136.75 -0.03 (-0.02%)
After hours: 4:13PM EDT
|Bid||136.92 x 800|
|Ask||136.84 x 800|
|Day's Range||135.73 - 137.07|
|52 Week Range||100.35 - 147.15|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.73|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||17.61|
|Earnings Date||Nov 6, 2019 - Nov 11, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.76 (1.30%)|
|1y Target Est||151.77|
Cable is at the end of its market cycle as streaming services enter the growth phase. Media firms are pivoting to remain competitive in the evolving digital economy.
Cable is at the end of its market cycle as streaming services enter the growth phase. Media firms are pivoting to remain competitive in the evolving digital economy.
Facebook is preparing to challenge Roku in the video streaming device market as the social media giant looks to a future beyond advertising.
(Bloomberg) -- Kizuna Ai, the most popular streamer in Japan, is an anatomically exaggerated, perpetually adolescent girl in frilly thigh-high socks and a pink hair ribbon. She’s also an entirely virtual character, given life by the actions and voice of an invisible actress.In the home of anime and “Ghost in the Shell” futurism, millions now follow Kizuna Ai online, and that success has spawned thousands of copycat acts and a cottage industry catering to so-called virtual YouTubers, or VTubers. Defying the Western streamer blueprint of young male gamers like PewDiePie and Ninja, Japan has invented a new class of streaming star that’s equal parts digital avatar and interactive anime.“What separates VTubers from regular anime characters is that you can believe they actually exist,” said Takeshi Osaka, founder of Activ8 Inc., the Tokyo-based company behind Kizuna Ai. “That presence is an important part of what makes them so appealing.”Sidestepping the labor-intensive and time-consuming process of traditional animation -- ill-suited to the fast-paced world of YouTube content -- Activ8 uses Hollywood-grade motion capture equipment to crank out music videos, skits and game streams just about every day for more than 4 million subscribers.The technology allows Kizuna to interact with fans in real time at exhibitions, give interviews on live TV and perform in concerts. It’s a virtual influencer that can patronize real-world events.While Activ8 doesn’t disclose technical details, its product is an almost seamless combination of lifelike movements, gestures and facial expressions, all of which contribute to the suspension of disbelief.“The innovation here is in how they combine real-time 3D computer graphics, motion capture and video streaming sites like YouTube to create two-way interactions with audiences,” said Eiji Araki, a senior vice president at Gree Inc. who heads a division specializing in VTubers.Kizuna Ai debuted on YouTube in December 2016 and was responsible for coining the term “VTuber.” The technology that opened the door for its many imitators arrived that same year, in the form of the first commercial virtual reality goggles. Designed to do precise head and hand tracking, the VR kits from Facebook Inc.’s Oculus and HTC Corp.’s Vive turned out to be perfect animation rigs for VTuber aspirants on a budget. With free-to-use animation engines and 3-D models from the likes of Unity Technologies, anyone could create a virtual puppet studio for cheap in their living room.Virtual Beings Get Real With First Emmy From HollywoodIt’s no accident that VTubers found fertile ground in Japan. The country has a long history of user-generated content centered on anime, and performances by virtual idols like Hatsune Miku have drawn real-world crowds for more than a decade. While international audiences may prefer more photorealistic characters -- which are more difficult to create and animate -- their Japanese counterparts raised on comic book heroes have no problem with cartoonish looks.The VTuber phenomenon has so far been almost exclusively Japanese, however its underlying technology and formula of combining popular culture with increased interactivity -- and thus believability -- are universal. And Activ8 already has ambitions to expand its VTuber portfolio beyond Japan.While Japan’s global tech leadership may have faded since the days of the Walkman, its trendsetting habits remain strong in the gaming realm. Three out of four gaming consoles sold in the world today are made by Nintendo Co. and Sony Corp., while free-to-play mobile games are taking over the globe with monetization techniques pioneered by Japanese companies. And then there are globally beloved game series like Super Mario, Zelda, Monster Hunter and Pokémon. Anime, another major Japanese cultural export, is a $20 billion industry whose products range from Oscar-winning high-brow works by Hayao Miyazaki to action-packed light entertainment like “Battle Angel Alita,” which recently got a Hollywood remake. VTubers are a cross between these two Japanese pastimes.Market researcher User Local Inc. estimates there are now over 9,000 VTuber channels. The most popular ones are produced by a handful of professional studios like Activ8, each managing dozens of characters. In the space of less than three years, virtual streamers have morphed from an obscure subculture to a big business. Kizuna Ai can now be found in ads for instant cup noodles and eye drops, appearing at local carrier SoftBank Corp.’s launch event and helping the Japan National Tourism Organization’s promo campaigns.“There is no doubt that this will change the future of entertainment,” said Hironao Kunimitsu, the founder of Gumi Inc., an early investor in Activ8 and about 70 other VR startups. He cautions, however, that “for this type of content to resonate outside of Japan, it will have to be adapted to local tastes and sensibilities.”For now, Japanese VTubers are taking the path of least resistance and exporting their characters to China’s large and underserved anime market. Activ8 earlier this year introduced a Chinese version of Kizuna Ai, changing its dress and voice, and now it has close to 820,000 followers on the country’s Bilibili video-sharing service.Ultimate success for Activ8’s chief means making it into Hollywood, which is already a well-trodden path for Japanese gaming franchises like Resident Evil, Pokémon and Sonic the Hedgehog. Given the world’s appetite for Japanese culture, VTubers might not even have to dilute their product very much.“I started this virtual entertainer business because I believe it can be done worldwide,” Osaka said. “Our goal is to become the next-generation Disney.”To contact the reporters on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Yuki Furukawa in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vlad Savov, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Walt Disney Company announced today the pricing information of the previously announced cash tender offers of Disney and its indirect subsidiary, 21st Century Fox America, Inc.
