Sep. 8, 2014, 2:39 PM
- A new report from Nielsen puts some numbers to the escalating transition of TV viewing toward digital channels.
- In the key 18-34 year old demographic, digital video consumption rose 53% to 35 minutes a day.
- The digital growth rate was even higher for the 35-49 year old group with a 80% rise to 26 minutes a day.
- 50-64 year olds increased digital viewing by 60%.
- Live TV viewing dropped 1%-2% across age groups.
- Related stocks: CHTR, CVC, TWC, NFLX, DISH, DTV, VZ,
- Nielsen Cross-Platform Report
Sep. 8, 2014, 7:40 AM
- Available before year-end, Verizon Auto Share will allow users to find a vehicle, unlock it, and drive away within minutes. Not getting into the auto rental business, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) will work with rental companies and others, using its network to hook up drivers and vehicles quickly and securely.
- Pricing hasn't been announced, but businesses will be charged monthly based on how many cars are connected and whether they are equipped with W--Fi and/or other add-ons.
- The services will be demonstrated at ITS World Congress in Detroit this week.
- Source: Press Release
Sep. 4, 2014, 11:56 AM
Aug. 15, 2014, 11:25 AM
- Cable and satellite providers ended Q2 with more broadband subscribers than video customers, according to Leichtman Research Group.
- An important distinction is that the pace of cord-cutting declined during the quarter as many customers simply shifted to packages such as U-verse or FiOS away from traditional cable.
- Analyst Craig Moffett notes the pay-TV industry is growing revenue at twice the clip as the wireless business which seems to defeat the suggestion of some that it's a dying entity.
- Related stocks: CHTR, CVC, TWC, DISH, DTV, VZ, T.
Aug. 6, 2014, 12:42 PM
- AT&T (T -1.5%) and Verizon (VZ -1%) are lower following news Sprint is abandoning its attempt to acquire T-Mobile (at least for now) due to regulatory opposition, and has sacked CEO Dan Hesse.
- "Four national wireless providers is good for American consumers," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler declared in a statement today. "Sprint now has an opportunity to focus their efforts on robust competition."
- As a standalone entity, T-Mobile has become a thorn in Verizon and (especially) AT&T's side, grabbing both postpaid and prepaid share thanks to aggressive pricing and a slew of promotions. The "Un-carrier" posted 1.5M net subscriber adds in Q2, including 908K branded postpaid net adds.
- T-Mobile's price pressure is unlikely to abate if Iliad succeeds in its bid to buy the company, given Iliad's track record in France. Sprint, meanwhile, may get more aggressive under new CEO Marcelo Claure (the founder of mobile distributor Brightstar), as it tries to reverse many quarters of share losses.
Jul. 31, 2014, 1:02 PM
- France's Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) is offering $15B in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +7.3%) at a price of $33/share. Iliad values the remaining 43.4% at $40.50/share. Sprint (S -5.3%) has been reported to be planning a ~$40/share deal.
- Iliad says it has obtained financing from unnamed banks, and would also do a capital raise to help pay for the deal. One issue: Iliad has a current market cap of just $16B, less than T-Mobile's $24.8B and Sprint's $30.6B. Sprint has reportedly lined up a $40B+ debt package to finance a T-Mobile deal.
- A source tells the WSJ Iliad, which has upended the French mobile market with its aggressive pricing, views a T-Mobile merger as a "one-time opportunity to enter the world's-largest telecoms market."
- Iliad also thinks (perhaps with good reason, given FCC/DOJ remarks) regulators will be more comfortable with its bid than Sprint's, since Iliad has no U.S. presence.
- AT&T (T -2%) and Verizon (VZ -2.3%) have joined Sprint in selling off, as investors mull the possibility of a deal that would leave the number of nationwide U.S. carriers at 4. Concerns about Iliad's pricing history might also be weighing on shares.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCQX:DTEGY
- Earlier: Iliad reportedly bids for T-Mobile USA
Jul. 29, 2014, 2:08 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.4%) says it will agree to binding arbitration to settle its dispute with DirecTV (DTV +0.8%) over a carriage fee deal for the SportsNet LA network which includes coverage of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball.
- DirecTV hasn't indicated yet it will agree to enter arbitration as it continues to push for an a la carte option for its customers. Meanwhile, close to 70% of the Los Angeles TV/broadband market can't access Dodgers baseball.
- The TWC-DTV spat is being closely watched by the pay-TV industry (T, CHTR, CVC, DISH, VZ) and sports network owners (DIS, FOXA, TWX, CMCSA, CBS) as the issue of bundling regional sports networks into packages remains a hot topic.
Jul. 29, 2014, 12:14 PM
- "I’m skeptical it can be replicated," says Elevation LLC's Stephen Sweeney about Windstream's (WIN +12.9%) REIT spinoff plans. "It’s very unclear if other large cap companies can have their companies viewed by the IRS as real estate."
- UBS also has its doubts: It thinks AT&T (T +3.3%) and Verizon (VZ +1.8%) would have to open up their networks to rivals if they were spun off into REITs, something it doesn't think the carriers will be keen on doing.
- Oppenheimer's Tim Horan is more positive, albeit while cautioning Windstream's spinoff isn't a done deal. "If successful with this restructuring, and there are obviously high regulatory barriers, this will be a game changer for the valuation of non-REIT infrastructure stocks in our industry.”
- AT&T, Verizon, Windstream, Frontier (FTR +11.7%), and CenturyLink (CTL +4.2%) have pared their morning gains a bit amid volatile trading on very heavy volumes. AT&T has seen 66M shares trade vs. a daily average of 19.3M; Frontier has seen 89M trade vs. an average of 6.9M.
