Fri, Mar. 27, 4:30 PM
- Earlier than expected, Sony (NYSE:SNE) has added content from AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) to its PlayStation Vue streaming TV offering -- so the service's zombie fans (or fans of zombies) can get The Walking Dead's season five finale this coming Sunday.
- Vue (which is currently only available in NYC, Chicago and Philadelphia) now has AMC and WEtv in all packages, and IFC and Sundance in its mid- and high-priced Core and Elite tiers.
- Still absent (and still a dealbreaker for many): Disney's channels, including ABC TV and ESPN. Sony says it's in talks to make those happen.
Fri, Mar. 27, 10:15 AM
- Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) has agreed to acquire Dutch premium TV group Film1 from Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), John Malone's European cable operator.
- The deal means Sony will own and operate five premium movie channels as well as its over-the-top "Film1 Go" digital distribution service.
- Liberty had acquired Film1 in buying Dutch cable operator Ziggo, and Ziggo will continue to carry the five Film1 channels, which feature films from Hollywood studios as well as independent productions.
- The move is another in a series of recent Sony transactions to acquire European channels, including deals in the UK and Hungary.
Fri, Mar. 20, 3:01 AM
- Tapping into a gray area of the net neutrality debate, HBO (NYSE:TWX), Showtime (NYSE:CBS) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) are in talks with broadband providers about having their Web TV services treated as "managed services," giving them a separate lane that would ensure their content gets special treatment.
- While net neutrality states that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equal, the FCC maintains that cable and phone companies can offer "managed services" — digital phone and video-on-demand, for example - that run on a dedicated slice of bandwidth in the cable pipe which is separate from the portion reserved for public Internet access.
Wed, Mar. 18, 1:39 PM
- Sony (SNE +3.9%) has launched its PlayStation Vue streaming video service in three cities, with a starting price of $50/month
- It's been testing the service since November and had planned to launch this month in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia for PlayStation 3 and 4 users, though the price and lineup were open (and vital) questions. The service will spread to other cities and to iPads soon.
- Overall the service features more than 85 channels, though the $50 package has some 50 stations and $60/month and $70/month packages add local sports and music/lifestyle/family channels respectively.
- The lineup features content from three of the big four (CBS, Fox, NBC) as well as stations from Discovery, Scripps, Turner and Viacom. AMC content will join from April.
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- and its popular content from ABC, ESPN and Disney cable -- is still a glaring omission. Sony VP Eric Lempel says more content deals are in progress.
- The interface features time-shifting for the last three days of "popular programming," which might give it a leg up on Sling TV's (NASDAQ:DISH) limited capability there.
- The price is raising eyebrows, as it's competing with Sling TV's $20/month price point (but with more content). "Sony has built the Cadillac plan of Internet TV: It's big, it's shiny and it's expensive," says Jason Abbruzzese.
- Previously: Report: Sony talking with Disney about PlayStation Vue inclusion (Feb. 10 2015)
Wed, Mar. 18, 9:12 AM
Mon, Mar. 16, 10:33 PM
- The TV service that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is talking about (per WSJ) would be anchored by major broadcasters ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) -- but leaving out NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) because of hard feelings might make Apple's plan a harder sell.
- WSJ's Shalini Ramachandran notes Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) launched Sling TV without Fox and NBC, and Sony (NYSE:SNE) Vue without Disney ... which might make this yet another messy middle step toward some customers' a la carte dreams.
- The big broadcasters aren't all, though -- the talks with Disney could bring ESPN, and there may be other basic cable additions, though the ultimate package is likely to end up as a "skinny" bundle that leaves out the typically large number of channels in typical pay TV tiers.
- According to the report, the service would work across all iOS devices: iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs.
- Previously: WSJ: Apple talking Web TV service for fall launch (Mar. 16 2015)
Mon, Mar. 16, 11:25 AM
- Disney's (NYSE:DIS) live-action Cinderella reinvigorated a lackluster box office, taking a runaway lead with $70.1M to claim the domestic crown, and pulling a huge $132M worldwide, including $25M from China.
- Cinderella far outpaced the week's other debut film -- Run All Night (NYSE:TWX), starring Liam Neeson, which drew $11.1M to hold off Kingsman: The Secret Service (NASDAQ:FOXA) at $6.2M. In its fifth week, Kingsman has drawn $107.4M total for Fox.
