|Bid||34.47 x 900|
|Ask||34.94 x 800|
|Day's range||34.41 - 35.79|
|52-week range||31.71 - 47.74|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||0.96|
|PE ratio (TTM)||12.22|
|Earnings date||22 Apr 2020 - 26 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.92 (2.50%)|
|Ex-dividend date||30 Mar 2020|
|1y target est||49.27|
The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia announced today it has received a $5 million contribution from Aileen and Brian Roberts, and their family, to give laptops to Philadelphia students so they can begin learning from home by mid-April.
(Bloomberg) -- The broadband sector could become a safe haven for investors looking to store cash in the event of a financial crisis.Demand for internet access will be recession-proof, if history is an indicator. A Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis from 2009 to 2010 showed total household spending declined year-over-year while computer information and cable services spending increased. That may be even more the case now amid the coronavirus outbreak, as many Americans are working remotely from home and relying on streaming services like Netflix Inc. for entertainment.“The criticality of broadband has increased since the global financial crisis,” Gregory Williams, an analyst covering cable and satellite services at Cowen, said in a note to clients. It’s “now considered a fairly price inelastic utility-like necessity.”AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Altice USA Inc. are among the long list of potential benefactors providing internet-based services across the U.S. Pure-play businesses like Charter are seen best positioned for upside. Shares of the Stamford, Connecticut-based company have fallen just 8% since the beginning of the year, compared to a 20% decline in the S&P 500 Index.Michael McKenzie, managing director of private investment firm Grain Management, said that broadband connections grew 15% from 2008 to 2009. While there’s no guarantee that will happen this time, the sector is likely to fare better than cable or entertainment peers as consumers look to cut discretionary spending.“I think it’s highly unlikely that [broadband connectivity] declines in a recession,” McKenzie said in an interview. It “should be a safe bet” given its historic stability, he said.McKenzie said there may be some “depressed” spending in certain sectors like hospitality. But in general, stocks linked to mobile network operators and tower owners will “tend to benefit from what we see coming out of this crisis.”(Corrects broadband connection growth in fifth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If the world were ending, I’m convinced that all that would be left are cockroaches and the cable giants. Things aren’t quite that bad, but they aren’t good either. And yet, as the coronavirus pandemic sends the U.S. into a recession, Brian Roberts may have reason to be among the least worried from his perch at Comcast Corp., the Roberts’s $150 billion family business. On Tuesday, Comcast submitted a regulatory filing alerting investors that the coronavirus pandemic “could have a material adverse impact” on operational results and that management isn’t sure to what extent or for how long. Like Walt Disney Co., Comcast had to close all of its Universal theme parks in Florida, California and Japan. Its Universal Pictures studio has had to delay movies that were set to be released soon in theaters, including pushing back “F9,” the latest installment of its money-making “Fast and the Furious” franchise, to April of next year. TV and film production all across Hollywood is also at a halt. Then there’s the big cheese: the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee and Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, where the 2020 summer games were set to be held, agreed to postpone the event for about a year. It’s a blow both to Comcast’s NBC network, which was set to broadcast the Olympics for U.S. viewers, and to Discovery Inc., which had secured the TV rights in Europe. NBCUniversal had already sold most of its advertising space for the event, more than $1 billion that the business will no longer see this year. It’s also a downer for NBCUniversal’s upcoming launch of Peacock, an ad-supported streaming-TV service that was going to feature coverage of the Tokyo Olympics in a bid to attract subscribers. Still, even as the coronavirus is rippling through Comcast’s NBCUniversal operations, they represent a relatively small portion of the company’s overall profits. Nearly 70% of last year’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — about $23 billion — came instead from Comcast’s cable group. And increasingly, cable revenues are generated by the more dependable internet side of the business than the shrinking pay-TV side.Comcast added 1.4 million high-speed internet customers in 2019, mostly residential. That outpaced the 733,000 video customers it lost during the year. It’s how Comcast has maintained a grip on subscribers even as more of them turn to streaming apps