the College Football Playoff championship game on January 12.
- By the numbers: The network spent $7.3B to secure the college football playoff rights for 12 years.
- Related: Nike (NYSE:NKE) is also riding high with the company having close ties to finalists Oregon and Ohio State.
Fri, Jan. 2, 11:54 AM
- 2014 saw a mixed performance for movie studios (LGF, CMCSA, TWX, DIS, SNI, VIA, VIAB, FOXA, DIS).
- U.S. box office -5.2% Y/Y to $10.3B. Higher ticket prices and improved in-theater spending helped offset low traffic.
- China box office +36% Y/Y to $4.77B Though the number of foreign films are capped by the government, the box office winner in the nation in 2014 was Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction. Local productions accounted for 54% of the tally. IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) had a big year.
- U.K. box office -5% to $1.73b. The Lego Movie from Warner Bros. topped the chart.
- France box office +8% to $4.77B.
- Japan +5.9% led by a stellar $249M from Disney's Frozen.
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
Dec. 30, 2014, 10:34 AM
- U.S movie admissions are down 6% to 1.259B this year to mark the lowest level of movie attendance since 1995.
- An increase in average ticket prices on the push to premium seating helped offset the decline in traffic.
- Disney's (NYSE:DIS) studio took in $1.558B (-7% Y/Y) on 17 movies tracked to rank second of the studios.
- Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Maleficent all broke the $200M mark in 2014 for Disney.
- Despite the dip in box office revenue, Disney movies were a big factor in the company's consumer products and gaming businesses.
Dec. 24, 2014, 8:10 AM
- Media analysts expect an announcement shortly from Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) on how it plans to distribute The Interview online.
- The options for the movie studio are plentiful - including using a powerhouse tech outlet such as Google (via Google Play or YouTube), Apple, or Netflix.
- Sony-owned Crackle is also an option as is a deal with a pay-TV operator.
- What to watch: A successful online launch of the film could have some wider implications for movie studios (LGF, VIAB, VIA, TWX, DIS, FOXA) and theater chains (RGC, CKEC, AMC, CNK) with the industry's mainstream distribution model showing some signs of cracking.
Dec. 23, 2014, 4:16 PM
- DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) sign a widely-anticipated multi-platform deal.
- The deal will give DirecTV subscribers wide access to Disney, ESPN, and ABC shows on linear TV and through the company's Watch service.
- Disney content will also be available for VOD purchase.
- Previously: Pay-TV contract talks intensify (Dec. 22)
DIS vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
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