Jan. 7, 2014, 11:57 AM
- Online purchases of movies rose 47% to $1.12B in 2013 in the U.S., according to Digital Entertainment Group. The striking growth rate has calmed fears that consumers would opt to wait for rental windows to open up before buying movies.
- Streaming subscription rentals rose 32% to $3.16B during the period.
- Kiosk DVD sales slipped 1%, but the aging business still commanded $1.9B in sales. Brick-and-mortar rentals were off 14.3% to $1.042B.
- If there was a surprise, it might be the relatively slow pace of VOD movie sales, up only 4.8% to $2.11B.
- Full report (.pdf)
- Related stocks: NFLX, OUTR, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, TWC, DIS, FOXA, DISH, DTV.
Jan. 6, 2014, 11:22 AM
- Liberty Media (LMCA -1.9%) CEO Greg Maffei says he would be surprised if any bidder emerged with an offer as high as $150 per share for Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.1%).
- Analysts are taking the comment somewhat lightly as Liberty is still expected to put together an offer before Charter is able to beat it to the punch. The deal by Liberty to acquire full control of Sirius XM Radio sets it up to scrap together more capital for a TWC bid.
Jan. 3, 2014, 2:01 PM
- Fox Sports (FOXA) will stream the Super Bowl live for free, but will restrict online access to the NFC postseason games to authenticated Pay-TV customers of Comcast, AT&T's U-verse, and Cablevision, according to Variety.
- The fragmented approach by the network is in part due to its need to keep cable/satellite providers (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) content that the TV Everywhere authentication model is moving forward - while at the same not limiting itself to advertising opportunities for the most-watched event of the year.
- This will be the third year in a row that the Super Bowl has been streamed.
Dec. 31, 2013, 2:13 PM
- 2014 could be the year that Pay-TV operators (DISH, DTV, TWC, CHTR, CVC) decide to take a stand against higher sports programming costs with subscriber growth stagnant and consumers rebelling against higher monthly fees.
- The most contentious battle could be in Los Angeles where Time Warner Cable's regional sports network, which includes L.A. Dodgers games, is behind in adding distribution channels.
- In a clash of titans, Disney (DIS) is still in negotiations with Dish Network over an ESPN contract to replace the one that expired in October. The carriage fee for ESPN already averages an industry-high $5.54/subscriber, but Wells Fargo thinks that rate will go to $7.65/subscriber by 2018. If there is an exec in the sector with the moxie to go toe-to-toe with ESPN, analysts think Charlie Ergen fits the bill.
- New sports stations from Fox (FOXA) and NBC (CMCSA) don't have the leverage that ESPN carries around, but are still forecast to command higher rates.
- A rising moat could also help lift CBS (CBS) and Madison Square Garden (MSG).
Dec. 27, 2013, 2:21 PM
- Pay-TV operators and broadcasters are playing nicely together this December without the usual late drama heading into year-end contract expirations.
- A deal between frequent combatants Viacom and Time Warner Cable was announced a surprising seven days before a potential blackout date and is indicative of the calm atmosphere.
- Analysts think the Time Warner Cable-CBS battle over the summer might have shown the painful impact of holding consumers hostages in carriage fee negotiations. If they are right, cable and satellite companies (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) might have lost some leverage in future negotiations to the broadcasters (FOXA, DIS, CBS, CMCSA, TWX, AMCX, VIAB).
Dec. 24, 2013, 10:02 AM| Dec. 24, 2013, 10:02 AM | Comment!
Dec. 23, 2013, 8:25 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) signs a new multi-year retransmission agreement with Tribune (TRBAA).
- The agreement will cover Tribune stations in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego.
- Tribune is set to separate its broadcasting and publishing businesses in a plan that has drawn the attention of Congressmen.
Dec. 20, 2013, 4:17 AM
- Liberty Media (LMCA) reportedly believes that a merger of Charter Communications (CHTR), in which Liberty owns 27%, and Time Warner Cable (TWC) could generate annual synergies of $700M.
- Time Warner isn't so convinced and pegs the figure at around $500M, while MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett provides an estimate of $450M and Barclays $560M.