- Enthusiasm about Windstream's spinoff stems not only from the tax benefits provided to REITs - American Tower's tax expense has been halved since it converted into a REIT in 2012 - but also from the potential for spinoffs to spark new M&A activity.
- Windstream CFO Tony Thomas: "The REIT is going to be uniquely positioned to be in a great spot to help unlock value at other companies ... We have a good understanding of how the REIT opportunity could work in the telecom landscape."
- Earlier: Telcos soar following Windstream's REIT announcement
Jul. 29, 2014, 10:14 AM
- Windstream's (WIN +22.3%) plans to spin off some of its telecom network assets into a REIT (following a favorable IRS ruling) has lit a fire under U.S. telecom carriers, as investors bet more REIT announcements will happen. Some might also be hoping REIT spinoffs spark additional M&A activity in an industry that has seen plenty of it.
- Frontier (FTR +15.8%) and CenturyLink (CTL +8.1%) are also off to the races, and AT&T (T +3.9%), Verizon (VZ +1.9%), and Sprint (S +2%) aren't doing badly either.
- Other gainers include Alaska Communications (ALSK +5.2%), TDS (TDS +4.1%), and Lumos Networks (LMOS +5.5%), as well as Level 3 (LVLT +5.9%) and merger partner TW Telecom (TWTC +5.2%). Level 3 posted a Q2 beat this morning.
- Windstream's spinoff will feature its fiber/copper networks and other real estate. The company expects to retire $3.2B in debt following the spinoff (expected to close in Q1 2015), and to have the REIT raise $3.5B in debt.
- Windstream plans to have an aggregate annual dividend of $0.70/share following the spinoff ($0.60 for the REIT, $0.10 for Windstream proper). That's down from a current $1.00/share.
Jul. 24, 2014, 12:10 PM
- Looking to take advantage of still-favorable corporate debt markets, Verizon (VZ +0.5%) is selling $2B in 2020 notes, $4.5B in 2046 notes, and $5.5B in 2054 notes. The debt is respectively priced just 95 bps, 155 bps, and 170 bps above the yields for the most comparable Treasurys. (PR)
- Verizon will use the proceeds to make exchange offers for 11 debt series'. Their maturity dates range from 2016-2043, and all but two have have yields above 6%.
- Verizon's bonds have rallied in response to the offering. The carrier had $104.2B in net debt at the end of Q2, after taking on over $60B in debt to help pay for the Vodafone deal.
Jul. 22, 2014, 9:33 AM
- As previously disclosed, Verizon (VZ +0.6%) had 1.4M retail postpaid net adds in Q2, up from 941K a year ago and increasing the total base to 98.6M. 1.15M tablet net adds contributed heavily to the gains. Phone net adds were 304K. On the other hand, retail prepaid subs fell by 14K to 6.04M.
- Wireless service revenue growth slowed to 5.9% Y/Y from 7.5% in Q1, but is still healthier than AT&T/Sprint's. Equipment revenue (pressures margins) +22.2%, boosted by smartphone upgrade plan adoption. Wireless op. margin +10 bps Y/Y to 32.5%.
- Retail postpaid churn was 0.94% vs. 1.07% in Q1 and 0.93% a year ago. Average revenue/account (ARPA) rose fractionally Q/Q and 4.7% Y/Y to $159.73.
- Wireline revenue (31% of total) +0.3% Y/Y vs. -0.4% in Q1. Consumer revenue +5.3%, but small business -2.2%, global enterprise -1.9%, and global wholesale -5.5%. Wireline op. margin was just 2.7%, but that's up from 0.8% a year ago.
- FiOS TV adds totaled 100K, and Internet adds139K. Those numbers are up from Q1 levels, but down from year-ago levels. Verizon now has 5.4M FiOS TV subs, and 6.3M FiOS Internet subs. Total FiOS revenue +14.4% Y/Y.
- Verizon still expects 2014 capex of $16.5B-$17.5B vs. $16.6B in 2013.
- Q1 results, PR
Jul. 22, 2014, 6:31 AM
Jul. 21, 2014, 5:30 PM
Jul. 21, 2014, 2:35 AM
- Due to slowing growth for its FiOS TV and broadband service, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is now looking to regain market share with a new offering - faster upload speed.
- In Q1, Verizon's broadband customer additions slowed to 98k from 188k the year earlier, after facing strong competition from the cable industry.
- FiOS says it will make available the same upload speeds as download speeds that its customers already subscribe to, for no additional charge.
- The full roll-out should be completed by the fall.
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:19 PM
- The 2014 World Cup has delivered smashing ratings reports for ESPN, Univision, and ABC - but has also exposed a weakness in the TV Everywhere platform for coverage of live events, reports GigaOm.
- The complicated process to transcode video feeds into a content delivery network can create a delay of up to 20 seconds - plenty of time for spoilers to crop up for viewers through their online feeds, mobile devices, or nearby friends.
- Though the delay isn't considered a big enough complication to derail TV Everywhere, it's another annoyance for viewers already frustrated with the authentication process.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC, CMCSA, DISCA, CBS, VZ.
Jul. 10, 2014, 2:12 PM
- The remarks from Verizon (VZ +1.3%) CEO Lowell McAdam (made during a CNBC talk) indicate Verizon's postpaid adds rose dramatically in Q2 from a disappointing Q1 level of 539K, and were also up from the 941K delivered in Q2 2013.
- Shares have caught a bid on the comments, which come ahead of Big Red's July 22 Q2 report. The postpaid figure vindicates (for now) Verizon's decision to stick to a premium pricing strategy (unlike AT&T/Sprint) in response to T-Mobile's aggressive promotions. The carrier has been counting on its network/coverage edge to keep high-ARPU postpaid subs loyal.
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Verizon Communications Incis a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its two segments are Wireless and Wireline.
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