May. 15, 2014, 3:35 PM
May. 15, 2014, 4:43 AM
- The Federal Communications Commission is due to vote today on a proposal to formally allow some "commercially reasonable" deals that would enable Internet content companies to pay fees so that their traffic receives priority on the network.
- Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) are among those opposed to "pay-for-priority," while Netflix (NFLX) is strongly in favor of net neutrality as well. The latter has reluctantly forged "direct-peering" agreements that remove bottlenecks between networks and ensure that its contents streams more smoothly.
- Advocates of net neutrality fear that pay-for-priority will lead to "fast lanes" for corporations that can afford it and slower traffic for others, and some even want Internet providers to be reclassified as utilities, as is the case with telephone operations.
- Meanwhile, the FCC is also scheduled to decide on rules for the sale of low-frequency airwaves to wireless carriers, with the regulations expected to limit how much Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) can purchase.
- Other relevant tickers: CMCSA, TWC, ALLT, LVLT, CCOI, FTR, WIN, CTL, CHTR, CVC, DISH.
Apr. 30, 2014, 1:37 PM| Comment!
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:57 AM
- Charter (CHTR) will acquire 1.4M existing Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers, giving it 5.7M in total and making it the second-largest cable operator in the U.S.
- Charter and Comcast (CMCSA) will also each transfer approximately 1.6M subs respectively.
- Charter will acquire 33% in a new publicly-traded cable provider that Comcast will spin off to its shareholders and that will serve 2.5M customers. Charter will pay for the stake by issuing new stock to Comcast shareholders.
- After all the deals are finalized, Charter's managed residential subscribers will be below 30% of the U.S.'s total MVPD (multichannel video programming) subscribers.
- The value of the Comcast-Charter transactions wasn't provided, but the FT put a figure of $20B when it published a mostly accurate report about them over the weekend, prior to an official announcement today. (PR)
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:10 AM
Apr. 27, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) could this week announce a $20B three-part deal to divest subscribers as part of its attempt to assuage antitrust concerns about its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC), the FT reports.
- Comcast would sell 1.4M subscribers from TWC's network to Charter (CHTR), while Comcast would also place 2.5M subscribers in a new company in which Charter would own 35%. Comcast and Charter would then swap 1.65M customers.
- The transactions are contingent on Comcast receiving approval for its takeover of TWC.
Apr. 24, 2014, 12:20 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.2%) narrowed video customer losses to 34K in Q1 while adding 269K new broadband subscribers.
- At the end of the quarter, the company had 11.2M video customers and 11.4M broadband Internet customers in its fold.
- Average monthly programming costs per video subscriber rose 10.2% to $37.69, but overall the company kept a lid on cost increases.
Apr. 24, 2014, 6:03 AM| Comment!
Apr. 21, 2014, 6:37 AM
Apr. 20, 2014, 2:24 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) is in negotiations to acquire 3M subscribers from Comcast (CMCSA) in a deal that could be worth $18-20B, Reuters reports.
- Charter could buy the subscribers through a straight purchase or Comcast could create a spin-off in which Charter would acquire a large minority holding.
- Other cable firms also are interested in obtaining the Comcast subscribers.
- Comcast has already committed to selling the subscribers in order to assuage antitrust concerns about its $45.3B takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Apr. 16, 2014, 8:42 AM
- The merger between Time Warner (TWC) and Comcast (CMCSA) should be approved with a watchful eye kept in place, argues an editorial in The Washington Post.
- The Post notes consolidation might be the only way for pay-TV operators to compete with online video services and broadband providers at scale.
- The regional differences between TWC and CMCSA keep consumers in a position that isn't far off from the status quo, reasons the Bezos-owned publication.
Apr. 15, 2014, 1:34 PM
- Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.
- Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.
- What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.
Apr. 11, 2014, 8:25 AM
- Though Dish Network (DISH) resolved its differences with 25 Hearst-owned TV stations earlier this week after they went dark for around 14 hours amid a retransmission contract dispute, the mini-battle could be the tipping point that leads to a major industry change.
- Media analysts forecast that politicians in Washington may take notice as more negotiation stalemates in the industry lead to cable/satellite blackouts. A little noise from D.C. on the issue could tip the scales in the favor of the pay-TV industry (DTV, CMCSA, CHTR, TWC, CVC).
Apr. 10, 2014, 8:12 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) could threaten to make a raised bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC) in order to gain negotiating leverage with Comcast (CMCSA) over the subscribers it needs to divest, according to analysts.
- The game theory for the company is tricky with it needing to be careful to not cross a line that pushes Comcast away from the table over the subs.
- John Malone, the power behind Charter investor Liberty Media (LMCA), wants to see the cable company become a "horizontal acquisition machine" as it buys up assets piecemeal.
Apr. 9, 2014, 1:44 PM
- There's a palpable air of skepticism at the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger Senate hearing as cable execs maintain in front of frowning Senators that competition will not be undone by the marriage of the two media giants.
- The biggest concerns from the legislators are on pricing and net neutrality.
- Testimony from the CEO of a new independent golf channel underscores the power that the new Comcast (CMCSA +1.2%) could yield. The exec says talks of his fledgling channel getting added to the TWC lineup "stalled" after the merger was announced. The implication is that Comcast's ownership of The Golf Channel could have something to do with that development.
- Prepared statement from Comcast and Time Warner Cable (.pdf)
Apr. 9, 2014, 2:45 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) has submitted a 180-page document to the FCC outlining why it should be allowed to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B.
- The filing comes ahead of hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee today about the deal.
- Comcast's main argument is that it doesn't compete with Time Warner in any market in cable TV or in broadband, and that it faces potential competition from the likes of Google's nascent broadband service.
- However, opponents believe that the increased power that the combined company will hold will hurt competition in the markets for video, television programming, broadband Internet access, and the $5B market for local cable advertising. There are also concerns about the implications for net neutrality.
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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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