- Will Smith in Focus (TWX) was No. 4 with $5.81M and South African robot sci-fi Chappie (NYSE:SNE) rounded out the top five with $5.8M. Still in the top 10 are hits The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (VIA, VIAB) at No. 7 with $4.1M ($154.7M total) and American Sniper (TWX), No. 9 with $2.93M ($341.5M total).
- The success of Cinderella may be quite timely for Disney, which is already planning development on live-action versions of Dumbo and Beauty and the Beast, as well as The Jungle Book.
- Previously: Global box office: 2014 boosted by Asia's moviegoers, especially in China (Mar. 12 2015)
Sat, Mar. 14, 8:00 AM
- Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) is within a few weeks of a deal to sell the episode library of hit '90s sitcom Seinfeld to a video streaming service: Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), or Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), and thus maybe to a whole new generation of viewers.
- Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) won't be among them, though, as it's passing -- which gives competitors a chance to nab a TV crown jewel and make up some ground in a content-acquisition arms race.
- Seinfeld -- a show that has generated more than $2.7B in syndication sales alone -- has 180 episodes, each of which should draw well over $500K in what should be a long multi-year agreement.
- While Sony has distribution rights and is making the deal, most of the revenue would likely go to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), owner of Seinfeld producer Castle Rock Entertainment.
- Previously: Now a friendly deal between Time Warner and Netflix (Oct. 15 2014)
- Previously: CBS next to join Sony's online TV service (Nov. 06 2014)
- Previously: Bernstein: Amazon spending $2.5B+ on content next year (Oct. 13 2014)
Fri, Mar. 13, 3:21 AM
- In the latest sign of weakening demand for personal computers, International Data Corp. predicts global shipments of PCs will decline 4.9% this year to 293.1M units, a bigger drop than its previous guidance for a 3.3% decrease.
- According to market research firm, the PC market declined 0.8% to $201B last year and is expected to drop an additional 6.9% in 2015, with smaller declines in coming years, reducing the market to $175B by 2019.
- Previously: Intel -4.1% on Q1 warning; other PC industry names also fall (Mar. 12 2015)
- Related stocks: OTC:ASIYF, AMD, HPQ, INTC, OTCPK:LNVGY, MSFT, MU, NVDA, SNE, STX, OTCPK:TOSYY, WDC
Thu, Mar. 12, 11:57 PM
- The MPAA's report on global box office notes that 2014 sales were up 1% to $36.4B, lifted by China's industry -- the first time that Asian revenues passed those of other regions.
- China's $4.8B made it the first foreign market to exceed $4B a year. Domestic sales of $10.4B were down 5%.
- In 2013 the three major regions (North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia Pacific) essentially tied, but 2014 was the year of Asian box office share: 34.1% vs. 29.1% in EMEA and 28.6% in North America.
- Among worries for the industry, The Hollywood Reporter notes 32% of North America's audience didn't go to a movie at all, and that steep dropoffs in ages 2-11 and 25-39 means the industry needs to look at long-term audience growth. (Frequent moviegoers make up just 11% of the population but buy 51% of the tix.)
- The U.S. industry might be frontloaded for a rebound with a franchise- and sequel-heavy 2015 ahead, though.
- Filmmakers: CMCSA, FOXA, TWX, VIA, DIS, DWA, SNE
- Previously: DreamWorks touts Chinese venture, global projects (Mar. 04 2015)
Wed, Mar. 11, 4:11 PM
- Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation Vue Web TV service will launch within two weeks in NYC, Chicago, and Philadelphia, says Sony Computer Entertainment chief Andrew House. A nationwide launch will happen by year's end.
- Still no word on pricing for Vue, which was first announced last November and will be accessible via PS3/PS4 consoles. A content deal hasn't yet been reached with Disney/ESPN, but discussions are ongoing.
- Re/code reported last week Dish scored 100K subscribers for its Sling TV service in its first month of availability. Sling TV's core $20/month package provides access to Disney/ESPN channels and a handful of others; more channels can be obtained via $5/month add-on packages.
- Sony's service is expected to be both more expensive and more comprehensive than Dish's. Verizon is also prepping a Web TV service, and Apple has been rumored to be thinking of launching one.
- Separately, Sony has announced it's shuttering PlayStation Mobile, which offered a platform for indie games that could run on both Android phones and the PS Vita handheld. Consumer interest in the platform was fairly limited.
Tue, Mar. 10, 2:12 PM
- The PlayStation 4 (SNE -2.3%), once set to launch in China on Jan. 11, will become legally available in the Middle Kingdom on March 20. As previously promised, the console will sell for RMB2,899 ($463); the handheld PS Vita will go for RMB1299 ($207).