- The expected large stock component of any deal would mean that the size of the synergies would play an important part in the attractiveness of the merger to shareholders.
- Charter had been looking to make a bid for Time Warner this week, but is likely to delay any proposal until the New Year.
Dec. 18, 2013, 2:40 PM
- The FCC proposes ending the TV sports blackout rule which has plagued fans in cities which struggle to fill stadiums.
- Last month, Senators John McCain and Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill in the Senate on the same issue.
- Industry insiders say a no-blackout rule could give a little bit of an edge to media companies (FOXA, DIS, CBS, CMCSA, TWX) potentially looking at streaming sports on a limited basis and is less of an advantage for some Pay-TV heavyweights (DISH, DTV, TWC, CHTR).
Dec. 13, 2013, 11:31 AM
Dec. 13, 2013, 10:38 AM
Dec. 13, 2013, 10:34 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.2%) plans to drop New England Cable News from its programming on the East Coast.
- The move is sparking some protest in the region and signals trouble for the Comcast (CMCSA)-owned property.
- What to watch: One of the common themes at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this week was that Pay-TV operators will take a closer look at dropping unprofitable networks. Execs seem to have been struck with a little bit of a reality check that bundling winners and losers can't go on forever.
Dec. 11, 2013, 3:25 PM
- An initiative started last month by Comcast (CMCSA -1%) to utilize a "See It" button on Twitter to help users watch a show or buy tickets via its Fandago property appears to be catching on.
- The service could see a major expansion as early as Q1 that allows Twitter users who tweet "SEEIt" to have an automatic button embedded in their message that can send users directly to a show online or through video on demand. In some cases, the SEEIt button will act as a remote control for users' set top boxes.
- The SEEIt service is seen as a way to boost ratings metrics and potentially advertising rates for shows which light up social media.
- Signing up for the Twitter-Comcast service: Disney (DIS), Discovery Communications (DISCA), Fox Networks (FOXA), Cablevision (CVC), Charter (CHTR), Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Dec. 11, 2013, 7:58 AM
- Analysts think a combination of Discovery Communications (DISCA) and Scripps Networks (SNI) would make a strategic fit due to the complementary nature of their programming. It's a common theme in the sector as negotiations over licensing deals and carriage fees gets easier with scale.
- The merger activity within the sector is seen as a recognition that the Pay-TV industry is set to see more major changes. One of the biggest takeaways from the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this week was that programmers such as Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX), and CBS (CBS) are prepared to work out deals with virtual MPVD (online TV) players that emerge from the tech industry.
- Merger scuttlebutt: DirecTV (DTV)-Dish Network (DISH), Madison Square Garden (MSG)-Time Warner, Charter (CHTR)-Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Dec. 9, 2013, 10:45 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.6%) CEO Rob Marcus says the regional L.A. Dodgers channel will launch in February with all its distribution deals not yet in place. The exec exudes confidence, but the cable operator clearly needs to get deals done to improve subscriber counts for the sports package.
- The company expects to see stable margins despite increasing programming and capital-intensive initiatives. Service revenue could help boost margins and some tightening on SG&A spending.
- Marcus seems to dismiss the Bloomberg story from last week indicating the company was a lock to take a buyout offer in the $150-$160 range. He does note the significant positive impact consolidation in the media industry could bring as programming costs are shared.
- UBS Global Media and Communications Conference Webcast
Dec. 6, 2013, 6:29 PM
- Comcast (CMCSA +0.4%) has tapped J.P. Morgan for advice as it evaluates a bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.2%), Reuters reports.
- Sources said Comcast does not intend to make a pre-emptive bid, but may jump in if it looks like Charter Communications (CHTR +0.4%) is getting close to a deal.
- TWC, for its part, considers Comcast the best suitor given its ability to make an all-cash offer and the better nature of the geographic fit between the 2 operators.
- Previous: FCC commissioner doubts Comcast-TWC merger would be approved
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Time Warner Cable Inc provides video, high-speed data and voice services. The Company also offers security and home management services, networking and transport services and enterprise-class, cloud-enabled hosting, managed applications and services.
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