such as Netflix. As recently as 2017, triple-play subscribers were the majority, paying for internet, TV and landline phone service; now a greater portion have just internet. That makes the “cord-cutting” trend a bit of a misnomer. Comcast and other cable giants are still very much present in our homes because you still need internet access to stream. A reliable connection is also more important than ever as Americans shelter in place, trying to work and study remotely, often with a single household using multiples devices at once. What’s more, Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast, told investors during a conference earlier this month that the company is insured against its expenses tied to the Olympics. So while there’s no profit to be made from an event that doesn’t happen, there won’t be losses either. Matthew Harrigan, an analyst for Benchmark & Co., lowered his forecast for NBC broadcast sales to $10.3 billion, which is still a more than 1 percent increase from last year. He sees revenue for Comcast overall only slightly down for the year, with Ebitda falling 7%, in part due to costly upfront investments in the Peacock app. A recession could drive more people to ditch expensive pay-TV packages and cause advertisers to cut their budgets. That wouldn’t be good for either side of Comcast. But for now, Comcast’s bread-and-butter cable business is providing good insulation.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Comcast announces rolling free previews from premium networks and subscription video on demand (SVOD) services for its Xfinity X1 and Flex customers.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The tension between the media and technology industries has long been characterized as a fight for users’ attention. The more of it they have, the greater the opportunity to sell new products and services.The advertising technology giants Facebook Inc. and Google have turned that into a $200 billion-a-year business. Now that millions of people are stuck at home trying to isolate themselves from the coronavirus, there should be greater opportunity to secure their attention. Facebook’s particular vector for securing users’ attention is connecting them with others, and in the era of self-isolation digital connections have become a lifeline.The hitch is that when brands hit a rough patch, advertising budgets are the first things they cut. Broadcasters are already feeling the impact: NBC parent Comcast Inc. has warned of the negative effects on its business, while Britain’s ITV Plc. abandoned its 2020 revenue outlook and dividend as advertisers cut spending. Twitter Inc. has also scrapped its earnings outlook for the first quarter.So Facebook’s announcement on Tuesday that its business was being “adversely affected” because of a “weakening in our ads business” shouldn’t have come as a big surprise. Significantly, however, the Menlo Park, California-based company stopped short of altering its (admittedly rather vague) existing first-quarter guidance, which anticipates revenue growth that will “decelerate by low to mid-single digit percentage points” compared with the end of 2019.For the Silicon Valley companies, the difficulties are relative. Sure, they might be enduring some bumps, but their problems aren’t as severe as those of the TV industry — the advertising market overall will still expand this year. Cowen & Co. analysts still expect the U.S. ads market to grow 7%, albeit down from an earlier estimate of 11%. If previous years are any guide, Facebook and Google will hoover up most of that growth. Shutdowns also seem to be forming new habits that benefit the social media platforms. More time at home seems to mean more time in front of a screen. I’ve posted more on Instagram in the past week than in the previous two months. Facebook itself has revealed a significant jump in engagement: 50% more messaging in countries most affected by the virus; a doubling of voice and video calling on WhatsApp and Messenger; in Italy, people are spending 70% more time across Facebook’s products. People seem to be setting aside the justifiable concerns about the firm’s data practices, which have tempered engagement in recent quarters. Efforts to ensure that accurate messaging from governments and health authorities secures prominent placement on its platforms may be securing Facebook some true good will.If even a fraction of the new engagement trends are sustained beyond the crisis, then a few quarters of slower advertising growth won’t be a concern for Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg — it’s unlikely even that he’ll have to touch the firm’s $44 billion net cash position. He has managed consistently to increase average revenue per user because Facebook has significant power to increase the cost of ads, as does Google. The moment the advertising market returns — and it surely will, whether in three, nine or 12 months— he could well find himself with more active users.More active users will mean more attention. And ultimately, that means more money.