Nov. 19, 2014, 6:48 PM
- Bidding in the FCC's AWS-3 spectrum auction has reached $24.1B barely 24 hours after topping $14B. Through 15 rounds, $1.19B alone was bid on a 10x10 MHz. license for the NYC area.
- "While bids could suddenly slow down, the auction appears on pace to blow through the top end of our expected range," writes BTIG's Walter Piecyk. Whereas Piecyk initially forecast an average bid of $0.75-$1.25/MHz./POP, spending has already topped $1.50/MHz./POP.
- Deep-pocketed AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) are likely the "most aggressive bidders," notes JPMorgan's Philip Cusick; he suspects T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is bidding more cautiously. New Street Research thinks AT&T and Verizon "will likely both go after a 10x10 MHz pair in all of the critical markets."
- Tim Farrar suspects DISH is bidding up prices on the assumption AT&T/Verizon will respond by upping their bids regardless of the cost. This morning, Piecyk estimated the auction had served to increase the value of Dish's existing spectrum to ~$2/MHz./POP from ~$1.50/MHz./POP, thereby making Dish worth $104/share rather than a prior estimate of $85/share. Dish rose 10% in regular trading.
- Though bidding is expected to slow down soon, it might not fully end for a few more weeks. Until then, the FCC won't disclose the names of winning bidders, or how much they're paying.
Nov. 19, 2014, 9:55 AM| 1 Comment
Nov. 18, 2014, 4:09 PM
- Following 14 rounds, total bids in the FCC's AWS-3 (high-band) spectrum auction have reached $14.18B. Bids have been placed for 1,303 of the 1,614 available licenses, and a $10.1B aggregate reserve price has been surpassed.
- AT&T (T -0.4%), Verizon (VZ -0.3%), T-Mobile (TMUS -0.3%), and Dish (DISH +4%) are among the companies bidding on the spectrum, which includes paired licenses (50GHz. altogether) in the 1.7GHz. and 2.1GHz. bands (good for high-density urban areas). T-Mobile raised debt ahead of the auction to help finance its efforts.
- The furious bidding pace highlights the strong interest U.S. carriers have in growing their spectrum portfolios to cope with rapid mobile data traffic growth. An even bigger auction for 600MHz. (low-band) spectrum was recently delayed until 2016; AT&T and Verizon will face purchase restrictions in that one.
Nov. 18, 2014, 12:35 PM
- CBS (NYSE:CBS) warns again that its programming could be removed from Dish Networks (DISH +0.8%) on Thursday as negotiations over a contract renewal remain stalled.
- The stalemate could lead to Showtime, Smithsonian Channel, and popular CBS network shows such as The Big Bang Theory and NCIS going dark on Dish.
- What to watch: Typically, it's NFL football which is the blackout line that most pay-TV operators won't cross - but this week's game features the 0-10 Oakland Raiders which reduces the leverage of CBS just a bit.
Nov. 17, 2014, 8:40 AM
- CBS (NYSE:CBS) warns viewers that its programming might fall off of Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) in 14 cities this Thursday with no new carriage deal between the media companies in place.
- The blackout would impact Dish subscribers in Chicago, L.A., and New York City.
- CBS created a website, keepcbs.com, filled with social media links for angry Dish viewers to vent their frustration.
- What to watch: Nearly all major disputes between networks and pay-TV operators have skirted around disrupting NFL football. The popularity of CBS' Thursday Night NFL football programing raises the stakes for this week's CBS-Dish face-off.
Nov. 14, 2014, 3:28 PM
- Dish Networks (DISH +0.3%) CEO Charlie Ergen says the blackout of CNN and other key Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) networks could be permanent if an acceptable deal isn't worked out.
- CNN has been dark on Dish since October 21, while sports-heavy TNT and TBS have been dangled by the company as bargaining chips.
- Dish also has a carriage agreement with CBS which is set to expire in late November.
- What to watch: While Ergen is known for off-the-cuff boisterous talk, it's also possible that the end game is to secure TWX and CBS programming for Dish's new OTT Internet TV product at cut rates.
Nov. 14, 2014, 1:41 PM
- Pay-TV operators lost about 149K subscribers in Q3 to represent the industry's worst performance ever for the period, according to data compiled by Leichtman Research Group.
- The mark is slightly better than the 179K subs loss that Moffett Nathanson forecast.
- Based on seasonal trends, Leitchman forecasts a small increase in subscriber growth for Q4.
- Cable/satellite/telco Q3 sub scorecard: Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) -81K, Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) -182K, Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) -24K, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) -56K, Suddenlink +2.2K, Mediacom -19K, Cable ONE -14.1K, DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -28K, Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) -12K, AT&T +216K, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) +114K, Others/Private -65K.
- Based on seasonal trends, Leitchman forecasts a small increase in subscriber growth for Q4.
