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Viacom Inc. (VIAB)

  • Nov. 4, 2014, 3:00 PM
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  • Oct. 31, 2014, 9:44 AM
    • The U.S. premiere for Interstellar from Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB) is set for November 5 with expectations starting to be pushed even higher.
    • Fandango and both report strong advanced ticket sales for the film, while some IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) theaters have added 3:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. screenings for next Wednesday.
    • Hollywood insiders say the film has the potential to create a must-see-in-theater buzz after director Nolan shot the movie on film to open up the potential to see it in the striking 70mm format.
    • Nolan also pleased the top brass at Paramount by coming in under the production budget of $175M by about $10M.
    • Movie exhibitor stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX.
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  • Oct. 28, 2014, 12:44 PM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) says it will expand the amount of programming it offers on Hulu under the terms of a new deal.
    • Series from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, TVLand, Spike, BET, and Logo will all be added to Hulu over the coming weeks.
    • Hulu is owned by Disney (NYSE:DIS), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA).
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  • Oct. 28, 2014, 7:43 AM
    • A merger between CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) would create a programming giant with enough appeal to strike better carriage fee deals, reasons Gabelli & Co. analyst Brett Harriss.
    • He says a pairing of the CBS network with the Paramount movie studio would also be a profit driver.
    • CBS broke off from the Viacom tree in 2006.
    • What to watch: The commentary from the analyst is in line with speculation in the industry over significant media mergers being struck. Earlier this week, a potential Alibaba investment in Lion's Gate (NYSE:LGF) was bandied around, while talk of a Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) buyout isn't completely dead.
    • Related ETF: PBS
  • Oct. 15, 2014, 7:52 AM
    • Lion's Gate (NYSE:LGF) exec Kevin Beggs delivered a little bit of a thunderbolt during his talk at the Mipcom media conference.
    • Beggs says he see very few barriers to entry for more streaming services to pop up in the near future, perhaps even from a tech major.
    • He notes that even a $5-$10/per month streaming service doesn't need a huge number of subscribers to break even.
    • A host of streaming companies bidding on content could be a positive for Lion's Gate and other studios (VIA, VIAB, SNE, DIS, TWX).
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  • Oct. 10, 2014, 7:43 AM
    • The top 40 cable channels have lost 3% of the subscribers over the last four years, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
    • ESPN (NYSE:DIS), TNT (NYSE:TWX), Nickelodeon (NASDAQ:VIAB), USA (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and CNN all shed more than 3% of their subscribers as consumers sought smaller bundles.
    • Basic plans with a trimmed list of channels account for 12% of all pay-TV subscriptions, up from a level of 8%-10% just a few years ago.
    • Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC.
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  • Oct. 8, 2014, 8:15 AM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) is playing hardball with regulators in Canada with a threat to move its networks online if an a la carte sytem is mandated.
    • The Canadian government has been making quite a bit of noise over forcing a la carte on the pay-TV industry.
    • A+E Networks (DIS, Hearst) has also warned that it will explore strategic options if a pick-and-pay TV environment is established in the nation.
  • Oct. 8, 2014, 7:26 AM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) plans to roll out the Spike channel in the U.K.
    • The launch will be the first step in a broad global roll-out of the male-oriented channel.
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  • Oct. 6, 2014, 7:09 AM
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) plans to open a Nickelodeon specialty store in London during Q2 of 2015.
    • The company has decided to make a broader global push into consumer products with new stores in Saudi Arabia and Moscow also in the works.
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  • Sep. 26, 2014, 5:37 PM
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  • Sep. 22, 2014, 5:35 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: NM +7.5%. GIMO +5.9%. CLD +5.3%. SM +5.2%. KEG +4.8%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: ASNA -11.1%. AVNR -6.0%. GEL -4.9%. APTS -4.4%. VIAB -3.2%.
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  • Sep. 10, 2014, 10:30 AM
    • Sony (NYSE:SNE) strikes a deal with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) which could be an important boost for its upcoming online TV service.