Microsoft's (MSFT) IoT initiatives aimed at providing robust tools and platform to developers, and strengthening partner base will aid it in improving overall performance.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- AT&T Inc. is a very different company today from the wireless-service provider it was five years ago. CEO Randall Stephenson, who transformed AT&T by acquiring pay-TV and media assets such as HBO, is now eyeing retirement. It raises the question of whether the man who appears to be the next in line – John Stankey, another three-decade veteran of the phone business – is the right person for the job.Stephenson, who has been at the helm since June 2007, is interested in stepping down as soon as next year, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing unnamed sources. For much of his 37 years at the telephone giant, Stephenson has worked alongside Stankey, who he’s been priming to take over as the next CEO. While speaking at an investor conference Tuesday morning, he praised Stankey’s leadership, saying that he would have to be on “the very short list of people” who could run AT&T’s diverse set of businesses. But Stankey has also emerged as a controversial figure within AT&T, so much so that his recent promotion to the role of chief operating officer is largely what motivated Elliott Management Corp. to press ahead with an activist investor campaign, according to people familiar with the shareholder’s thinking. (Last week, Elliott sent a public letter to AT&T’s board calling for it to review ways to improve earnings and the stock price.)AT&T may benefit from running a broader search for Stephenson’s replacement, and outside pressure led by Elliott may give the board one more reason to do so. The $273 billion company could use someone with more expertise in growing media properties and who’s willing to part with weaker assets that are serving as distractions. While wireless data plans and business connectivity services still drive the bulk of AT&T’s profits, the company generates half its revenue elsewhere, such as pay-TV subscriptions, cable networks and the box office.Under Stephenson, 59, AT&T morphed into a communications and media conglomerate through the 2015 acquisition of DirecTV for $67 billion, followed by last year’s $102 billion takeover of Time Warner, a business unit now called WarnerMedia. Stankey, 56, is in charge of WarnerMedia, in addition to his new duties as COO of AT&T. During Stephenson’s tenure, Stankey has been his go-to for overseeing special projects, such as buying spectrum and helping the Time Warner merger clear the courts.Stephenson has been criticized for his bold dealmaking, and yet I don’t think his plan to reinvent AT&T was inherently bad. He has a vision for the company to be a leader in entertainment, which people are increasingly consuming on mobile devices, and 5G wireless networks like AT&T’s will facilitate more of that. But Stephenson did overpay for DirecTV, and he may have underestimated the challenge of integrating both that business and WarnerMedia, the latest tasks assigned to Stankey. As two executives who have worked in the telephone industry since their early 20s, they perhaps not surprisingly may have difficulty operating media assets, especially at a time when Netflix Inc. has changed what it means to watch TV.AT&T’s lagging stock price looks to be the consequence of an incoherent strategy and an attempt to juggle too many things at once: building 5G, devising a plan for WarnerMedia, paying down debt and managing the decline of the DirecTV satellite business. There have also reportedly been tensions between Stankey and his new Hollywood employees. It’s said that his approach and at times irascible personality have clashed with that of WarnerMedia’s veterans. Richard Plepler, the former HBO boss, is among those who have departed. One can see why Stankey’s attempt to break down silos in WarnerMedia was a necessary step and one that wouldn’t sit well with legacy top brass. And to his credit, he brought in Bob Greenblatt, who formerly ran Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and before that Showtime, to manage WarnerMedia’s entertainment properties and streaming platforms. It also seems likely that Stankey will name a new chief to oversee all of WarnerMedia. Still, it’s concerning that more of HBO’s top people are said to be leaving in the next few weeks, in part due to frustrations with Stankey, as NBC News reported Tuesday morning.The capstone project of Stankey’s WarnerMedia integration is HBO Max, a Netflix-like streaming-TV service that’s expected to launch next spring. Plans for that service seem to be ever-changing, and Stankey’s handling of the roll-out stands in contrast to Walt Disney Co.’s meticulous approach to the Disney+ app, which launches Nov. 12. WarnerMedia also recently struck a production deal with director J.J. Abrams for an exorbitant amount of money that a company like Disney probably wouldn’t have offered, as I wrote last week. A key date for Stankey and WarnerMedia is Oct. 29, which is when investors will get a first look at HBO Max.The topic of succession is a valid concern. Any conglomerate could benefit from having a CEO for whom there are no sacred cows. At best, Stankey may promise more of the same, which investors haven’t been that pleased with lately. At worst, he could be at risk of botching AT&T’s transformation. His compensation looks high