Media CEOs don’t run their companies by themselves. Having looked at chiefs whose pay is out of whack, and those who are paid the most, here are others of note: the five best compensated company chairs, COOs, CFOs, and General Counsels as well as 10 other execs with standout compensation. We find that the five highest paid chairs collectively made $106.5M (+4.1% vs. 2011), with the COOs at $136.2M (+7.5%), CFOs at $77.9M (-15.0%), and General Counsels at $42M (+6.4%). Keep some caveats in mind with these results: I looked only at chairs who aren’t also CEOs, and there aren’t that many. (To avoid duplication, I combined the compensation that Sumner Redstone collected at CBS and Viacom, and that Charles Dolan received at Cablevision and AMC Networks.) Also, it’s often hard to define the roles that execs play. For example, Disney and Comcast don’t list a COO and Comcast’s CFO is also the Vice Chairman. So these compensation figures from company proxy statements can help you to see how the media power elite stack up, but only tell part of the story. Finally, remember that the SEC requires companies to provide compensation information for their five top executives. It’s safe to assume that several unlisted execs at big companies were paid more than some listed execs at smaller ones. Here’s how some of media’s top non-CEOs fared in 2012:
Less than two months after a judge entered a not guilty plea for him, James Holmes now wants to claim not guilty by reason of insanity. In a not unexpected filing today, lawyers for the accused Aurora theater shooter say they will formally request the plea change at a May 13 hearing. Holmes is accused of killing 12 moviegoers during a shooting spree last summer at a Cinemark theater midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. He is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes.
Add Cinemark to the list of exhibition chains licking their wounds from the weak Q1 box office. The company reports this morning that it generated net income of $33.1M, -22.9% vs the period last year, on revenues of $547.8M, -5.4%. The revenue figure was slightly short of the $550.4M that analysts anticipated. But earnings at 28 cents a share beat forecasts for 24 cents. Admissions revenues fell 6.4% to $349.4M as a 6.7% drop in worldwide attendance to 57.4M wiped out the 1 cent gain in the average ticket price to $6.09. And concession revenue fell 4.1% to $172.4M, even as average sales per patron rose 8 cents to $3. All of the fall-off in attendance took place at domestic theaters (-13% to 34.7M) while Cinemark’s international ones were up 4.8% to 22.8M.
No surprise about who topped the list of 2012′s highest paid CEOs at the media companies whose compensation practices I track most closely. (See here for an explanation). CBS’ Les Moonves returns to the head of the pack with $62.2M, even though his package was 11.1% smaller than it was in 2011. That was an anomaly: The top 20 collectively made $542.7M, up from $416.6M in 2011, according to company proxy statements filed at the SEC. It took $25.9M to crack the Top 10 — last year Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt made it with $16.4M. The most notable change in this year’s list vs 2011 is the jump by Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei to No. 2 from No. 28 as his company adjusted stock options just in case the feds change the corporate deduction this year for performance-based compensation.
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer also joins the top 10 following her move there from Google. Her appearance also highlights a quirk in this year’s list which has more CEOs than companies: Yahoo had three CEOs last year (Mayer is still there) and there were two apiece at Sirius XM (James Meyer replaced Mel Karmazin) and Cinemark (Tim Warner is now in charge). Also, remember that this list just includes corporate CEOs, not division chiefs or board chairs. I’ll be back soon with a list of the highest-paid media execs. The numbers on the right are the amount in millions of dollars for the total compensation as reported by each company.
Here’s our list of 2012′s highest-paid media CEOs:
Legislators and theater owners may be worried about the health of the moviegoing public, but vendor trends indicate audiences have other priorities. New sugary desserts joining conventional candy and ice cream offerings include milkshakes and s’mores, with many companies moving toward self-service machines. Those machines come at a high price point, however, but cut down on the costs of manpower behind the counter. That’s become a trend too, with exhibition execs attending CinemaCon this week quietly planning to cut hours for part-time employees to less than 30 hours a week in order to avoid paying for their health care under ObamaCare.
