mfarrell's blog

Charter-Viacom Goes to the Wire

Charter Communications’ carriage deal with Viacom expires on Sunday (Oct. 15), but most analysts believe it will likely, despite the early hype, end with a deal that keeps the youth-oriented networks on its cable systems.

Fever Pitch

The unexpected demise of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team – it lost to tiny Trinidad and Tobago Tuesday night, missing the World Cup for the first time in more than 30 years – has created an inordinate amount of finger pointing, from USMNT coach Bruce Arena to the head of U.S. pro soccer’s governing body, the US Soccer Federation’s Sunil Gulati.

Crisis of Faith

BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield has long warned that the traditional programming model was eroding more rapidly than the industry thinks, telling traditional programmers that if they don’t do a deal quickly, they may be too late. While that stance has led to varied and emotional response from content companies, recent deals seem to show that at least some programming execs may have been listening.

Another Mega Deal Lost

You can probably pack a potential mega deal between Verizon and The Walt Disney Co. along with all the other wished-for-but-never-realized mergers gathering dust in your media Hope Chest. But don’t throw away the key just yet.

Sprint Talks Could Be Insurance for Comcast, Charter

When I first heard that Comcast and Charter were in talks with Sprint about a possible wireless partnership, I’ll admit my first thought was: “Will these guys ever learn?”

AT&T Goes for ‘Good Enough’

AT&T fired what seemed to be another shot in the burgeoning wireless wars, launching a new promotional package that pairs unlimited wireless and more than 60 channels of over-the-top service DirecTV Now for $70 per month.

Altice: One Brand, One Lineup?

Two days after it cranked up the hype amplifier to eleven in announcing its new rebranding initiative, Altice USA said it has reached a comprehensive carriage and advanced advertising deal with Viacom that will include the return of the programmer’s channels to its Suddenlink systems in the Midwest.

Riding a Wave of OTT Options

TPG Capital’s agreement to buy Wave Broadband for a robust $2.36 billion could have some over-the-top implications going forward, according to the man who will be running the combined companies once the deal is closed later in the year.

RCN CEO Jim Holanda said once the deal is completed Wave will be incorporated into the RCN family, along with Grande Communications in Texas.

Verizon Backs Off

Less than a month after he goosed the stock by saying he was open to a mega deal with Comcast, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam turned down the hype notch a few ticks at Verizon’s much anticipated Analyst Day Monday (May 8), claiming the telco is under no pressure to do transformative M&A.

Tiers and Fears

Charter Communications’ decision to place Viacom’s flagship networks – Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Spike, BET and Comedy Central – on its priciest video tier not only sucked the air out of Viacom stock, it could have other programmers gasping for breath in carriage negotiations to come.

Charter, the second largest cable operator in the country with 16.8 million subscribers, recently began making Viacom’s “core six” channels available to new customers only via its “Gold” tier, a $99.99 per month tier with more than 200 channels.