when viewed through that lens. After the Time Warner deal closed in June of last year, Stankey’s base salary more than doubled to $2.9 million, which AT&T said was “to reflect the increased scope and complexity of his new role as CEO of WarnerMedia.” He also received a $2 million “merger completion bonus.” Including stock grants and performance-linked awards, Stankey’s total realized compensation was $12.74 million. That was 89% higher than what John Donovan, the outgoing CEO of AT&T Communications – a division larger than WarnerMedia – earned in 2018. (1)The Wall Street Journal reported that the board supports Stankey, citing a person familiar with its thinking who said there aren’t many outside the company “who would be obvious candidates to run a complicated media and communications business.” But isn’t it at least worth looking around? And if the answer is that no one is capable of doing it, then perhaps all these businesses don’t belong together.(1) Stephenson earned $18.84 million. AT&T hasn’t said yet how Stankey’s pay will be adjusted to reflect his COO promotion.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 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/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- NBCUniversal revealed the name and initial lineup for its new online TV platform, aiming to challenge Netflix Inc. and other streaming rivals with more than 15,000 hours of programming.The service, slated to debut in April 2020, will be called Peacock, a tip of the hat to NBC’s logo. It will include reruns of NBC shows, including “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” as well as a slate of original shows, the Comcast Corp. division said on Tuesday.Peacock will join a crowded field of streaming services, all of which are fighting for TV viewers’ eyeballs and wallets. Walt Disney Co. and Apple Inc. are both launching offerings in November, while AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia is readying a product for early next year.Peacock’s original programming will include a “Battlestar Galactica” reboot from “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail and the drama “Dr. Death” starring Alec Baldwin. It also will feature comedies from the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels.The company will draw heavily on its vault of content. In addition to streaming reruns, Peacock will reboot the comedies “Saved by the Bell” and “Punky Brewster.”Peacock also will offer more than 3,000 hours of Spanish-language programming from Telemundo.To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Turner in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Walt Disney Company announced today the early results of the previously announced cash tender offers of Disney and its indirect subsidiary, 21st Century Fox America, Inc.
Netflix's (NFLX) acquisition of streaming rights of popular comedy Seinfeld will help it fill up the gap in its content portfolio post the departure of shows like Friends and The Office.
(Bloomberg) -- As streaming services fight for rights to popular sitcoms, AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia has locked down a key show: “The Big Bang Theory.”The company’s new streaming service, HBO Max, will have the U.S. rights to all 279 episodes of the comedy when it launches in the spring, WarnerMedia said on Tuesday. The show also extended a separate agreement with WarnerMedia’s cable network TBS to air “Big Bang Theory” through 2028.The move comes a day after Netflix Inc. secured the rights to all 180 episodes of “Seinfeld,” starting in 2021. Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Television, the distributor of that show, currently has a deal with Walt Disney Co.’s Hulu. The “Seinfeld” bidding war followed battles over the rights to “The Office” and “Friends” -- two sitcoms that Netflix is losing to streaming rivals.In the case of “Big Bang Theory,” there wasn’t much of a contest. It was widely expected to go to HBO Max since the show is distributed by the same parent company. The in-house deal, which lasts five years, was valued at close to $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. Still, the comedy should be a key draw for the nascent platform. “Big Bang Theory,” which debuted in 2007, is billed as the longest-running multicamera comedy in U.S. TV history. It won 10 Emmy awards.“We’re thrilled that HBO Max will be the exclusive streaming home for this comedy juggernaut when we launch in the spring of 2020,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer business. “This show has been a hit virtually around the globe, it’s one of the biggest shows on broadcast television of the last decade, and the fact that we get to bring it to a streaming platform for the first time in the U.S. is a coup for our new offering.”To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Turner in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains dives into Apple's (AAPL) new iPhone 11s, as well as its streaming TV service and video game push. The episode also breaks down what's next for Apple stock and why the tech firm looks strong heading into the holiday shopping season. - Full-Court Finance
Call 1-877-7-MICKEY to hear six special messages from Mickey Mouse, Woody, Jasmine, Anna & Elsa, Yoda and Spider-Man
The media business has always been about frenemies and evolving alliances which makes for tricky navigation even in quiescent times.
