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
Dec. 6, 2013, 11:10 AM
Dec. 6, 2013, 7:17 AM
- Some of the buzz over Time Warner Cable's (TWC) reported willingness to take an offer in $150 to $160 range from a buyer such as Charter, Comcast, or Cox comes from incoming CEO Rob Marcus.
- "I am the perfect guy to manage the M&A component out there," says the exec who will replace Glenn Britt at the helm of TWC on January 1. Many media analysts discount a deal getting pulled off at that level.
- Related: A Comcast-TWC merger faces regulatory hurdles.
- Shares of TWC gave back nearly all their merger-fueled gains in late trading yesterday.
Dec. 6, 2013, 2:44 AM
- The Obama administration probably wouldn't authorize any attempt by Comcast (CMCSA) to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC), FCC Republican commissioner Ajit Pai has told the WSJ.
- Precedents such as the government's blocking of AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile US suggest a Comcast-TWC deal "could face a number of hurdles in the Obama administration," Pai said. "A Republican administration likely would be more inclined to approve a deal."
- TWC has already turned down two bids from Charter Communications (CHTR), the WSJ reports, adding that Comcast and Charter are unlikely to make a joint offer.
- While the interest in TWC has sent the telecom carrier's shares soaring, it has also hurt its bonds, due to fears about a debt overhang that a deal could bring. The price of TWC's 30-year bond that matures in 2042 has tumbled 17% since the merger chatter began.
Dec. 5, 2013, 3:55 PM| Dec. 5, 2013, 3:55 PM | 7 Comments
Dec. 5, 2013, 9:04 AM
Dec. 4, 2013, 5:23 PM
- The economic argument is lopsided against the Pay-TV industry (CHTR, CVC, TWC, DISH, DTV) moving to an a la carte system, reasons Needham.
- The investment firm has some staggering estimates which indicate consumers could end up paying significantly more for an unbundled system or see a large number of networks close up shop to limit their choices.
- Working backwards, 180 channels at an average annual programming cost of $280M per year requires a bundled system to create the ad and subscriber revenue to support it.
- Though the math might work out fine and dandy, subscriber losses and a younger generation unfazed by cord-cutting indicates something might need to give.
- The wildcard in the mix: Online TV initiatives from Sony, Google, and Intel as well as the evolution of Netflix (NFLX) will also play a factor.
- Related stocks: CBS, DIS, AMCX, TWX, CMCSA, FOXA, SNI, MSG, DISCA
Dec. 4, 2013, 3:55 PM
- Deutsche Bank weighs in on the chase for Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.4%) that has lit a fuse under the entire sector.
- The investment firm thinks only one bidder will emerge - Charter (CHTR +0.1%) with help from Cox or Comcast (CMCSA +0.2%) - but at a deal price lower than $140 per TWC share.
- Previous comments from Liberty Media (LMCA -1.6%) on a "merger of equals" also limits the premium a Liberty-backed bid would pay, notes Deutsche.
Dec. 4, 2013, 9:52 AM
- Higher spending on programming by network owners is paying off immediately in the form of increased revenue from content, according to media analysts.
- The most recent round of reports from Time Warner (TWX -0.4%), CBS (CBS +0.4%), Viacom (VIAB -0.4%), and 21st Century Fox (FOXA -0.8%) show higher program costs were offset by licensing and advertising revenue. Even big sports rights deals from Disney (DIS -0.7%) and NBC (CMCSA) appear to be adding enough profits to justify the steep costs.
- What to watch: A breaking point on programming costs could be seen in the future with the Pay-TV industry (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) dabbling with smaller bundles for consumers.
- Related ETF: PBS.
TWC vs. ETF Alternatives
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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