Aug. 15, 2014, 3:38 AM
- Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), (BRK.A) disclosed a $366M stake in cable TV operator Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) in the second quarter, according to a new regulatory filing. Shares of Charter have now rose more +2% in after-hours trading.
- The filing also detailed other new investments including a 1.3% raised stake in Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and other increased holdings including IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU).
- However, Berkshire Hathaway reduced its stake in several companies, among them DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
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)
Jul. 31, 2014, 2:42 PM
- Sports were a big topic during DirecTV's (DTV -0.5%) earnings call this afternoon.
- The FIFA World Cup was the primary driver of subscriber additions in Q2.
- Discussions with Disney are going well. Rates have been agreed upon for a deal covering the SEC network.
- Management is very confident a deal will be struck to keep the NFL Sunday Ticket as part of its programming past this year. The package is considered integral to AT&T interest in the pay-TV operator. There is no change in thinking over opening up access to the premium package.
- On the stalemate with Time Warner Cable over SportsNet LA, execs say TWC wants the equivalent of $26 per subscriber for the sports package which included the Dodgers. Condolences are offered to Dodgers fans, but there's no room for optimism that a deal is imminent.
- Outside of sports, the company indicated that it expects free cash flow to grow over 10% Y/Y in 2014 with U.S. capex spending targeted to be lower.
- Earnings call webcast
Jul. 31, 2014, 8:58 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and AT&T (NYSE:T) kept a close eye on their acquisition prizes today as they both showed gains during Q2 for one of the most watched metrics in the pay-TV sector.
- Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) grew its average revenue per user by 1.7% to $106.98 and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) saw a 4.5% gain to $103.26 in the U.S.
- Merger synergies for the mega-deals are based on ever-rising ARPUs while scale brings down content and acquisition costs.
- Today's read from the pay-TV sector is that the U.S. consumer hasn't quite hit the breaking point yet on monthly bill charges.
- Regulatory watch: The FCC has started its merger review countdown clock by taking comments from consumer groups. Though Comcast maintains in government filings that acquiring TWC will help consumers, the focus on rising monthly pay-TV bills could take the steam out of that argument.
Jul. 31, 2014, 7:51 AM
- DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) lost some ground with margin rates during Q2 due to higher programming and subscriber acquisition costs.
- The company saw its average revenue per user increase 4.53% to $103.26 in the U.S. during the quarter - an impressive gain compared to peers. The monthly churn rate was stable at 1.55%.
- Average revenue per user fell 4.6% in DirecTV Latin America. Currency swings and promotions may have been factors.
- Segment revenue: DirecTV U.S. +5.5% to $6.27B; Panamericana +4.6% to $778M, Sky Brasil +7.3% to $1.01B.
Jul. 31, 2014, 7:34 AM
Jul. 30, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Jul. 29, 2014, 2:08 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.4%) says it will agree to binding arbitration to settle its dispute with DirecTV (DTV +0.8%) over a carriage fee deal for the SportsNet LA network which includes coverage of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball.
- DirecTV hasn't indicated yet it will agree to enter arbitration as it continues to push for an a la carte option for its customers. Meanwhile, close to 70% of the Los Angeles TV/broadband market can't access Dodgers baseball.
- The TWC-DTV spat is being closely watched by the pay-TV industry (T, CHTR, CVC, DISH, VZ) and sports network owners (DIS, FOXA, TWX, CMCSA, CBS) as the issue of bundling regional sports networks into packages remains a hot topic.
Jul. 14, 2014, 1:48 PM
- DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) won't play hardball with ESPN over contract negotiations for the new SEC Network, according to TVPredictions.com
- Though the satellite company has notably dug in its heels over carriage fees with other regional sports networks, DirecTV needs to keep a good relationship with Disney (DIS +0.1%) intact as it eyes launching a new online TV service sometime in the future.
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:19 PM
- The 2014 World Cup has delivered smashing ratings reports for ESPN, Univision, and ABC - but has also exposed a weakness in the TV Everywhere platform for coverage of live events, reports GigaOm.
