Seeking Alpha

Viacom Inc. (VIAB)

  • Jul. 9, 2014, 1:23 PM
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction became the top-grossing movie ever in China after only 12 days in theaters.
    • The running box office tally of $225.1M for the Paramount (VIA, VIAB) film beat out Avatar which took in $221.9M.
    • What to watch: The development is viewed as favorable for IMAX (IMAX), but could lead to some issues for upcoming films Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from 20th Century Fox and Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy if Chinese regulators crack down a bit to give local titles a better chance to succeed in the wake of the Transformers box office landslide.
    | Comment!
  • Jul. 9, 2014, 11:37 AM
    • Barclay analyst Kannan Venkateshwar's dour view on Viacom (VIA, VIAB) is based in part on the younger audience for the company's Nickelodean and MTV channels that is increasingly moving to digital platforms.
    • Venkateshwar also notes the increased level of buybacks at Viacom limit the flexibility of the company to invest in its core business.
    • Previous: Barclays slots Viacom at Underweight
    • VIA -0.8%, VIAB -0.9%.
    | Comment!
  • Jul. 9, 2014, 7:50 AM
    • Barclays starts off coverage on Viacom (VIAB) with an Underweight rating.
    • The rating is the lowest from Barclays in its broad sweep of the media sector.
    | Comment!
  • Jul. 7, 2014, 7:41 AM
    • The summer box office stayed in a sluggish trend with a 4th of July weekend that failed to produce any fireworks.
    • The top 12 films for the weekend earned $118.5M, down 47% from last year when Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger debuted.
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction led the box office rankings with a $36.4M haul for Paramount (VIA, VIAB), while Tammy opened to $32.9M over the five days for Warner Bros. (TWX).
    • The summer box office is now down nearly 20% Y/Y after the misfire during the crucial holiday weekend.
    • Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX, FOXA, SNE, CMCSA, LGF.
  • Jul. 1, 2014, 7:25 AM
    • Box office revenue in China is up 22% Y/Y to $2.16B for the first six months of the year as foreign films continue to outperform in the nation.
    • Hollywood films (TWX, FOXA, SNE, CMCSA, LGF, VIAB) now claim 52% market share in China.
    • The impressive tally only includes four days of contribution from Transformers: Age of Extinction which is smashing records in the nation.
    • IMAX (IMAX) is a major force in China with consumers well-adapted to the premium format.
    | Comment!
  • Jun. 30, 2014, 12:17 AM
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction took in close to $100M at movie theaters in the U.S. and over $300M globally in a smashing opening weekend.
    • The film cost $165M to produce, according to Studio System News.
    • The Transformers franchise continues to mesmerize in China. Some early estimates have Transformers 4 setting an all-time opening weekend record of $90M.
    • The film took in close to $11M for screenings in the IMAX (IMAX) format over the three-day period.
    • Though critical reviews and crowdsourcing scores (17% at Rotten Tomatoes) for the latest Transformers installment were underwhelming, the giant profits derived for Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB) is expected to give some life to plans for a Transformers 5 movie.
  • Jun. 26, 2014, 7:29 AM
    • "We view Time Warner (TWX) as a content machine without the issues associated with owning a TV network," says analyst John Janedis, starting the stock with a Buy and $80 price target.
    • "Having effectively de-risked the affiliate fee story by providing guidance through 2018, and with a secular tailwind of demand for Warner Bros. TV studio content, a compelling return of capital/leverage outlook, and improving ratings leading to peer-like ad growth, should allow the shares to outperform."
    • Also started at Buy is Viacom (VIA, VIAB), while Scripps Networks is begun with a Hold.
    • Previously: Interpublic Group boosted to Buy at Jefferies
    | Comment!
  • Jun. 25, 2014, 9:15 AM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) is lower by 1.5% premarket and Discovery Communications (DISCA) by a similar amount after BTIG downgrades both from Buy to Neutral.
    | Comment!
  • Jun. 19, 2014, 1:07 PM
    • A blackout of Viacom (VIA, VIAB) networks by 60 smaller cable operators (including Graham Holdings (GHC)) hasn't led to high subscriber defections, according to industry watchers.
    • Less than 2% of subscribers from the group have dropped their service.
    • What to watch: The development shows that pay-TV operators have gained a little leverage over content providers as viewing choices have multiplied almost exponentially.
    | Comment!