The self-serve milkshake vendor F’real is attempting to break into the movie theater racket after placing their units in 7500 locations in North America, according to the company. What’s paved the way is Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine, which allows customers to choose from hundreds of flavored soda combinations in a single unit. Theaters have been slow adopters of Freestyle, execs told me, because it alters the traditional behind-the-counter workflow of concessions counters. But with 14K units and counting springing up across the country and increasingly in major chain theaters, the long-developing technology is catching on.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg didn’t have the power to make soda regulations fly, but one movie studio did. Two years ago Disney enacted a sweeping health initiative across its brand and it’s still the only studio to voluntarily limit the use of its branding in concessions marketing to children. You won’t see Disney’s kid-targeted brands on movie theater cups larger than a kids’ size. Anything larger is strictly forbidden from licensing, which one movie-branding vendor discovered the hard way. “We tried to do a [larger] Cars cup for Cinemark, but Disney vetoed it”, RCM’s James McGinness said.
RCM’s display at CinemaCon included collectible 12 oz. kids cups with figurines for Disney’s Monsters University, Fox’s Epic and Turbo, Universal’s Despicable Me 2, and Sony’s Smurfs 2. Marvel’s PG-13 rated Iron Man 3 was the company’s lone new release product on display in larger sizes. Meanwhile, Movie Brand Package, another branding middle-man, put out a 32 oz. model plastered with graphics from Fox’s animated adventure Epic. Studios outside of Disney tend to have “no restrictions” where children’s branding is involved, I’m told. “I’m not aware of any other studios that have followed suit”, Disney’s Exhibitor Relations VP Nancy Klueter said. …
NYC exhibitors escaped Mayor Bloomberg’s attempted soda ban last month. But potential future government regulation of revenue-boosting concessions still has theater owners and operators concerned. And frustrated. “[These] taxations are truly money grabs by the government”, Cinemark Food & Beverage VP Bob Shimmin said at a CinemaCon panel this morning. “They’re not trying to make people healthier, they’re trying to balance their budgets”. Bloomberg’s rule would have limited sales of sugary soft drinks to 16 oz.-sized cups — the smallest portion most theaters even offer. Pushing smaller cup sizes to adults would actually backfire, spins NATO’s Deputy Director of Government Affairs Todd Halstead, because it would lead to more purchasing of refills leading to larger in-theater consumption after all. He insists the NYC soda ban was just the tip of the iceberg: “What better way is there to institute a tax then to connect it to health?”
The analysis comes from NATO‘s John Fithian after he was asked at a press meeting why Hollywood produces so many R-rated films — despite the evidence he presented this morning showing that family friendly films typically fare better at the box office. “It’s cool to be Quentin Tarantino,” he says. While lauding the the First Amendment, giving filmmakers the right to produce what they will, he says that there’s “often a little bit of a difference between the movie-making philosophy and the exhibition philosophy” about what sells. MPAA‘s Chris Dodd says that they aren’t that far apart. For the major studios he represents “less than 50% of our product is R-rated.” Still, he noted that the cost of producing a G-rated film “can be higher than an R-rated movie.” But he didn’t bite when asked whether films are too violent. ”Our job isn’t to be movie critics,” he says. The execs added that they didn’t think that Hollywood has become too focused on making movies for overseas markets vs domestic. “Movies that are made overseas work domestically too,” Fithian says. “Our companies operate across national lines” notably since China’s Wanda Group bought AMC Entertainment and Cinemark has become a major exhibitor in …
The exhibition company gave Tim Warner — who had overseen Cinemark‘s expansion in Latin America — a nice raise in February 2012, when he took the top job following the retirement of Alan Stock. The CEO’s new package included $700,000 salary, $2.1M in stock awards, $933,310 in non-equity compensation, and $207,655 in other compensation, according to the proxy filed at the SEC today. Stock ended up with $1.6M, mostly consisting of a $1.3M consulting fee. Warner’s compensation equals 1.7 times the median for Cinemark’s four other highest-paid current executives — well below the threshold that causes concern for corporate governance watchdogs. Company shares appreciated 36.7% last year.
James Holmes originally had a not guilty plea entered for him during his arraignment last month, then last week his lawyers offered a deal in which he was willing to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison without parole in order to avoid the death penalty. Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler today rejected the plea deal and said he will seek the death penalty in the case. Holmes is accused of killing 12 moviegoers during a shooting spree last summer at a Cinemark theater midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. He is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes. Brauchler, who said he spoke with victims and others related to the Aurora shooting ahead of making his decision, told the court this morning that “justice is death” just minutes into the hearing.