- The complicated process to transcode video feeds into a content delivery network can create a delay of up to 20 seconds - plenty of time for spoilers to crop up for viewers through their online feeds, mobile devices, or nearby friends.
- Though the delay isn't considered a big enough complication to derail TV Everywhere, it's another annoyance for viewers already frustrated with the authentication process.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC, CMCSA, DISCA, CBS, VZ.
Jul. 8, 2014, 10:53 AM
- The FCC has named William Rogerson as part of the team that will review the Comcast (CMCSA)- Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T (T) - DirecTV (DTV) mergers.
- Rogerson is considered a bit of a merger hawk after being a gadfly during the Comcast-NBCUniversal combination.
- Some analysts think the composition of the board as a whole will lead to a tough review process for the media giants.
Jul. 2, 2014, 12:49 PM
- Pay-TV operators (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) will have to spend about $18.32 a month per subscriber within wo years to gain broad rights to sports content, according to estimates from SNL Kagan. That figure makes it difficult for the group to offer smaller bundles to bring back cord-cutters and lure cord-nevers.
- The major sports broadcasters (DIS, TWX, FOXA, CMCSA, CBS) only earned about $1.17 a month in 1995, despite lacking any competition from streaming or online services.
- Though the AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner Cable mergers could add leverage to the pay-TV side, new sports channels Fox Sport 1 and NBC Sports Network aim to achieve the must-have clout and high carriage fees earned by ESPN.
- Passing on costs might not be an option: Average revenue per user at pay-TV operators has hit a tipping point with consumers, with most analysts seeing the push-back continuing.
- "Something has to give," sums up media analyst Craig Moffett.
Jun. 18, 2014, 3:57 PM
- Dish Network (DISH) is reportedly interested in bidding for the NFL Sunday Ticket package if DirecTV (DTV) fails to nail down a contract renewal with the league.
- The NFL has some leverage in its negotiation with DirecTV with AT&T saying it's a deal killer if the NFL Sunday package isn't part of its acquisition of the company.
Jun. 5, 2014, 12:39 PM
- Progress between Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.6%) and DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) over a distribution deal for SportsNet LA has stalled, according to the L.A. Times.
- A deal with DirecTV is considered key because it's the only provider that competes directly with Cox, Verizon, Charter, and Dish Network. If DirecTV doesn't carry SportsNet the other Pay-TV providers can afford to wait on their own deals.
- What to watch: DirecTV claims it hasn't lost a significant number of subscribers even with the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team 61 games into their season. Analysts think a spirited San Francisco Giants-L.A. Dodgers pennant race could increase pressure on DirecTV.
- Previous: Not even Vin Scully can catch a Dodgers game in L.A.
Jun. 4, 2014, 2:10 PM
- A day after AT&T (T -0.7%) sold $2B worth of 30-year U.S. bonds to help pay for the DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) deal, Bloomberg reports the company is selling $2.9B worth of euro-denominated bonds with 10 and 20-year maturities.
- Assuming no funds are used to repurchase debt, the offerings stand to raise AT&T's debt load to the ~$85B range. DirecTV, meanwhile, has $20.8B of its own debt, partly offset by $5B in cash/investments.
- Separately, in an 8-K outlining its case for the acquisition, AT&T declares content costs eat up 60% of U-verse's revenue, and that DirecTV's scale will lower those costs by ~20%. $1.6B/year worth of total synergies are expected 3 years after the deal closes.
- AT&T also claims the deal will allow it to provide gigabit fiber services (previous) to 2M more locations, and that it plans to offer TV/broadband bundles in Latin America with the help of DirecTV's spectrum, which covers 43M homes in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia.
- Previous: AT&T/DirecTV hinges on Sunday Ticket
May. 29, 2014, 12:26 PM
- Newsmax TV announces it struck a distribution deal with DirecTV (DTV).
- The network aims to reach 40% of all U.S. cable and satellite homes by the end of the year.
- A soft launch on DirecTV is planned for the middle of June.
- Newsmax TV will attempt to challenge Fox News (FOXA) for audience along with One America News which will launch on AT&T's U-verse.
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