  • Jun. 10, 2014, 9:47 AM
    • Topeka Capital Markets thinks an acquisition of AMC Networks (AMCX +0.4%) by a larger media company is possible.
    • A short list of potential buyers include Viacom (VIAB), Disney (DIS), 21st Century Fox (FOXA), and Time Warner (TWX).
    • A combination of AMC Networks with another content distributor could add leverage for future negotiations with pay-TV operators over carriage deals.
    | Comment!
  • May. 30, 2014, 10:27 AM
    • Consumers are rapidly adapting to purchasing movies through digital channels, according to NPD.
    • The growth rate for the electronic sell-through of movies is triple of that for TV EST.
    • The exclusive early release window for some digital titles appears to be helping to boost demand and awareness.
    • The trend is encouraging for studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) looking to capture some of the lost revenue from the lower demand for DVDs.
    • Movie theater operators (CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, DCIN) might look at the development differently with their revenue share mix tilted higher the longer movies stay in a theater.
    | Comment!
  • May. 28, 2014, 12:35 PM
    • The highest-paid boss in America may come as a surprise: It's Nabors Industries (NBR -0.4%) CEO Anthony Petrello, who made $68.3M in 2013 as a result of a $60M lump sum the company paid him to buy out his old contract.
    • Since becoming CEO in Oct. 2011, NBR shares are up ~180%, pretty good but not good enough to escape shareholder outrage; earlier this year, NBR finally agreed to change its corporate governance and compensation practices.
    • Freeport McMoRan (FCX) CEO Richard Adkerson also received a one-time payment of $36.7M to renegotiate his contract; his $55.3M in total pay made him the third-highest paid CEO among S&P 500 companies last year.
    • The second-highest paid CEO was CBS' Leslie Moonves of CBS, whose total compensation rose 9% to $65.6M; media industry CEOs were paid handsomely, as usual: Viacom’s (VIA, VIAB) Philippe Dauman made $37.2M, Disney’s (DIS) Robert Iger made $34.3M, and Time Warner's (TWX) Jeffrey Bewkes earned $32.5M.
    • The head of a typical large public company earned a record $10.5M, up 8.8% from $9.6M in 2012, according to an AP pay study.
  • May. 25, 2014, 7:04 AM
    • Sumner Redstone has sold $236M in Viacom (VIA) and CBS (CBS) shares after exercising options over the past week or so.
    • The transactions take Redstone's sales to $300M in 2014, his biggest cash-out in five years.
    • The 90-year-old has been rearranging his assets to take advantage of tax benefits, the WSJ reports, and he needs to pay for philanthropic pledges he has made.
    • Redstone is executive chairman at both companies, with his holdings in the firms worth $6B.
    | Comment!
  • May. 23, 2014, 2:45 PM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) has blocked access for customers of Cable One (GHC) to its shows due to a battle over retransmission fees with the cable operator.
    • In a twist, the blackout also covers online channels.
    • Cable One has 730K paying customers over 13 different states.
    • What to watch: The harsh treatment has reportedly drawn the notice of the FCC which could make an argument that Viacom has defied the spirit of net neutrality with the Internet blackout.
    | 1 Comment
  • May. 23, 2014, 7:25 AM
    • Analysts project China's box office haul for this year will reach $4.49B to mark a 24.7% increase from last year's level.
    • U.S. films have performed extraordinarily well in China this year, led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a $116M gross. Godzilla opens in two weeks with expectations for a smashing run.
    • What to watch: The sizzling growth of China's box office will provide a significant boost to movie studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) this year, while IMAX (IMAX) continues to become entrenched in the nation.
    | 1 Comment
  • May. 15, 2014, 3:29 PM
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction is going to play to gigantic audiences in China, according to Viacom (VIA, VIAB) CEO Philippe Dauman.
    • The enthusiastic Dauman even predicts a few box office records could fall. More level-headed estimates call for a $150M-$175M run in China.
    • Paramount studio execs took promotional tie-ins for Transformers in China to a new level in anticipation of strong response. In one example, a reality show on CCTV had Chinese contestants competing for a guest spot in the movie.
    • Box office forecasts for the fourth Transformers film are right below the $1B mark. A solid launch in China could bring the movie into the 10-digit zone.
    | Comment!
Visit Seeking Alpha's
VIAB vs. ETF Alternatives
Company Description
Viacom Inc is an entertainment content company. It connects with audiences in 165 countries and territories and creates television programs, motion pictures, applications, games, consumer products, social media & other entertainment content.