- The Xbox One went on sale in China last September, following the lifting of the country's game console ban. China's PC gaming culture and the availability of black-market systems supporting pirated games serve as challenges for console vendors.
- Sony is a week removed from announcing global PS4 sales have reached 20.2M, up from 18.5M in early January.
Tue, Mar. 10, 12:08 AM
- Sony (NYSE:SNE) isn't just up to creating its new all-female Ghostbusters movie -- they're going full Marvel, pursuing the idea of a new cinematic universe built around the paranormal protagonists.
- Sony Pictures is creating a unit called Ghost Corps to administer the all-female film as well as another male-oriented one that might star producer Channing Tatum and be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and whatever other ghostly ideas come out of the new braintrust, run by original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman and star Dan Aykroyd.
- The female version will star Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy and should shoot this summer for a summer 2016 release.
- The gamble to replicate Marvel's success is a big one, but the rewards in media and merchandising are plentiful if the team can replicate the original success: The first film drew $242M domestically, while its sequel added $112M (and another $103M in foreign markets).
Mon, Mar. 9, 11:55 PM
- Recent underperformance at the American box office is catching, as a lackluster weekend came with what some analysts are calling R-rated fatigue (too many films with the restricted rating that means lower box office overall).
- Sci-fi robot film Chappie (NYSE:SNE) led the take in the U.S. with $13.3M -- not strong, but enough for No. 1 in a week where ticket sales were down 35% Y/Y.
- Among other debuts, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (NASDAQ:FOXA) drew $8.5M, good enough for third behind the $10M of Will Smith feature Focus (NYSE:TWX).
- The other key opening was Unfinished Business (FOXA), a new bomb for Vince Vaughn at 10th place with $4.8M.
- Some of the veteran films still playing pushed their takes -- Kingsman: The Secret Service (FOXA) drew $8.3M to reach $98M; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (VIA, VIAB) sold $6.7M to reach $148.7M; and Fifty Shades of Grey (NASDAQ:CMCSA) took in $5.5M to hit $156M domestically.
Fri, Mar. 6, 6:48 AM
- While HBO (NYSE:TWX) is in high-profile talks with Apple to launch its streaming HBO Now service on Apple TV, other providers will be joining in at some point or even at launch day yet, including Google and TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) among others.
- Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be first to agree to the launch, Bloomberg notes, because its negotiation is simpler than that with HBO's longtime pay TV partners.
- Cox Communications and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) are also linked to discussions, though traditional cable/satellite providers are a tougher sell, accustomed as they are to the traditional arrangement (and income stream).
- It's safe to assume all the partners marketing HBO's current HBO Go offering are likely to engage in some level of talks with TWX to offer HBO Now -- including Roku, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox, Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation, and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
- Cable repercussions? Several pay TV operators had started lowering their price for HBO via promotions, a possible move to brace for HBO Now's direct launch: Comcast lowered its monthly HBO rate from $18.95 to $15, or $10 if you order online. Verizon's offering HBO for $9.99/month for first 12; Time Warner Cable is offering $9.99/month for online orders; Cox is offering $10/month for the first six.
- As for HBO Go -- the current service that allows mobile viewing for authenticated existing HBO customers -- it appears it will continue to exist as is for now, despite the likelihood of product confusion.
- HBO's targeting 10M broadband subscribers who don't have cable or satellite -- at this $15 price point, it makes a huge competitive interface with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
Tue, Mar. 3, 6:54 PM
- Two months after stating cumulative PlayStation 4 sales have topped 18.5M, Sony (NYSE:SNE) says they were above 20.2M as of March 1. For reference, Xbox One sales were only at 10M as of last November, though holiday season demand (boosted by price cuts) appears to have been strong.
- Separately, Sony promises its anticipated Morpheus VR headset (gaming-focused) will launch in the first half of 2016. A new Morpheus prototype has been unveiled: It contains a 5.7" 1080p OLED display with a 120Hz. refresh rate - Sony promises very low latency - as well as a 100-degree field of view and 9 LEDs for positional tracking.
- No word yet on Morpheus' price. From a technology and developer support standpoint, Facebook-owned Oculus is still generally seen as the VR market's leader. But plenty of other firms have thrown their hats into the ring over the last 12 months.
SNE vs. ETF Alternatives
Sony Corp is engaged in the development, design, manufacture, and sale of various kinds of electronic equipment, instruments, and devices for consumer, professional and industrial markets as well as game consoles and software.
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