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- With coronavirus shutting down movie theaters in the U.S., films that should still be playing on the big screen are dominating most-downloaded lists.Over the weekend, Universal Pictures’ “The Invisible Man” and Walt Disney Co.’s “Onward” were the two most popular movies to buy or rent on FandangoNow, an online service. Both were supposed to be exclusively in theaters for the next several weeks, but those plans were upended when most of the 40,000 U.S. theaters closed due to the outbreak.Studios are hoping to recoup some of the lost business by giving viewers quarantined in their homes an early opportunity to watch new films. That means practically every first-run movie, including “Birds of Prey,” from AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Sony Corp.’s “Bad Boys for Life,” will be accessible to everyone with a TV, internet connection and $20.“As fans continue to look for new content to watch at home, FandangoNow has experienced its biggest weekend ever,” said Cameron Douglas, who oversees the service. “We expect to see another big week ahead.”But rentals are unlikely to make up for what filmmakers and distributors lose from the shuttered theaters. Some studios opted to delay major films scheduled to premiere in March, April or May, rather than make them available at home early. The box office is still the biggest source of revenue for new films, even though half of ticket sales go to theaters.Universal made three new movies available on demand Friday, including “Invisible Man,” “The Hunt” and “Emma.” All were among the 10 most popular digital downloads on FandangoNow, the service said Monday, without giving exact figures. Fandango is owned by Comcast Corp., which also owns Universal.Some older favorites could see a sales boost from quarantined fans. Disney’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was the fifth most popular film on FandangoNOW over the weekend. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s “Knives Out,” which premiered in November, was also in the top 10.(Updates with quote from FandangoNow executive in fourth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Television mogul and comedian Byron Allen sharply criticized a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday that sided with Comcast.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- A few weeks ago, there was entirely too much TV content for Americans to watch and not enough hours in the day. How quickly it will start to feel as though just the opposite is true.What’s on TV is a relatively minor concern in the grand scheme of things: The novel coronavirus is now present in every U.S. state, and more than 300 people in the country are known to have died as a result of Covid-19. At this rate, hospitals worry they’ll run out of space and life-saving equipment, and so Americans are being advised to hunker down to slow the spread. In this nationwide social-distancing experiment, media companies such as Comcast Corp., Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. do have a role to play. The isolation will only get more difficult as the days wear on. Entertainment can help keep us from going stir-crazy and from giving in to the temptation to meet up with friends and go back to normal life. Because this moment is so unprecedented, it’s hard to foresee the economic impact, other than that it will be painful, a pain that will be felt most severely by hourly workers. That can make conversations about what’s on Netflix feel tone-deaf. And still, it’s a very big part of how our consumption habits will change in the ensuing weeks and months. It doesn’t take a survey to know that when people are stuck home, TV viewership will go up. The closest Nielsen can get to predicting how much is to look at the aftermath of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Houston area in August 2017. It found that total television usage surged 56% in that market after that storm. Likewise, when a January 2016 blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on New York, usage rose 45% and produced a 61% increase in streaming via TV.At the same time, the surge in demand may expose more of the industry’s problems. Sports programming is the biggest reason to still pay for traditional cable TV, but for the moment there aren’t any live sports to watch. The NBA, NHL, MLB and other leagues have all postponed or canceled games because of the virus (and so ESPN is having to get creative). The pandemic may in turn drive more households to ditch the $100-plus cable bundle and switch to streaming-TV services such as Disney+, Apple TV+ and (soon) HBO Max. But as much as these services brag about the thousands of hours of movies and shows they have, which sounds like a lot, the truth is that people may grow bored with any of these apps relatively quickly when forced to spend so much extra time with one.All of the media giants have been spending like mad during the last year on content to stock their new streaming apps, including expensive rights