Wed, Mar. 4, 3:43 PM
- HBO (NYSE:TWX) is reportedly talking with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a launch partner for its streaming service -- to be called "HBO Now" and rolling out next month.
- The service is working with MLB Advanced Media to produce the standalone service in time for the fifth season premiere of Game of Thrones. The price is expected to be about $15/month.
- For Apple's part, it would mean a chance to add a high-quality offering to push adoption of Apple TV.
- The availability of a standalone service from HBO -- often a $15-$20/month add-on and a marquee offering in cable/satellite packages -- should send ripples throughout the pay TV industry.
- One study says the service alone would cause a 7% drop in subscribers overall. Some providers -- who count on Internet customers as well -- may bundle it with broadband offerings in order to reach cord-cutters, however.
- After trading down much of the afternoon, TWX shares returned to positive ground in a surge of late trading.
Mon, Mar. 2, 8:42 PM
- Will Smith's Focus (NYSE:TWX) took over the box-office crown against some lackluster competition, drawing $19.1M against Kingsman: The Secret Service's $11.7M (NASDAQ:FOXA).
- Third place went to hit The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (VIA, VIAB), still benefiting from kid-friendly counterprogramming with $11.2M.
- Fifty Shades of Grey (NASDAQ:CMCSA) slipped from first to fourth place for the week with $10.9M, another steep dropoff from the prior week, though it became Universal's highest-grossing R-rated international release at $338.4M, and should hit $500M globally in the coming week, against a $40M budget.
- Overall, after a few quarters of declining Y/Y numbers, Q1 box office is running about 8% ahead of 2014, largely thanks to bigger draws like American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Mon, Mar. 2, 8:23 PM
- Les Moonves said on CNBC last month that CBS was "very happy being alone," and the CEO doubled down on that talk at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
- Moonves says his COO tells him that CBS will be a $100 stock in four years, so buyers or merger partners like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) or Viacom (VIA, VIAB) would have to pay "a very high price." CBS shares gained 4.5% Monday to close at $61.75.
- He also expressed little concern about smaller cable bundles or any lack of negotiating power by eschewing a merger, saying CBS will be in every bundle. "People can't live without CBS ... We like the hand we're playing."
- The company faces new negotiations with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) at the end of the year.
- Previously: AMC Networks finally looking for a deal? (Feb. 25 2015)
- Previously: Cumulus higher in late trade as CBS M&A chatter flies (Feb. 24 2015)
Mon, Feb. 23, 12:07 PM
- Among the additions to the index (which fuels the IBLN ETF) are EMC, Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Goodyear (NASDAQ:GT), Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK), PVH, Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). There are three health care additions as well: Allergan (NYSE:AGN), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), and HCA. The lone energy name added is Consol Energy (NYSE:CNX).
- Exiting the index are energy names Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and National-Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), along with healthcare companies AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Aetna (NYSE:AET), Humana (NYSE:HUM), and Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC). Citigroup (NYSE:C), CBS, Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI), and Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) round out those subtracted.
- IBLN tracks the highest-conviction S&P 500 picks by hot-handed billionaires who built their fortunes through hedge funds and investing. The list of billionaires tracked is updated each October, and the equity components are rebalanced each quarter after sifting through regulatory filings.
- IBillionaire Index Rebalance
Fri, Feb. 13, 8:07 AM| Comment!
Thu, Feb. 12, 7:06 PM
- Following earnings, Time Warner's (TWX +2.8%) got another challenge ahead in negotiations for programming renewals with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).
- With distributors slimming down packages (and programming costs), economies of scale are likely to play in Time Warner's favor vs. smaller programmers.
- The same dynamic is driving chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) or even TWX -- the need for size to get more mojo in negotiations with stingier distribution channels.
- An increasing factor is the gradual unbundling of programming from traditional distributors through services like Sling TV, or subscription services from CBS and HBO.
- TWX's outlook looks increasingly dependent on accelerating revenue growth -- "which is likely to require successful renegotiation of the last two major domestic (pay-TV) deals and highly successful box office performance," says Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves.
- Previously: Dish opens Sling TV signups for all U.S. viewers (Feb. 09 2015)
Wed, Feb. 11, 11:59 PM
- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) "has some ratings issues" but ad sales contraction "was almost exactly spot on for what we modeled it on," says Wunderlich's Matthew Harrigan, who calls the company "a bit of a transitional story this year."
