Thu, Aug. 6, 1:01 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) is down another 5.2% today (down 13.7% in two days) amid a deepening media stock sell-off that it seems to have spurred with its Tuesday earnings report, where it took a fair chunk of time on an analyst call acknowledging subscriber losses at ESPN.
- Also off broadly at midday: CBS -3.1%; CMCSA -4%; FOXA -9.8%; VIAB -15.6%; TWX -5%; AMCX -9.6%; LGF -6.7%.
- The sell-off is affecting several companies with a cable or pay-TV component, as sub losses at ESPN -- the most valuable part of any cable bundle -- point to the effect of cord-cutting.
- Analysts are agreeing that the trend of unbundling (or skinny bundling) might threaten the long-term health of the pay TV ecosystem, which has profited from the promise of rising subscription fees from providers. That's dependent on subscriber counts that don't significantly drop off.
- A growing pile of reports this week is indicating warning signs for subscriber counts. Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) had "almost certainly the worst quarter" for satellite subscriber losses, analyst Craig Moffett noted, as it merged Sling TV subscriber growth into its overall count, masking the core number. Moffett estimates Dish lost 151K satellite TV customers in Q2.
- Subscriber losses mean lower affiliate fees. Disney said in its call "we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
- Other industry decliners: CRWN -8.9%; QVCA -5.4%; STRZA -6.1%
- Previously: Disney tumbles 8.9% after revenue miss; Iger talks ESPN again (Aug. 05 2015)
- Previously: Disney's Iger bullish on ESPN despite consumer changes, unbundling (Aug. 04 2015)
Wed, Jul. 29, 11:33 AM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) has tanked in early trading, -10.7%, after a Q2 miss on top and bottom lines mitigated by subscriber figures that grew from last year.
- Earnings of $63M were down 9% Y/Y despite operating profit that rose to $110.5M. Adjusted OIBDA was $123.4M -- like operating profit, up 5%. For Starz Networks, revenue of $333.3M was up 2%.
- Revenue breakout: Programming networks and other services, $380.3M (up 2.2%); Home video net sales, $37.4M (down 1.8%).
- The company's on track toward a goal of 75-80 episodes of original series, says CEO Chris Albrecht, bolstered by its key hit Power.
- Subscriber count of 23.5M was down slightly from Q1's 23.7M, but up from a year-ago 22M.
- Conference call to come at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Thu, Jul. 16, 2:36 PM
- Starz (STRZA +2%) is hiring Jeffrey Hirsch to head up a new area of Global Marketing and Product Planning, and he'll join the company on Monday.
- Hirsch -- formerly an executive VP and CMO of residential services at Time Warner Cable -- will oversee development of products and services for worldwide distribution, with particular focus on brand awareness as Starz develops more original programming.
- Starz will hold a conference call to discuss Q2 results on July 29 at 1 p.m. ET.
Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM
- There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
- While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
- "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
- And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
- Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
- Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
Thu, Jun. 25, 5:35 PM
Wed, Jun. 3, 4:41 PM
- A revitalized John Malone is ready to push consolidation across media firms, with his eye on content now that the Charter-Time Warner Cable wheels are in motion.
- The "bundle" is coming apart, he tells the WSJ, and as he hinted at earlier this spring, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) could play a key role in content mergers.
- “Lions Gate could buy Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and potentially other free radicals in the industry,” Malone said. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) or AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) could be targets though those agreements might be difficult.
- Malone engineered a stock-swap earlier this year between Lions Gate and Starz that put him on LGF's board in exchange for 4.51% of Starz, and Lions Gate was reportedly close to a Starz buyout before valuation concern killed the deal.
- Asked at an investor meeting about CBS and Viacom, Malone didn't announce any plans, pointing to the Sumner Redstone succession issue (Redstone controls near 80% of both companies) -- though there's wide belief that either could be for sale after Redstone's death.
- Aside from his involvement in Starz and Lions Gate, Malone also has a 29% voting stake in Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) as well as a stake in ITV (OTCPK:ITVPF), not to mention his position in the various Liberty companies. (Liberty Broadband is backing Charter in its TWC takeover.)
- After a flat day, Starz spiked 1.5% heading into the close, and Lions Gate finished the day up 1.8% as Malone's comments came to light.
Thu, Apr. 30, 12:55 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) has moved up 2.5% after a Q1 where it beat expectations solidly across the board and ramped up its original programming by the most ever.
- Operating income rose 26% to $142.5M. Adjusted OIBDA gained 23% to $155.5M.
- Subscriptions gained by 400K since the end of Q4, and are up 1.8M from a year ago. Starz has 23.7M subscribers.
- Revenue by segment: Starz Networks, $334M (up 3%); Starz Distribution, $109.7M (up 25.7%); Starz Animation, $7.3M (down 18%).
- The company says its slate of original programming this year will include 75-80 episodes of scripted series.
- Conference call at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
- Previously: Report: Lions Gate was close to Starz buyout (Apr. 29 2015)
Wed, Feb. 11, 6:29 PM
- The deal John Malone struck to get a board seat and 3.43% of Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) might be just the beginning for Malone's Starz network (NASDAQ:STRZA), Miriam Gottfried notes.
- TV networks are entering a new, shaky era of consolidation and direct-offer channels using the Internet, but Starz lacks the benefit of size and has struggled to produce hits.
- As a stand-alone studio, Lions Gate could benefit from getting closer to Starz and its steady cash flow, or even merging.
- The network has been for sale since spinning off from Liberty in 2012, though its CEO tossed cold water on takeover prospects just last month.
- Today: LGF +9.2% (and +0.3% after hours); STRZA +3.5%.
Wed, Feb. 11, 9:20 AM
- Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) is up 6.4% premarket with a stock exchange agreement that adds Liberty's John Malone to its board.
- The deal has Lions Gate exchanging 3.43% of its common stock for 4.51% of stock in Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) held by Malone, who says the transaction "creates the potential for a number of strategic opportunities around the world" with LGF.
Tue, Jan. 20, 7:59 AM
- Morgan Stanley upgrades Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) to an Overweight rating from Equalweight.
- Analysts with the investment firm set a $32 price target on shares.
- M&A remains in the background of the discussion on Starz with several Chinese conglomerates and tech giants seen as hungry for a content acquisition.
- STRZA +1.8% premarket.
Dec. 5, 2014, 9:16 AM
- A bet on Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) at its current level factors in a takeover, warn some media analysts who think valuation is too high.
- The loss of exclusive rights to Disney movies in 2016 makes pinning a number on Starz problematic, they note.
- Several entertainment giants are reported to have walked away from the $5B takeover price Starz wants.
- The bull camp thinks strong original programming from Starz gives it upside.
- Starz (STRZA) was upgraded by Macquarie to an Outperform rating from Neutral.
- STRZA +2.2% premarket to $28.37.
Dec. 4, 2014, 9:54 AM
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