James Holmes’ attorneys said in court filings today that the Aurora movie theater shooting suspect is willing to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison in order to avoid the death penalty. The defense attorneys said the case could end Monday if the Arapahoe County district attorney accepts the deal, the Denver Post reports. That is the day that prosecutors planned to announce whether they would seek the death penalty in the case. Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in a Cinemark movie theater rampage last July 20 in Aurora, CO during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. At Holmes’ arraignment on March 12 his attorneys told the judge they needed more time to respond to the charges and the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes.
This is becoming a familiar theme in exhibition, although Carmike‘s Q4 numbers are complicated by its acquisition in November of 251 screens from Rave Reviews Cinemas as well as an $86.5M year-end tax benefit. With those factored in, Carmike had net income of $91.6M in Q4, up from $1.7M at the end of 2011, on revenues of $146.6M, +23.2%. The revenue number beats forecasts for $144.25M. The company reported EPS of $5.19; without one-time items, that comes to 43 cents vs an adjusted number for last year of 24 cents. Analysts expected the company to generate unadjusted EPS of 24 cents in Q4 vs last year’s 13 cents. Accounting complications aside, the basic numbers look solid: Admissions revenues rose 22.6% to $93.7M as the chain sold 13.2M tickets (+16.1%) at an average price of $7.10 a ticket (+5%). Concessions revenues were up 24.3% to $52.9M, with average sales per patron of $3.99. It was the 12th straight quarter of concessions growth. “The Company’s growing footprint expanded to approximately 2,500 screens as we took another step along our way to achieving Carmike’s next corporate milestone of 3,000 screens and 300 locations across ‘Hometown America’,” CEO David Passman says. “We will continue to actively target acquisitions and attractive build-to-suit opportunities.”
Like most of its peers, the No. 2 exhibition chain has good reason to look fondly at the results from 2012 — a year when industrywide domestic box office hit a record high of $10.8B. AMC Entertainment says it generated net income of nearly $58M for the year, up from a $242.4M loss in 2011, on revenues of $2.65B, +10.8%. Much of the increase was due to the 6.8% pickup in attendance, to 199M. With that and a 1.9% increase in the average ticket price, to $9.04, total admission revenues increased 8.8% to $1.79B. In addition, concession sales rose 12.3% to $743.4M. AMC didn’t include quarterly results in the report it filed at the SEC to account for changes in its fiscal year, which now will end in December instead of March. The report notes that CEO Gerald Lopez received $4.1M in compensation for the nine-month period that ended in December, up from $1.7M for the fiscal year that ended in March.
James Holmes‘ attorneys told a Colorado judge this morning during his arraignment hearing that they needed more time to respond to charges that their client killed 12 people and wounded 70 others in a Cinemark movie theater rampage last July 20 in Aurora, CO during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. But Arapahoe County Court Judge William Sylvester entered the plea for him, setting the stage for an August 5 trial. Holmes is charged will 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other crimes. The plea still leaves open the possibility Holmes could enter an insanity plea, The Denver Post reports. The paper said prosecutors will announce April 1 if they will seek the death penalty.
Add Viacom to the growing list of companies hitting the credit markets to take advantage of today’s low interest rates. The company just announced two initiatives: It will sell $300M of senior notes due in 2023 that pay 3.25% a year in interest, and $250M in senior debentures due in 2043 that offer 4.875% in interest. The company says that the cash will be used for general corporate purposes including “repayment of outstanding indebtedness and the repurchase of shares” under its current program. The company said in January that it had $3.3B left in its $10B repurchase authorization. Other media companies that have borrowed cash recently include Disney, Netflix, Coinstar, Regal, and Cinemark. BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Securities, and RBC Capital Markets will manage the offering expected to close later this week.
Although studios and theaters have largely made the transition from film to digital, the delivery of digital movies has remained mostly physical via hard drives shipped to cinemas and uploaded to their servers That’s about to change. Disney, Paramount and Lionsgate have signed on for satellite delivery of digital movies. Warner Bros and Universal already joined the initiative along with major theater chains AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Holdings. Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox are in negotiations with DCDC, according to the Wall Street Journal. Satellite delivery is undergoing tests and is set to launch later this year. Distribution via satellite will be less expensive and faster but will not be the sole method. Deluxe/EchoStar will be providing operations support for the DCDC network.
