Morning Fix: Any white knights for Time Warner? Netflix hits 50-million mark.
After the coffee. Before the joy of giving my cat a pill.
The Skinny: I watched Episode 3 of HBO’s “The Leftovers” last night. I think I’m done. I’m just not getting hooked and last night I found myself fast-forwarding, which is never a good sign. Today’s roundup includes a look at potential white knights for Time Warner. Also, Comcast and Netflix release earnings and there’s a shake-up at CBS Films.
Daily Dose: The cable operator Mediacom wants the Federal Communications Commission to get involved in how programming is sold to pay-TV distributors. In a filing at the agency, Mediacom asks the FCC to make it harder for big programming companies such as Viacom and 21st Century Fox to sell their channels in big bundles. “Programmers can and do effectively force MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] and their video customers to purchase unwanted networks,” Mediacom said. In other words, even if all you want are the popular channels, you have to carry the less popular ones. Mediacom also wants the FCC to look into the huge discounts programmers give big distributors such as Comcast and DirecTV. Mediacom and other smaller distributors gripe that such discounts raise prices for everyone else.
Any white knights out there? 21st Century Fox’s rebuffed $80-billion offer for Time Warner effectively put the entertainment giant in play. Now the questions are when will 21st Century Fox make a higher offer and will any other potential suitors emerge. Meanwhile, Time Warner’s board adopted a new provision that would make it difficult for any dissident shareholders to assist in a hostile takeover effort. A look at who else could kick Time Warner’s tires and the company’s latest defensive move from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg.
Another milestone. Netflix has passed 50 million streaming customers around the globe, including more than 36 million in the United States. Profits at Netflix for the second quarter hit $71 million, more than double from the same period a year ago. Revenue grew 25% to $1.34 billion. And, of course, Netflix stock rose in after-hours trading. More on Netflix’s results from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
Profit up, video subscribers down. Cable and entertainment giant Comcast reported second-quarter earnings of $1.99 billion, a 15% gain over the same period a year ago. Revenues were up 3.5% to almost $16.8 billion. The company added broadband subscribers but experienced drops in video subscribers. Its NBCUniversal unit was flat at $6 billion as Universal Pictures had a soft quarter. An early look at the numbers from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
Start the press. There has been a shake-up at CBS Films. Nikki Finke reports that Terry Press has taken over as president. Press had been sharing that title with Wolfgang Hammer (great name) but Hammer has quietly left the CBS unit, which makes low-budget films. Finke says there have been additional cuts at the studio in the last few weeks.
Aereo by numbers. Aereo, the start-up service that shut down after losing a legal fight with the broadcasters whose local signals it was streaming on the Internet, had about 80,000 subscribers. Aereo always refused to provide the media with even an estimate of how many subscribers it had, but a recent filing with the U.S. Copyright Office provided enough information to determine just how many people it had signed up. Details on the numbers from Re/Code.
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