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Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Could Spell Big Problems for Netflix, Consumers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2014 12:07 PM

Following a failed takeover bid by Charter Communications, Comcast announced it would acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal for $45.2 billion. If the merger is approved by regulators, Comcast will return to its top spot as the largest cable operator in the world. 

The merger, which could send waves through various television networks, national sports markets, TV technology and streaming companies is already a cause for concern among consumers and other pay TV companies, including satellite television networks, as well as AT&T, Verizon and Google, all of whom have made inroads into the cable and internet-providing business. 

At about $159 per share, Comcast stands to adopt Time Warner Cable's 11 million pay TV customers, highly concentrated in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where it owns two sports networks and has lucrative deals with local sports teams. As part of the deal though, Comcast said it will divest about 3 million of TWC's customers to appease regulators. 

As far as Comcast is concered, gaining regulatory approval from the federal government, including the FCC, shouldn't be too hard since Comcast and TWC aren't actually direct competitors (as far as carved-up cable provider boundaries go). The approval would follow Comcast's nearly $17 billion buyout of NBCUniversal from GE last year.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Comcast, Apple, Walmart and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2014 09:27 AM

In the News

Comcast acquires Time Warner Cable in mammoth deal as it eyes Netflix turf.

Apple says it doesn't procure blood metal and talks about launching updated TV set-top box.

Walmart sees pitchman Mike Rowe come to defense of retailer on social media.

GM recalls 600,000 older vehicles to replace ignition switches.

Avon nears bribery settlement.

Cisco sees growth hit by sagging tech demand.

Fiat taps Sean "Diddy" Combs to tout 500 line worldwide.

Ford reveals GPS privacy practices.

Intuit sees Super Bowl ad pay off.

Kind sues Clif Bar in nutrition bar packaging dust-up.

Lexus keeps crown in J.D. Power reliability survey.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Microsoft, Saks, Facebook and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2014 09:33 AM

In the News

Microsoft reportedly preparing to name its cloud chief Satya Nadella as new CEO and contemplating removing Gates from Chairman role. 

Saks plans to push harder at high and low ends of luxury market.

Facebook mobile ad boom adds $3.2B to Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth as social network announces news app, Paper. 

Amazon may raise Prime membership price as stock drops on disappointing earnings report.

Anthem blames Obamacare for hiking premiums. 

BMW assesses demand as i3 buyers face six-month wait.

Beyonce is now the focus of a university course. 

Burger King tests chicken-and-waffle sandwich.Continue reading...

masters of their domains

The Loss of Net Neutrality Would Put Brands, Consumers in 'Uncharted' Internet Territory

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2014 03:58 PM

A bunch of bright, shiny, new toll booths may soon be erected on the information superhighway and it doesn’t appear there is much consumers can do about it. A federal court ruling on Tuesday that struck down "net neutrality" rules would allow companies like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and other internet service providers to change the way they treat different websites. 

The ruling, in favor of Verizon, means that one site may be allowed to load content faster while another's is slowed down. Such a situation means that consumers and companies may be paying more to get what they have now: the ability to travel to any site and expect it to download high-quality content at the same speed, the so-called “open Internet.” 

What’s been called “net neutrality” may soon be disappearing, which isn’t a good sign for brands like YouTube and Netflix, whose businesses are built upon serving up high-quality video content at fast download rates for little to no cost to consumers. It is good for the aforementioned web-service providers, though, who can surely find new ways to pad the growing amount of consumers who pulled the plug on their cable providers so they could do all their TV watching online.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Microsoft, JCPenney and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 16, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

Apple settles FTC complaint over app charges on kids with deal to refund $32.5 million, while China Mobile eyes iPhone sales bonanza, with more than 1 million pre-orders ahead of Friday's launch.

Microsoft may pay $2.6 billion to Samsung and others to make Windows phones as rumors cite Ericsson CEO to replace Steve Ballmer.

JCPenney plans to close 33 stores and slash 2,000 jobs.

AOL unloads most of Patch to private equity firm.

AT&T ends long-running American Idol sponsorship.

Axe features Kim Jong-Un lookalike in Super Bowl spot.

Best Buy reports holiday sales decline.

Charter is talking with Comcast about new bid for Time Warner Cable, report says.

Citi replaces debit cards after Target data breach.

Facebook revamps ads to compete with Google.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: HP, China Mobile, Cadillac and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 15, 2014 09:21 AM

In the News

HP sets to announce two large smartphones today.

China Mobile receives 1.2 million iPhone pre-orders.

Cadillac updates its crest. 

Axe strikes a more earnest tone in advertising.

Bud Light challenges football fans with digital gaming ad and prepares new tag line for A-B InBev's reduced Super Bowl effort.

Charter woos Time Warner Cable shareholders.

Coca-Cola releases interactive mini-bottles to honor World Cup.

Daimler wins as US Supreme Court throws out Argentine human-rights suit.

Dunkin' Donuts focuses on expansion and one-to-one marketing.

Facebook CEO calls Snapchat a "super interesting privacy phenomenon," and it makes inroads in Russia.

Fiat will give first batch of new Alfa Romeos to top-selling US dealers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Google, Nike, Cadillac and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2014 09:19 AM

In the News

Google buys Nest Labs for $3.2 billion to enter smart-home derby.

Nike plans to open Jordan brand stores. 

Cadillac says new ATS Coupe will be first vehicle to wear updated crest.

AstraZeneca forecasts quicker return to growth.

Black & Decker refreshes its image. 

Michael Bloomberg returns to his company.

DirecTV attacks Weather Channel fees.

Facebook expands conversations group and acquires link-sharing service Branch. 

Fiat begins to rethink brand architecture.

Fox opts out of TV's traditional pilot season.

GE Capital gets into loyalty-program business.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

$16 Billion Beam Inc. Acquisition Will See Greater Distribution of Whiskey Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 05:22 PM

Liquor giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard can start looking over their shoulders. Japan’s Suntory Holdings, which produces some of Japan’s oldest whiskeys, has just agreed to pay $16 billion for Beam Inc., the American producer of Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Sauza, and Gilbey’s, Ad Age reports. The deal makes Suntory the third-largest liquor company in the world. 

As a result of the deal, Suntory, which also bottles Pepsi in Japan and owns the Orangina brand, will have greater distribution in the US and Beam, whose portfolio includes the lucrative Skinnygirl line, will have much stronger exposure in the Asian marketplace. That’s a pretty good deal for Suntory, which currently sources 90 percent of its business from Japan. 

“Suntory has virtually no U.S. presence,” Mark Swartzberg, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note today, according to Bloomberg. “This will take their share from less than 1 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile, Beam stockholders will head to the bank with $83.50 for each share owned instead of the $66.97 share price that it last closed at." The two companies previously had a distribution deal in which Suntory distributed Beam products in Japan, and Beam distributed Suntory products in Singapore and greater Asia.Continue reading...

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