    • Viacom networks (BET, Comedy Central, MTV, MTV2 Nickelodeon, Nick Jr.) will be included in Sony's online TV programming on a live basis, as opposed to the delayed-viewing model of  Hulu and Netflix.
    • More details on Sony's cloud-based TV service are expected to be released in the near future.
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  • Sep. 6, 2014, 8:43 AM
    • The "total" yield of a company combines the dividend yield and the buyback yield - that is the yield boost from reducing the total amount of shares outstanding. Together with S&P's Howard Silverblatt, Barron's puts together a list of the top 20 companies in the S&P 500 based on "total" yield.
    • While buybacks don't guarantee a strong stock - witness consistent buyback champs like IBM and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) - Warren Buffett goes to bed at night praying for IBM's share price to go down so the company can buy back more stock for a given dollar amount (though The Oracle has said he doesn't expect this logic to win many fans).
    • The flip-side are those companies - financials and energy come to mind - who tend to buy back stock at high prices only to find themselves forced to reissue it at lower prices when times get tough. A consistent plan helps, and Travelers (NYSE:TRV), under CEO Jay Fishman, has been maybe the best example of this - halving the share count since the end of 2006.
    • ETFs? The Powershares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PKW) gained 45.6% in 2013, 1,300 basis points better than the S&P 500. Since inception in 2006, it's up an annualized 9%, more than 200 basis points better than the S&P. A newcomer - the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:SYLD) - has beaten the S&P by about 250 basis points since its May 2013 inception.
    • The list (ranked in order of "total" yield): ADT, CAM, CF, MOS, MPC, VIAB, GLW, ITW, STX, IBM, NOC, CTL, TRV, VRSN, IR, CCE, KSS, NTAP, HES, DO.
  • Aug. 28, 2014, 8:59 AM
    • Cowen Research analyst Doug Creutz thinks the soft summer box office season this year is evidence of a secular decline in domestic attendance as viewing habits evolve.
    • The analysis runs counter to the line of thought of some media analysts who think a weak and uninspiring summer slate is the culprit.
    • Creutz points out that the number of summer releases is in-line with historical averages, while box office bulls note tent-poles are spread out throughout the year more than in the past making the summer compare tougher.
    • On tap in 2015: Blockbuster releases next year include Star Wars: Episode VII (Lucasfilm), Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel), Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Lionsgate), The Good Dinosaur (Walt Disney Pictures), Bond 24 (Columbia).
    • Related stocks: CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, LGF, SNE, CMCSA, DIS, VIA, VIAB, IMAX.
  • Aug. 18, 2014, 11:44 AM
    • The top 12 films in the U.S. took in $128.8M over the weekend to mark a 6% improvement over last year's corresponding haul.
    • U.S. box office sales for August are on track to set a record for the month.
    • The development gives some support to the argument that the weak box office in June and July was tied to a weak slate - not fundamental demand shifts.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (VIA, VIAB) and Guardian of the Galaxy (NYSE:DIS) took in $28.4M and $24.7M, respectively, to dominate the weekend - while Expendables 3 (NYSE:LGF) limped in with a disappointing $16.3M opening.
    • Related stocks: RGC, AMC, CNK, IMAX, RLD, SNE, CMCSA, TWX, MCS, RDI, CKEC, FOXA, DWA.
  • Aug. 13, 2014, 12:46 PM
    • Nielsen ratings for cable TV viewing fell 6.8% in July, while broadcast viewership was off 3.7% for the period.
    • The development comes on top of a weak upfront for the fall season which could pressure media companies in 2H, and widespread interest in the World Cup which aired on ABC and ESPN during the month.
    • Broadcast viewership Y/Y gains/losses: ABC +3%, Fox -12%, CBS -6%, NBC -2%.
    • Cable viewership Y/Y gains/losses by parent: AMCX -15%, FOXA +12%, SNI +2%, DIS +1%, DISCA -9%, VIAB -9%, NBCU (NASDAQ:CMCSA) -11%, TWX -17% A&E -20%.
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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.