In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the big Dish-Disney deal and what it might mean for other media companies and even a possible sports-free online pay-TV service. They also discuss Disney’s continuing headaches with its Interactive unit, whether FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s new rules for local broadcast alliances go far enough and look at the speculation about Carmike, the big exhibitor whose strong quarter fueled speculation that it will be a fat takeover target.
Shares are up a little less than 1% in pre-market trading following this morning’s report. The company says that it generated $7.9B in net income in Q4, up from a $1.9B loss in the same period in 2012 (with pension and Superstorm Sandy costs), on revenues of $31.1B, +3.4%. The top-line number came in just slightly ahead of analyst expectations for $31.0B. Adjusted earnings at 66 cents a share beat the consensus estimate by a penny. Verizon says that all of its major businesses grew in Q4: It added 1.7M retail wireless connections for a total of 35.1M retail postpaid accounts. It also crowed that it has “substantially completed deployment of [the] 4G LTE smartphone lineup.” That growth outweighed the continuing decline in its wireline voice business where the number of connections fell 5.2% to 11.2M. The big declines are among customers served by its antiquated copper wires — it’s trying to move many over to Verizon FiOS services with fiber optic lines. The number of FiOS Internet customers rose 2.1% in the quarter to 6.1M. The FiOS video business also grew, but at a slowing pace: With 5.3M subs, it’s up 1.8% in the quarter. CEO Lowell McAdam says that the company is “attracting more customers than our competitors and improving our financial performance.”
Here’s how FiOS video subs look over the last two years:
This could come as a helmet to the ribs of the uber-lucrative NFL broadcasting-streaming game and the notion of sponsorship vs. rights deals. Not to mention possibly expanding the broader sports world’s ever-growing “TV everywhere” game plan. Verizon today finalized a $1B extension of its deal with America’s dominant sports league that – beginning with the 2014 season — will allow streaming of all CBS and Fox in-market Sunday afternoon games to mobile phones (regular blackout rules apply). Not only that, but the deal comprises all NFL playoff games, including the Super Bowl. The four-year agreement expands Verizon’s current NFL Mobile package, which gives access only to games on airing on NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network – read Monday, Sunday, and Thursday night football – along with the league-owned NFL Network and its NFL RedZone.
Verizon’s billion (with-a-B)-dollar deal makes the wireless giant one of the NFL’s biggest business partners outside of its media-rights holders. It marks a significant increase over Verizon’s previous NFL pact: Sports Business Daily says the company had been ponying up about $50M a year to the NFL since 2010 — including rights fees, team spend commitments and media spending on NFL media partners – but will make a $210M payment in the just Year 1 of the new deal. A potential hitch is that the new agreement includes access to games only on mobile phones, which certainly should give rise to a kerfuffle about exactly what defines a “mobile phone” in the age of tablets and Galaxy IIIs and such.
It isn’t a la carte but Verizon’s proposal to tie what it pays to carry TV channels to the number of viewers who actually watch is what big media companies might consider “disruptive”, according to the Wall Street Journal. Verizon’s FiOS TV is the nation’s sixth-largest pay-TV provider and has begun negotiations with some smaller companies about basing what Verizon pays on audience size. Under the established industry model, cable and satellite operators pay a monthly per-subscriber fee to carry channels based on the number of homes the channels are available. Verizon’s chief programming negotiator Terry Denson suggests that in many cases “We are paying for a customer who never goes to the channel”.
A coalition of broadcasters, wireless providers, and chip makers Thursday urged the FCC to adopt guidelines to minimize potential conflict between broadcasters and wireless companies as the agency strives to cope with rising stress on bandwidth. Because of ever-increasing …
We still don’t have a firm start date, although the joint venture between Redbox and Verizon says that consumers will be able to subscribe to a “beta product” sometime this month. Redbox Instant by Verizon‘s streaming service will cost a penny more than Netflix and will include four, one-night credits each month to rent DVDs at Redbox kiosks. For an additional dollar a month, customers can use the credits to rent Blu-ray discs. We still know little about the streaming content — Warner Bros is the only studio that has publicly said it will participate. But Redbox Instant says its new deal with EPIX will enable it to offer Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM movies 90 days after they appear on EPIX’s pay TV channel. The venture also will sell and rent digital versions of new movies from Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Relativity and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The web-based service will work with mobile devices powered by iOS and Android operating systems as well as Samsung Blu-ray Players and TVs with SmartHub, LG Smart TV and Blu-ray Players, and Google TV. Here’s today’s release:
That’s one of the details disclosed by web site GigaOm, which found a help page for people beta testing the streaming service that’s due to launch next month — with hopes to challenge Netfllix and Amazon …
CFO Fran Shammo had little to say to analysts this morning about Verizon‘s planned video streaming service with Redbox, aside from the fact that it’s “very close to launching” this quarter and should improve his company’s profits next year. Still, Verizon investors seem content with the company’s direction after it delivered solid Q3 results. The share price is up 1.4% in early trading after Verizon reported net income of $4.3B, +21.2% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $29B, +3.9%. The revenue figure exactly matched Wall Street’s consensus forecast. So did earnings per share, which came in at 64 cents not including charges tied to its payments to TiVo to settle its patent infringement case against the communications giant. The FiOS video business continued to slow: Subscriptions rose just 2.7% vs Q2 to 4.6M. The increase of 119,000 customers fell short of Wall Street’s expectation for 142,000. The company’s FiOS broadband unit also missed analyst targets. It ended up with nearly 5.3M customers, +136,000 vs the consensus forecast of +165,000. “The read-across for cable and satellite incumbents is self-evidently positive; lower growth for FiOS means smaller losses for their competitors,” Bernstein Research’s Craig Moffett says.
TiVo‘s stock led the media pack yesterday, up nearly 4% after it announced that it will collect $250M from Verizon to settle their patent infringement dispute. And today it’s still on top, up about 3% to …
TiVo shares were up about 10% in pre-market trading immediately following the announcement. The deal ends a bitter legal fight that began in 2009 and was scheduled to go to trial October 1. It ensures that Verizon FiOS customers can continue to use the company-supplied DVRs, which are manufactured by Cisco. In addition, the companies say that they’re looking at arrangements to collaborate — including by offering TiVo users content from the planned Redbox Instant By Verizon streaming video service. TiVo will collect about $100M “as consideration for past damages,” and recognize some of that in the current quarter, it says in an SEC filing. The settlement also resolves Verizon‘s countersuit against TiVo. The companies say they’ve “entered into a cross license of their respective patent portfolios in the advanced television field.”
Consumer advocates say that this pretty much ends prospects that cable and phone companies will vigorously compete in wired and wireless broadband. But government officials believe they extracted enough compromises from the companies to resolve antitrust concerns and protect the public interest. The Justice Department filed a consent decree to let Verizon pay close to $4B to a consortium of cable companies led by Comcast for some airwave spectrum they control, as the erstwhile competitors also strike a series of agreements to develop products and cross-market each other’s services. The FCC also is teed up to endorse the deal; Chairman Julius Genachowski said he will circulate an order based on the consent decree to be approved by the full commission.
Comcast was careful to hide the price of its new Xfinity Platnum Internet service — which offers download speeds of up to 305 Mbps and upload speeds of 65 Mbps — in its press release today. But the company …