- In Q4 results, TWX was boosted by TV revenues including HBO's 6.2% revenue gain -- which did its part in making up for a contraction at Warner Bros. -- and Harrigan is still bullish on the pay network planning to stream directly: "I think HBO is a business that the Street has always undervalued, and even Warner is, because the quarter tends to be so lumpy and we have just seen people underestimate just how strong the long-term earnings power is."
- Wunderlich has the stock as a Buy with a price target of $93. Wedbush today reiterated its Outperform rating with a price target of $89.
- TWX shares closed Wednesday up 0.3% to $81.01.
- Previously: Report: HBO streaming standalone to cut deep into pay-TV subs (Jan. 22 2015)
Wed, Feb. 11, 8:50 AM
- Revenues at Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) were held down by Warner Bros. results, though broadcast divisions posted strong marks.
- Adjusted operating income declined to $1.6B (down 10%) as all segments took charges related to company restructuring; the decline there came almost entirely at Warner Bros., down 32% to $391M.
- Segment revenues: Turner, $2.607B (up 2.3%); HBO, $1.338B (up 6.2%); Warner Bros., $3.815B (down 4.5%).
- At Turner, a slight decline in advertising was more than made up for by subscription revenues, driven by higher rates domestically and subscriber growth internationally. HBO benefited mainly from higher rates and subscribers domestically.
- The film studio slipped primarily on lower home entertainment and videogame revenues: Releases of Edge of Tomorrow and Tammy compared with the prior year's Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, The Hangover Part III and videogame Batman: Arkham Origins.
- TWX notes it repurchased about $5.8B in stock from the beginning of 2014 to this past week, leaving about $4.2B authorized for buybacks. The firm also hiked its dividend 10% to $0.35/share (its sixth straight double-digit percentage hike) and provided in-line guidance for 2015.
- Shares up 0.4% premarket; conference call at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Wed, Feb. 11, 7:14 AM
Wed, Feb. 11, 7:08 AM
Wed, Feb. 11, 7:08 AM
Tue, Feb. 10, 5:30 PM
Mon, Feb. 9, 7:36 PM
- While content is said to be king, don't overlook distributors in the television landscape, says Kiplinger's Miriam Cross in a look at which TV stocks have appeal in a landscape buffeted by consolidation and structural change in the likely face of new regulations.
- While it's tempting to stick to content providers in cable -- “Quality content will always find an outlet,” says Morningstar's Neil Macker -- Cross says cablecos have maintained high leverage including on-demand viewing and a strong grip on broadband subscriptions.
- She notes Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is valuable even if a planned merger with Time Warner Cable fails, due in part to its move into content via its NBC purchase, as well as an increasing dividend and buybacks.
- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) she likes as a pure content play that, like Comcast, boasts heavy repurchasing. And CBS boasts some diverse revenue streams as well as strong broadcast ratings and key sports rights.
- Previously: Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal up in the air? (Feb. 09 2015)
- Previously: Moonves dampens enthusiasm for CBS-Time Warner merger (Feb. 06 2015)
Fri, Feb. 6, 11:40 AM
- "There's a lot of noise out there," says CBS CEO Les Moonves about the chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), but "Right now, we are very happy being alone." Sounds like a line from a Hollywood rom-com -- particularly considering CBS split off from Viacom in 2006, which would technically make that a reunion.
- Moonves did acknowledge on CNBC that CBS is closer to TWX than any other company -- the two co-own the CW network and Warner Bros. supplies plenty of shows to CBS TV.
- With regard to its non-broadcast assets, particularly including CBS Television Studios and Showtime, Moonves notes content will be as important to the company's future as advertising.
- And he plugged the network's 2016 coverage of Super Bowl 50 by praising NBC's production this year: "It's the one day of the year we root for them. ... We have Super Bowl 50 and our ad rates, which are going to begin north of $5M for a 30-second television spot, are based on their great ratings."
- Moonves recently re-upped with CBS until June 2019.
- Today: (CBS +2.2%); (CMCSA +0.6%); (VIA +1.2%)
- More CBS on CNBC
Mon, Jan. 26, 8:35 AM
- American Sniper brought in a stunning $64M during its second weekend in U.S. theaters as buzz over the movie kept traffic high.
- The Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) film is now up over $200M in two weeks and has an outside chance at reaching $400M.
- The movie was released late in 2014 and is on track to eclipse The Hunger Games: Mockingkay - Part 1 as the box office leader of the year.
- The production budget of the Clint Eastwood-directed movie is estimated at $59M.
Thu, Jan. 22, 1:35 PM| Comment!
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