Breakingviews

Time Warner as sous-chef may enhance Hulu broth

August 3, 2016

The media conglomerate bought a 10 pct stake in the digital-TV service at a $5.8 bln valuation. Hulu gets Time Warner programs but not another board member at a table crowded by rivals Disney, Fox and Comcast. This sort of arrangement may give the JV a better shot at success.

Comcast and Netflix put growth ahead of gripes

July 6, 2016

The video-streaming service helped scupper the cable provider's bid for Time Warner Cable. Now Comcast is putting its nemesis on its set-top box - with access to 22 mln potential subscribers - as it tries to build a one-stop video shop. Those are good reasons to bury the hatchet.

Review: “Billions” delivers modest TV-time return

January 15, 2016

Wall Street finally gets a series for itself with an over-the-top clash between a hedge-fund boss and a federal prosecutor. Hard-to-depict high finance isn’t helped by hammy dialogue and storylines. It’s just enough fun, though, for a bros’ “Dynasty” meets “Desperate Housewives.”

Media General ups M&A game with Goldman on side

November 17, 2015

The U.S. local TV broadcaster rejected Nexstar’s $4 bln bid but said it would negotiate. That’s an improvement on sticking blindly to its own deal to buy Meredith, which looks worse for shareholders and strategically odd. New advisers may be helping – and Nexstar could pay more.

Hulu deal would broadcast mixed signal

November 13, 2015

Time Warner may buy into the U.S. video-streaming service already backed by Comcast, Disney and Fox. Though the implied value is bound to be far less, Hulu could be worth some $17 bln, according to Breakingviews calculations. The ownership structure warrants a big discount.

Did Watson randomly generate IBM’s weather deal?

October 28, 2015

Big Blue’s purchase of the bulk of Weather Co assets carries no clear strategic logic or even a price tag. But it has created a golden opportunity for CEO Ginni Rometty to distract her long-suffering shareholders with a litany of buzzwords and hollow corporate speak.

Hostile bid makes best TV in U.S. broadcast fight

September 28, 2015

Nexstar wants to buy Media General for $4.1 bln, breaking up the latter’s agreed merger with Meredith. The new offer makes financial sense for Media General owners and would create a local TV player minus the baggage of magazines. The mystery is why Nexstar wasn’t first choice.

Disney could use Time Warner cord-cutting tips

August 5, 2015

The entertainment giant insists on selling cable shows in a bundle, despite losses at ESPN attributable to growing viewer preference for buying à la carte. Time Warner is benefiting from the trend, offering HBO separately. A business built on TV’s status quo looks like fantasy.

BBC needs good pruning, not root-and-branch change

July 16, 2015

UK lawmakers are questioning the broadcaster's remit. Its 3.7 bln stg pseudo-state funding is anticompetitive. But while the BBC, like the monarchy and NHS, comes from another era, reformers need to be careful. A "bonsai" BBC – smaller and stronger – might be worth cultivating.

Charter deal may not be final word on Bright House

March 31, 2015

The $10.4 bln acquisition, contingent on Comcast buying Time Warner Cable, suggests some confidence those rivals will get approval. If not, however, the U.S. cable puzzle could realign. Charter again might chase Time Warner Cable, which actually has first dibs on Bright House.