Is Disney Preparing to Shop Hulu?

Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that Disney was shifting away from keeping all its content in-house and would begin selling catalog movies and TV series to third-parties (link). Remember that prior to the launch of Disney+, Disney aggressively licensed content to third-parties such as Netflix, Starz, etc. The knee-jerk reaction is that Disney is simply looking for a way to generate more cash to offset their streaming losses (similar to what we have seen from Paramount, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. … Continue reading Is Disney Preparing to Shop Hulu?

Reasons To Be Cautious About iPhone Growth

The quarterly reports of wireless operators point to an elongating replacement cycle for smartphones and less overall switcher activity. That’s not a good data point for Apple, which reports tomorrow. Replacement cycle lengthening The three national wireless operators in the United States all reported notable declines in their upgrade rates in the fourth calendar quarter. As a reminder, the upgrade rate is the percentage of the subscriber base that upgraded in that quarter, providing real data on replacement cycles. We … Continue reading Reasons To Be Cautious About iPhone Growth

Initiating Meta with BUY Rating and $200 Price Target

We are initiating coverage of META with a BUY rating and a $200 one-year price target, based on ~17x 2024 EPS (GAAP) of $11.70, which is notably above consensus 2024 EPS of $9.90. Why Now? We sat on the sidelines during COVID as the online ad market roared back to life and with it Meta’s stock. We then watched as it collapsed over the past year as panic built over IDFA/ad-targeting headwinds, competitive pressure from TikTok and most notably undisciplined … Continue reading Initiating Meta with BUY Rating and $200 Price Target

Podcast: LightShed’s Rich Greenfield Interviewed by the Economist: Can Disney Rekindle the Magic? 

Last week, we were interviewed by The Economist on their Money Talks podcast. The discussion (embedded below) centers around the challenges facing Disney and the key strategic decisions facing newly returned CEO Bob Iger. We join the discussion at the 12 minute mark, with some key topics highlighted with time stamps below. Later on, Matthew Ball joined the podcast to discuss whether Disney should acquire an interactive entertainment/video game publisher/platform – an issue on which LightShed’s Brandon Ross has often … Continue reading Podcast: LightShed’s Rich Greenfield Interviewed by the Economist: Can Disney Rekindle the Magic? 

Nine Questions for Netflix’s Q4 2022 Earnings Interview Tonight

Here are our nine key questions for Netflix management on tonight’s Q4 2022 earnings interview (our Q3 2022 questions can be found here). 1. Are you dropping the $9.99 plan? When you first launched the basic with ads tier, it became the most inexpensive and fourth listed Netflix plan. In the US it appears you are testing the elimination of the $9.99 plan with very fine print at the bottom of our screenshot stating “Want more options, See all plans.” … Continue reading Nine Questions for Netflix’s Q4 2022 Earnings Interview Tonight

Disney Would be Wise to Keep Peltz off the Jedi Council

Last week’s Nelson Peltz/Trian presentation on Disney, titled “Restore the Magic” (link), read more like a short seller presentation at the Ira Sohn conference, mixed with an untimely plea to restore the dividend. We agree that Disney has made mistakes over the past decade from waiting too long to pivot to streaming (remember, Netflix streaming launched in 2007) to dramatically overpaying for Fox (never buy from the Murdochs) and, most pressing in our mind currently, overusing/tiring their core content/IP franchises … Continue reading Disney Would be Wise to Keep Peltz off the Jedi Council

LightShed Earnings Scorecard: 6th Edition

Welcome to the Sixth Edition of the LightShed Earnings Scorecard – our attempt to hold companies and analysts accountable for the quality of earnings calls. 70 companies tracked This quarter we tracked the quarterly earnings calls of 70 companies, adding iHeart and Omnicom, but excluding MSG Sports, which did not host a call.  Inflation and recession Interestingly, mentions of inflation and recession declined on Q3 earnings calls, despite being the primary talking point of the mainstream news cycle. This might … Continue reading LightShed Earnings Scorecard: 6th Edition

What’s in Vince’s Head? The Only Question to Ask About WWE’s Future

For years we have been speculating about the Vince McMahon succession plan.  When it finally did come last summer, it was neatly packaged.  Despite the circumstances surrounding Vince’s departure, the company would remain a (public) family business.  Stephanie McMahon would take over as the chairperson of the board and as co-CEO.  Her husband, Paul Levesque, would run creative.  Meeting with Stephanie McMahon multiple times following her elevation, we believed she was determined to lead the next chapter of WWE and … Continue reading What’s in Vince’s Head? The Only Question to Ask About WWE’s Future

LightShed’s Top 23 TMT Predictions and Events to Watch for in 2023 #Top23for23

Happy New Year. We are kicking off LightShed’s TMT coverage in the new year by laying out our top predictions and events to watch for in 2023 – what we call our #Top23for23. To see what we got right and wrong in last year’s Top 22 list for 2022, click here.   As we made our predictions for 2022, we continued to focus on a return from the Covid-19 pandemic and said 2022 would “become the base year of an endemic situation.”  Indeed, society, ex-China, … Continue reading LightShed’s Top 23 TMT Predictions and Events to Watch for in 2023 #Top23for23

LightShed’s Top 15 Most Read Posts During 2022

As usual, our most read post of the year was the first post of the year: the LightShed Team’s predictions for the year ahead. Topics that drove the most interest included whether it was a mistake for legacy media to enter into the streaming wars vs. remaining arms dealers, the dramatic slowdown in sub growth at Netflix and the future of Warner Bros. Discovery. Perhaps even more interesting is that the #6 most read post of 2022 was Bob Iger’s … Continue reading LightShed’s Top 15 Most Read Posts During 2022