Listen to (and share) Episode 32 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media, as Deadline executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss whether Netflix is about to take off or already has soared as high as it can; what to make of Apple’s massive stock buyback and dividend announcements; and disputes over whether Google Fiber is hurting Time Warner Cable and other competitors, even as Moody’s predicts heavy consolidation ahead for cable providers trying to lock down business clients.
Listen to (and share) our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman as our executive editor and host David Bloom talk about broadcaster threats to abandon the airwaves for pay cable if Aereo wins; a gloomy Fitch’s report on the exhibition business just ahead of next week’s CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas; and what ultrafast internet connections such as Google Fiber might mean for Hollywood.
The No. 2 cable operator took it on the chin this morning after telling analysts in a conference call that rising programming costs and the lack of political ads will ding profits more than many expected. The stock is down 10% at mid-day. The disclosures inevitably led some to wonder whether Time Warner Cable contributed to its problems, at least in Southern California, by agreeing to pay hefty amounts to help create a regional sport channels that carries the Los Angeles Lakers and become a charter distributor for one for the Dodgers. CEO Glenn Britt says he had little choice. “We do not pretend that these deals are inexpensive or cheap,” he said. But sports is must-have programming, and the agreements “minimize and stabilize the cost over a long time period….In both cases these rights were up for auction and were going to be expensive no matter what happened.”
Execs say it’s too early to calculate the hit it will take in 2014 when the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA launches. The upshot, though, is that the vow Britt made last month to draw the line on rising programming costs will mostly affect small channels that few people watch — including Ovation, which the cable company ditched at year end. Britt renewed his commitment to “drop or re-position channels that don’t add to price-value.” Time Warner’s programming costs jumped 32% over the last four years, he says, while the Consumer Price Index rose 9%.
“I’m sorry for the scramble earlier today,” Google CEO Larry Page told analysts on a conference call. And that was that regarding the uproar today after the company’s earnings were prematurely released — resulting in …
Welcome to the pay TV world, Google. The mighty search company startled a lot of people in cable when it announced its Google Fiber TV and Internet service in Kansas City. The fiber optic service, launched in July, offers consumers broadband speeds of 1 Gb per second, far faster than cable’s typical 5 Mb per second. How could cable and its allies fight that? Google provided a clue today in a letter disclosing what it told several FCC staffers yesterday: They discussed “the importance of being able to provide customers with access to must-have live regional sports programming and the difficulty of obtaining this programming.”