deals for access to re-runs of old favorites such as “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” That there isn’t enough to watch will be more of a feeling than a reality, but it speaks to the growing frustration with the new TV ecosystems that are being created independent of one another.In my own 11 days of isolation, much of it under the weather, I’ve run out of Netflix titles — not literally, but after endless scrolling and previewing, there doesn’t seem to be anything left that I want to see or can force myself to sit through. More content is being added to Netflix all the time, and normally that’s enough, but the five-day wait for the next season of “Ozark” suddenly feels like torture. Disney+ subscribers who signed up for and finished the first season of “The Mandalorian” are probably getting antsy, too, given that there’s not much else like it on the service. It announced Friday, though, that Pixar’s “Onward” was made available early on demand for $20 and that it will be added to the Disney+ library April 3. Meanwhile, the outbreak has forced studios to halt production of upcoming programs.Comcast’s Universal is also making current film releases “The Invisible Man,” “Emma” and “The Hunt” available to rent on demand for $20 each since theaters are closed or closing. Those who can afford Amazon Prime at $119 a year have access to another bucket of content, and the free shipping may come in handy in the online hunt for toilet paper and antibacterial wipes. But in a recession, the already tense pricing dynamics of the streaming industry will be put to the test. In theory, streaming is a more affordable alternative to cable. The problem, as ever, is that everyone's favorite content is being spread out behind different paywalls, and that won’t be much help for families feeling financial strain. Those facing the prospect of lost jobs or lost work hours won’t have the luxury of subscribing to everything.There’s also the increasingly precious home-internet bandwidth. Already in Europe, Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and Google’s YouTube have all agreed to temporarily reduce the speed of their streams to avoid overloading networks while so many people are working from home.It could be that the extra time to binge on content leads to higher churn than the companies were previously expecting. Perhaps it increases the appeal of free, ad-supported apps such as Pluto TV (owned by ViacomCBS Inc.), Tubi (which just sold to Fox Corp.) and Comcast’s soon-to-come Peacock. Was it a mistake for other streaming services not to pursue free, ad-supported viewing options given that there’s now an even bigger captive audience? Or is some advertiser demand drying up because people will be doing far less shopping while trapped indoors on tighter budgets? For now, there are more questions than answers. But consumer behavior will be interesting to observe as the streaming experiment meets the social-distancing experiment. Just don’t forget to wipe down the remote every so often.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Hollywood is being forced to adapt amidst the coronavirus pandemic as some studios have decided to go direct-to consumer earlier than anticipated.
Hulu's streaming service is available almost everywhere. Xfinity Flex is Comcast's streaming device for broadband customers who would use it as an alternative to something like Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV, for example. Hulu wasn't the only major streaming service missing from Flex -- Disney Plus isn't yet available, and neither is Sling TV, Spotify, CBS All Access and others.
(Bloomberg) -- Prepare for lots of fake applause, canned laughter and repeats.As coronavirus halts major live events and TV productions across Europe, broadcasters are struggling to keep their schedules full and entertaining for people now stuck at home.It’s requiring some ingenuity and sleights of hand: in Germany, broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is airing live hit show “The Masked Singer” without a studio audience, sprucing up the singing competition with audio of applause recorded during last week’s episode.In the U.K., long-running BBC soap opera “Eastenders” has been postponed and is effectively being rationed, cut from four episodes to two per week, so that existing programs already filmed can last for “as long as possible,” the BBC said in a statement. In ITV Plc’s rival soap opera, “Coronation Street,” kissing scenes have been banned.The virus is challenging traditional broadcasters more than streaming giants like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., which are less reliant on live programming and advertising revenue, both of which have been badly hit. For example, the suspension of top-flight club soccer and postponement of UEFA’s Euro 2020 competition have left large gaps in the schedules of Comcast Corp.’s Sky, ITV and France’s RMC Sport, owned by Altice Europe NV.TV Industry Faces Billions in Lost Ads During Sports Hiatus (1)“It’s a perfect storm,” said John Turner, global