- Related: Seismic changes coming for pay TV
Nov. 13, 2014, 8:46 PM
- Sony's (NYSE:SNE) new online TV package will price at $60 to $70 per month, estimates Re/code.
- It's a level that is twice what Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) plans to charge for a slimmer package, although one that includes ESPN.
- Programming on the Sony streaming service will feature shows from CBS, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBC, Scripps Networks, and Viacom.
- The pitch from the Japanese media giant is that cord-cutters will be drawn in by the captivating way of accessing the content through gaming consoles. A cutting-edge discovery and recommendations service for users is also highlighted by execs.
- Regulatory watch: Potential rule changes from the FCC could level the playing field for the new streamers as they work out their content deals.
- What to watch: A fragmented pay-TV landscape could benefit content producers (DISCA, CBS, FOXA, DIS, LGF, TWX, AMCX) in the short-term as competition heats up, while creating a pricing headache for cable/satellite/telco players (CMCSA, CVC, CHTR, DISH, T, DTV, VZ, TWC).
- The Netflix factor: Many media analysts consider Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) an add-on for consumers - instead of an either/or decision with online TV.
Nov. 4, 2014, 1:15 PM
- Dish Network (DISH -1.3%) saw its pay-TV average revenue per user increase 4.2% to $84.39.
- Though the ARPU mark is higher than some pay-TV rivals it came with a cost - subscriber-related expenses +7.9% to $2.132B.
- The company added 28K net broadband subscribers (compared to a net add of 75K a year ago) during the period to take its broadband base to 553K.
- Conference call highlights: Charlie Ergen notes that pricing for a OTT product should be roughly $1 a day. Naturally, he sees Dish as well-positioned for a cord-cutter subscriber grab. On the CNN dispute, Ergen deals rather harsh on the news network by noting that ratings are low for it unless a plane goes missing for weeks.
- Shares of Dish have staged a minor comeback after being down over 3% in early trading.
- SEC Form 10-Q
Nov. 4, 2014, 6:09 AM
Nov. 3, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Nov. 3, 2014, 11:24 AM
- AMC Networks (AMCX +0.9%) continues to warn viewers watching shows through DirecTV (DTV +0.3%) that the company's networks (AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance, We) may go dark early next year if a new carriage deal isn't struck.
- The disclosure was first made during last night's airing of The Walking Dead.
- A dispute between CBS and Dish Network (DISH +0.9%) looks even more ominous with the current deal expiring next month and a good portion of the NFL season yet to be played.
- A battle between Time Warner (TWX -0.2%) and Dish Network has dragged on for over ten days and left CNN off the Dish programming lineup.
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. 24, 2014, 1:16 PM
- The FCC's Incentive Auction, which will auction off a giant chunk of low-frequency (600 MHz.) spectrum historically used for TV broadcasts, is now set for early 2016 instead of mid-2015.
- The agency cites legal challenges from broadcasters, as well as the auction's complexity and "the need for all auction participants to have certainty well in advance."
- A recent FCC study (.pdf) meant to appease broadcasters estimated the auction could raise $45B. Sprint (S -0.1%) and T-Mobile (TMUS +0.1%), whose rural and in-building coverage has suffered from a dearth of low-frequency spectrum, are expected to spend aggressively.
- AT&T (T +0.1%) and Verizon (VZ +1%) are also expected to bid heavily, though the FCC plans to limit their purchases on account of their already-massive low-frequency assets. AT&T has said it plans to spend at least $9B.
- Dish (DISH +1.4%), which has a large chunk of high-frequency spectrum it's still trying to find a use for, plans to participate as well.
Oct. 24, 2014, 11:30 AM
- The number of global pay-TV subscribers will rise 19.6% to 1.1B in five years, according to a forecast from ABI Research.
- The research firm thinks global pay-TV revenue could top $323B by the end of the period.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, LBTYA, CHA, T, TWC, OTCPK:BSYBF, OTC:SKDTF, OTCPK:KBDHY, OTCQX:DTEGY, AMX,
Oct. 22, 2014, 11:39 AM
- Though a quick resolution is expected by analysts watching the dispute between Dish Network (DISH +1.1%) and Time Warner (TWX +1.1%) which has left 8 Turner Broadcasting channels dark on Dish, a lasting impact could be felt.
- Dish's willingness to lop off CNN, while keeping TNT and TBS alive on its programming, cuts away at the news network's must-have status.
- CNN has temporarily been replaced on Dish's channel #200 by a MSNBC feed.
- What to watch: Negotiations are hovering over carriage fees for older content (Seinfeld, Friends) that Dish maintains is easily available from other sources and smaller non-core networks which Turner tries to bundle. Some media analysts think Dish will win concessions.
DISH vs. ETF Alternatives
DISH Network Corp provides a direct broadcast satellite subscription television service in the United States. It offers subscription television, audio programming and interactive television services in the United States.
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