Iger departed Apple's board the same day the company revealed new details about Apple TV+, a $4.99-per-month service that will launch on Nov. 1. Apple is spending billions in Hollywood to secure original programming for the service. The monthly subscription price for Apple TV+ undercuts Disney, which earlier this year announced its own streaming service that will feature its iconic children's content and cost $6.99 per month.
Apple Inc said https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/320193/000032019319000093/a8-kseptember201991019.htm on Friday that Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger had resigned from the company's board of directors on Sept. 10 as the two companies prepare to compete head-to-head in the streaming television business. Iger departed Apple's board the same day the company revealed new details about Apple TV+, a $4.99-per-month service that will launch on Nov. 1. Apple is spending billions in Hollywood to secure original programming for the service.
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger resigned from Apple Inc.’s board, a sign of increased competition between the entertainment and technology giants.Apple said in a Friday regulatory filing that Iger quit on Tuesday. He had served as a director since 2011 and was a friend of Steve Jobs. The Apple co-founder was also a Disney board member until he died in 2011. The duo appeared on stage more than a decade ago to announce an iTunes partnership.The relationship between the two companies became more fraught after Apple expanded into original TV shows and movies, making the Cupertino, California-based company a potent new rival for Disney. That had put Iger’s role on Apple’s board in doubt.On Tuesday -- the same day Iger resigned from the board -- Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s TV+ service would launch Nov. 1 for $4.99 a month, undercutting the upcoming Disney+ offering. The announcement dented Disney shares.In an April interview with Bloomberg TV, Iger said he was careful to recuse himself at Apple board meetings whenever the topic of streaming video came up. He added that the topic “has not been discussed all that much” by the Apple directors, because it was relatively small and nascent. “So far it’s been OK,” he said. “I’m in constant discussion about it.”“It has been an extraordinary privilege to have served on the Apple board for eight years, and I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in an emailed statement.His departure leaves Apple with seven board members. The average board has 10.8 directors, according to a 2018 analysis of companies in the S&P 500 index by Spencer Stuart, a consulting firm that provides executive search and board-related services.\--With assistance from Christopher Palmeri.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Alistair Barr, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. said a new video service won’t have a material impact on its financial results, seeking to counter research from a Goldman Sachs analyst who cut his share price target on concern that aggressive pricing of the TV+ offering will trim profit.Earlier this week, Apple outlined a strategy that involved lower prices on several devices and services, including a monthly cost of $4.99 for TV+. It will also be free for one year with purchases of new Apple devices. This is relatively rare for a company that has historically charged premium prices to support healthy profit margins.Rod Hall, the Goldman Sachs analyst who covers Apple, cut his price target on Apple shares to $165 from $187, saying the company’s plan to offer a trial period for TV+ was “likely to have a material negative impact” on average selling prices and earnings per share.“We do not expect the introduction of Apple TV+, including the accounting treatment for the service, to have a material impact on our financial results,” Apple said in an email.The stock jumped after the statement, trimming losses from earlier in the day. It traded down 1.8% at $219 at 2:56 p.m. in New York.The TV+ service is entering a crowded video-streaming field that already includes Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Hulu and AT&T Inc.’s HBO. In November, Walt Disney Co. plans to launch a Disney+ streaming service, with a giant catalog of titles, for $6.99 a month. Netflix’s entry-level subscription is $8.99 a month in the U.S.Apple, which doesn’t currently have a back catalog of content for TV+, announced the $4.99-a-month pricing on Tuesday, sparking a rally in its shares and declines in Netflix and Disney stock. In India, the TV+ service will be 99 rupees ($1.40) a month. (Updates with background on TV+ in final paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.com;Nico Grant in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.