head of media practice at management consultants Oliver Wyman. He said long-term production of shows will be shelved and broadcasters won’t be able to charge such high advertising rates when showing old library content. Pan-regional broadcasters, like Discovery Inc.’s Eurosport and Time Warner Inc.’s CNN, will also suffer as they tend to benefit from global tourism marketing and luxury brand ads, which have declined steeply due to the virus. “It’s going to be ugly,” said Turner.Virus Restrictions Seen Boosting Disney’s Europe Streaming DebutSky is allowing viewers to freeze payments for sport subscriptions after the English soccer Premier League was put on hold. It will replace live games with feature programs and archive footage. In France, RMC Sport will broadcast documentaries and famous old matches such as European Cup games to fill its scheduling gap, Herve Beroud, Altice Media’s deputy director general in charge of news and sports, said in a radio interview on Wednesday.“There’s no black screen, obviously,” Beroud said. “We have a large catalog.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- NBCUniversal is putting its newest films online in response to the coronavirus and restrictions that are keeping people from theaters, potentially breaking the cinema industry’s decades-old grip on movie releases.Pictures will be available for a 48-hour rental on cable systems owned by NBC parent Comcast Corp. and other services, the studio said Monday. DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls World Tour” will be the first release, with other movies available as soon as March 20.While others haven’t said whether they’ll also bring films to homes sooner, Universal’s move will be closely watched by Hollywood executives who have have long sought to shrink the “theatrical window,” the 70 to 90 days of exclusivity enjoyed by cinema owners. An earlier home release could cut marketing costs and boost revenue for the studios.“It’s going to be hard to go back once they get a taste of it,” said Tom Ara, co-chair of entertainment at the law firm DLA Piper, noting that Chinese companies have also released films online in lieu of a theatrical releases.Traditionally, when a movie is released, theater owners get exclusive screening rights for up to three months. That’s followed by high-priced online rentals, along with digital and physical DVD sales through retailers like Walmart and Amazon.com. After that, studios sells TV rights to premium cable channels like HBO and streaming services such as Netflix.Netflix Inc., as one of the biggest movie producers in Hollywood, has also challenged big theater chains by releasing its movies for streaming on the same day they open in cinemas. The major chains, however, have refused to screen its pictures.Sales CycleNow the novel coronavirus is upending the historical sales cycle. Limits on mass gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19 have forced cinema chains to shut auditoriums and limit ticket sales -- leading to the worst weekend ticket sales in two decades.Major exhibitors may not be in a position to fight this time around. Their shares have plunged with the closings of theaters and the broader market’s drop due to coronavirus fears. Both AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Cinemark Holdings Inc. face possible downgrades in their debt ratings.While movie theaters closed weeks ago in China, the impact in the U.S. was sudden, in some cases after studios had spent tens of millions of dollars marketing films to potential audiences that now have no theaters open nearby. No. 2 U.S. exhibitor Regal said only Monday it would fully close its circuit.“Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters,” a spokesman for Universal said in a statement.What of Mulan?Fans have also called for Walt Disney Co. to offer “Mulan” online, after its release date was pushed back from March 27.But deciding to scuttle or undercut theatrical sales for a $200 million production isn’t as easy as it is for a horror film that cost just $7 million to make.Universal, which is charging $19.99 for the rentals, took its step with a trio of movies that look to have limited box office prospects. “Invisible Man” had already been in release for a few weeks, while “The Hunt” arrived in the middle of the crisis and did just $5.3 million in its opening.“Trolls World Tour” was set to open April 10, with Box Office Pro forecasting $23.5 million in North American sales for the opening weekend.To contact the reporters on this story: Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org;Kelly Gilblom in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
NBCUniversal announced today that its movie studio Universal Pictures and specialty label Focus Features will be releasing their films in theaters and on-demand, simultaneously. In other words, it's eliminating the theatrical window — the period between when you can watch a movie in theaters and when you can watch in the comfort of your home.
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