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.
Apr. 8, 2014, 8:35 AM
- Execs with Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) will answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow in what is expected to be some testy discussion.
- Some of the panel witnesses are expected to testify on the harmful impact for consumers of the Comcast-TWC combination.
- What to watch: Senators may try to get pledges or concessions out of Comcast on pricing for broadband services with the company aiming to control roughly a third of the market.
Apr. 4, 2014, 11:08 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.2%) is no longer in negotiations with DirecTV (DTV -0.9%) over a carriage contract for SportsNet LA after talks broke down this week.
- The company which paid a large amount for the rights to Los Angeles Dodgers baseball could be hurt by a sustained lack of distribution for the ambitious sports network.
- Currently, 70% of L.A.-area households don't have access to Dodgers baseball - including long-time announcer Vin Scully who is a DTV subscriber and traces his Dodgers roots back to the Brooklyn days.
Apr. 2, 2014, 8:05 AM
- The 10% drop in the stock price of Comcast (CMCSA) over the last seven weeks has complicated its planned merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC).
- The value of Comcast's offer is now down to $143.55 per share compared to $158.82 per share when the deal was announced.
- What to watch: Though the acquisition agreement doesn't contain a collar which forces Comcast to kick in more shares, a higher deal price from another bidder could still emerge. Charter Communications (CHTR) with backer Liberty Media (LMCA) in tow comes to mind.
Mar. 31, 2014, 3:09 PM
- Early indications are that the divestiture of 3M subscribers by Comcast (CMCSA +1.2%) could be worth in the neighborhood of $18B.
- The company is moving the assets to pave the way with regulators for a merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.3%).
- Sources indicate that there is strong interest from other cable companies for the Comcast subscribers.
- Inside the numbers: An acquisition cost of $6K per sub seems a bit high to some media analysts unless the cable users lived in a top tier market.
Mar. 28, 2014, 7:53 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) asks shareholders of Time Warner Cable (TWC) to vote against the proposed merger with Comcast (CMCSA).
- The company wants TWC shareholders to go back to looking at strategic options.
- Due to a slip in the stock price of Comcast, the merger consideration for TWC shareholders is now at $141.16/share. Charter is quick to point out that TWC has said previously it wouldn't take a penny less than $160.
Mar. 26, 2014, 1:42 PM
- Dish Network (DISH +6%) CEO Charlie Ergen has approached DirecTV (DTV +6.2%) about a merger, reports Bloomberg.
- Ergen has been vocal in the past on the need for the two companies to merge, while DirecTV CEO Mike White has played it cool on the subject.
- A ramp-up of talk on a DISH-DTV combination could catch the ears of regulators looking at the proposed merger between Comcast (CMCSA +1%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.4%).
Mar. 20, 2014, 11:03 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.9%) CEO Rob Marcus has 80M reasons to hope the buyout by Comcast is cleared by regulators.
- At TWC's current share price, the exec will earn $20.5M in cash, $56.5M in equity, $400K in benefits, and another $2.5M in a bonus through his golden parachute compensation package.
- Deadline uncovered the extravagant package buried in the SEC S-4 filed this morning by Comcast.
Mar. 20, 2014, 9:14 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) files a new document with the SEC outlining details of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC).
- The document discloses the obligations of each company in order to complete the merger. The biggest obstacle by far will be appeasing regulators on the federal and state level.
- SEC Form S-4
Mar. 20, 2014, 7:43 AM
- The merger between Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) faces a powerful headwind in the state of New York where moves are being proposed to strengthen the power of the Public Service Commission.
- New state rules backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo would give the PSC more oversight and pressure Comcast to prove its acquisition won't hurt consumers.
Mar. 19, 2014, 11:25 AM
- The pay-TV industry in the U.S. posted its first-ever decline in video subscribers during 2013, according to data compiled by SNL Kagan.
- The group (TWC, CVC, CHTR, DTV, DISH, VZ, T) lost 251K subscribers during the period.
- Even a late charge in Q4 by Comcast CMCSA couldn't turn the tide.
- What to watch: Online TV services which offer limited programming packages are expected to start cropping up this year to put additional pressure on pay-TV operators. Companies such as Dish Network plan to walk a tightrope of enticing cord-cutters and cord-nevers to sign on without cannibalizing current video subscriber counts.
Mar. 19, 2014, 9:37 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) continues to upgrade existing stores and build modern outlets as it looks to shed its image with consumers.
- A DMV-like payment center is now known as a Time Warner Store.
- Employees are free to roam TWC stores to assist customers with the company's growing list of products and services.
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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