Everyone talks about the explosion in Video traffic. Everyone talks about the explosion in the bandwidth required to carry it. No one talks about who is going to pay for it. There is one likely source: transit bandwidth inflation.
Big surprise from Comcast (CMCSA) today in the capex department. Barrons has a nice summary of the results. Revenue, subscribers, operating cash flow all met the expectations of the frothing massess, except Capex projections for next year were $1B higher than anticipated. Yes, 20% higher. Updated w/Chart
Prediction is an entertaining activity better suited for stimulating discussion than providing an absolute outlook on the future. Therefore, the bolder and more controversial, the better. Keep that in mind as you read and respond.
Everyone agrees fixed line is a dying, low margin business. Yet Cablecos like Comcast (CMCSA), Cablevision (CVC), Shaw (SJR), and Time Warner (TWX) are feverishly trying to capture market share in this business. Why?
Businessweek writes about T-mobile and a new service they are rolling out using UMA phones (dual GSM/WiFi). These new mobile phones make use of the WiFi network and broadband connection in a users home to make phone calls off the GSM or cellular network.
Contrary to popular opinion, the real threat to the baby bells residential phone business is not the cableco’s VoIP but wireless substitution. Competition from cell phones was eating away at residential lines long before the cablecos began deploying voice services.
Most baby bells already have a wireless infrastructure. None of the cablecos do. This is why the Baby Bells ultimately have the upper hand over the cableco in the battle for residential subscribers. They can migrate their customers (and their phone numbers) to a wireless infrastructure, and Comcast (CMCSA) / Cablevision (CVC) /Time Warner (TWX) cannot. Comcast can migrate customers to Sprint/Nextel (S ), but without owning the infrastructure they won’t extract maximum value.
Wireless is the commanding heights and the most important infrastructure to own and operate in a voice network. Everything else is a commodity.
This weeks Barrons has a short article ($$$ link) on Tivo (TIVO) that highlights the acquisition option as well as the need to pursue Cablecos for licensing deals. No new analysis beyond what I’ve written over the last few days, but the article is getting media attention so I thought an excerpt was in order.
With a name thatâ€™s become a verb, plus great software, TiVo could be acquisition bait. But its share of DVRs is on course to be eclipsed this year by Scientific-Atlanta (SFA) and Motorola (MOT), the two largest cable set-top makers.
Most of its subscribers come from a deal with DirecTV (DTV), the satellite operator, which pays TiVo $1.15 a subscriber, and accounts for nearly 70% of TiVo’s users and 20% of its revenue. DirecTV last week extended the deal to 2010. It won’t market TiVo’s service, but the deal prevents TiVo from losing existing customers.
Last week’s jury verdict may boost TiVo’s chances to sign up cable operators other than Comcast (CMCSA), with which it already has a deal. Cable guys will find it difficult to work around TiVo’s patents, says Terence Clark, a lawyer who heads the national intellectual property practice at Greenberg Traurig. That could force Time Warner Cable and Cablevision (CVC) into licensing deals.
But the case doesn’t solve TiVo’s most pressing long-term problem. It still has a long road ahead as it tries to win over cable operators with its patent claims.
A buyout may in fact be the best exit strategy for TiVo. In the meantime, selling on Thursday’s pop in TiVo shares may be the best exit for investors. What lies ahead are many years of knocking on cable operators doors, a long, long story with no fast-forward button in sight.
Hat Tip – Seeking Alpha