The cinema ad sales company isn’t joining the exhibition industry’s celebration over the strong year-end box office. National CineMedia ended Q4 with a $0.5M net loss, down from a $6.7M profit in the period a year ago, on revenues of $115.9M, +1.1%. The sales figure is short of the $119.8M that analysts expected. The net loss of one cent a share contrasts with expectations for a 17 cent profit. Revenue from ad sales was up 2.6% to $103.9M. Growth in 2012 “could have been even stronger had the economy not sputtered during Q4, including the impact of [Superstorm] Sandy,” CEO Kurt Hall says. The company will repeat the effort it launched last year to sell theater ads during the television upfront season. The Fathom Events operation, which shows concerts and other alternative programming at theaters, was down 9.8% to $12M. That was due in part to the effort to wind down Fathom Business Events. National CineMedia says it expects revenue in the current quarter to go as high as $84M, which would be +6% vs early 2012; adjusted cash flow could range from a 3% decline to a 13% increase. For the full year revenue could hit $465M, +4%, while cash flow could rise as much as 6% to $235M. The company says that its reach should grow as its founders — AMC, Cinemark, and Regal — buy …
Wall Street may have expected a little too much of the exhibition chain for the last three months of 2012. It reports net income of $27.8M, +52.3% vs the end of 2011, on revenues of $611.5M, +14.1%. Pretty good, right? But analysts expected revenues to come in higher, at $616.7M. And a pre-tax loss of $5.6M for early debt retirement held earnings to 24 cents a share, shy of forecasts for 38 cents. Attendance at the U.S. theaters was up 10.3% to 40.6M, while the average ticket price rose 5.2% to $6.91, and concessions revenues per patron was up 4% to $3.39. That propelled U.S. revenues 15.5% to $435.4M. Sales at the international theaters was up 10.8% to $178.8M. CEO Tim Warner notes that Cinemark “continues to be the number one attended worldwide exhibitor.” He told analysts that he’s “encouraged” about the releases scheduled for 2013 — including 32 wide-release 3D films. But the current quarter’s results may be “challenging” compared to the sales records set last February and March.
When it comes to Oscar savvy we often hear Harvey Weinstein talked about as the kingpin of the game, but when you look at the success of Sony Pictures Classics you realize it rivals Weinstein, Searchlight, Focus and other comers in consistently, and annually, releasing and nurturing one contender after another in the quest for the elusive statuette of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Since the company was founded in December 1991, key to its success has been its co-Presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard who first worked together in similar specialty divisions at United Artists and Orion and now continue to run one of the most stable indie shops in the industry. But with a total of 25 Oscar wins and 109 nominations just at SPC they clearly have the Midas touch, and that includes a slew of Best Picture nominations for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (their biggest hit to date), Howard’s End, Capote, An Education, Midnight In Paris and this year’s Amour which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes and has amassed five Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, only the fifth film in Academy history to be named in both categories. With writing and directing nods for Michael Haneke as well as a realistic Best Actress bid for star Emmanuelle Riva the film looks to be another strong contender for the pair who continue to be one of the few high profile companies that still champions foreign language films. SPC serves up a wide variety of specialty fare of all types and always seems to find a footing in the Oscar race which has become an important part of their business plan. With two contenders for Best Documentary and two for Best Foreign Language Film in addition to the Best Picture bid, the pair are fixtures at every major film festival and are once again making lots of noise in their high season. I spoke to both late last week about the upcoming Oscars and what it means to their bottom line.
Deadline: How important is this Oscar business to the actual business of Sony Pictures Classics?
Bernard: It’s part of the business for Sony Pictures Classics because we can get movies, or have movies, that won’t get the recognition that they deserve any other way. And if they get that recognition what we have found is that the boxoffice and ancillary and profits of these movies get much better. We can go all the way back to Camille Claudel when we had Isabelle Adjani and somebody close to her suggested that you should run a campaign for her for Best Actress and we said ‘it will never happen, no one will watch the movie. We can’t get them to the theatre. And the person said ‘well why don’t you send out VHS cassettes to the Academy’ so we did and sent them to the actors branch and lo and behold we got a nomination. And it took that movie to a level it would have never gotten if it didn’t happen.