Business News – Will ESPN Plus be worth it?

ESPN president resigns, citing substance addiction

ESPN president resigns, citing substance addiction

Disney wants sports fans to fork over $4.99 a month for an ESPN streaming service.

The problem is that it won’t give you all of ESPN.

ESPN Plus, which launches this spring, will offer thousands of hours of live sports that aren’t available on national TV — baseball, soccer, hockey, boxing, golf, rugby and cricket.

But if you want to stream the big games featured on traditional ESPN networks, including the NFL and marquee NBA and college football matchups, you’ll still need a subscription to cable or another existing service.

For people thinking about cutting the cable cord, ESPN Plus might not be enough.

“If they were including the core ESPN at a higher price, I think there would be a lot of demand,” said Rich Greenfield, a media and technology analyst for the financial services firm BTIG. “I honestly think it’s a very niche audience.”

Related: ESPN’s streaming service will cost $4.99

One reason ESPN Plus might not appeal to cord-cutters: The target audience — serious sports fans — are the same people who are already willing to shell out a lot of money for a big cable or satellite package.

And even if they sign up for ESPN Plus, their commitment isn’t guaranteed. Fans of a sport featured on the service might only sign up during the season.

“We just don’t think they can have their cake and eat it, too,” Greenfield said of Disney. “They either have to be all in on streaming, or they’re going to fail.”

Steven Cahall, a media analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said he thinks Disney knows that ESPN Plus feels like a niche service.

“I don’t think that they’re necessarily trying to build a base of 50 million subscribers,” he said. “I think they’re looking to experiment on how they can monetize a lot of those sports through different pricing setups.”

He said selling the ESPN TV channels as part of a standalone subscription service might not make sense. The multi-billion-dollar rights to many major sports leagues are split among more than one network. The NBA also airs on TNT. The NFL also airs on Fox and CBS.

As long as that’s true, any direct-to-consumer TV sports product will be limited.

“An ESPN subscription doesn’t give you all of football or all of basketball,” Cahall said. “It only gives you a piece.”

ESPN is struggling with declining ad revenue as more people cut the cord. Last year the network laid off hundreds of employees.

While plans for the streaming service have been public for months, Disney CEO Bob Iger finally revealed a few details about it on Tuesday, including the price. Other information, including the service’s release date and the exact games that would appear on it, are still unclear.

Related: Disney to pull content from Netflix

Disney (DIS), which owns ESPN, has been planning to get into streaming for a while, and its decision is significant. It’s one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, and it’s a bastion of traditional cable programming.

Subscription streaming services are more synonymous with new media heavyweights like Netflix and Amazon Video, which attract cord-cutting younger viewers.

ESPN Plus is something of an initial attempt for Disney. The company plans to launch another Disney-branded streaming service sometime next year.

The company is also buying most of 21st Century Fox (FOXA) for $54 billion, which would give it another movie studio, regional sports networks and some cable channels.

Another perk in that deal: Hulu, another streaming service that competes with Netflix. Disney would get Fox’s stake in that platform — and with it, majority ownership.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 7, 2018: 6:16 PM ET




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Business News – How much is Wynn’s exit package worth?

Former plaintiff reacts to Wynn resignation

Former plaintiff reacts to Wynn resignation

Steve Wynn is out at Wynn Resorts. But he’s not leaving empty handed.

At the very least he leaves with 12.1 million shares of the casino operator. He’s already richer for resigning — Wynn’s stock rose nearly 8% early Wednesday after the company announced his departure. That jump added about $154 million to his net worth — not a bad exit package in its own.

It’s not clear how much Wynn will get on his way out the door — if anything. But the company hinted that Wynn will get some kind of severance. “Details of Mr. Wynn’s separation agreement will be disclosed when they are finalized,” the company said in a press release.

If Wynn had been fired “without cause,” he would have taken home nearly $250 million, according to his contract.

Wynn’s stake is now worth about $2.1 billion. That’s still down about $300 million from where it stood before the allegations of sexual misconduct were spelled out by Wall Street Journal last month. The stock plunged after Journal published its story.

Although Wynn has called the allegations “preposterous,” he announced his departure from the company late Wednesday, saying that “I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.”

Related: Steve Wynn steps down as CEO of Wynn Resorts after misconduct allegations

Other executives collected large severance packages after losing their jobs because of sexual harassment allegations. For example, former Fox News President Roger Ailes received $47 million in severance when he left 21st Century Fox (FOX), according to court filings.

Laurent Potdevin, who headed athletic clothing company Lululemon (LULU), received a $5 million exit package.

Related: Vegas newspaper staffers reject claim that Wynn story was a hit

The Wynn Resorts statement Wednesday did not suggest that it considered Wynn guilty of any misconduct. It referred to him as “an industry giant…a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary.” And it said it was reluctantly announcing that it had accepted his resignation. It made no mention of the internal investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations that the company said it had started in the wake of the Journal report.

But the board will have to approve any exit package, and it is under pressure from casino regulators and institutional investors who own the majority of its stock. For example, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is deciding whether Wynn Resorts (WYNN) should keep its license for its massive casino and hotel project set to open outside Boston in 2019.

CNNMoney’s Laura Sanicola contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 7, 2018: 9:39 AM ET




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Business News – Amazon worth more than Microsoft for first time

5 stunning stats on Amazon

5 stunning stats on Amazon

Move over Microsoft. Amazon is now the biggest company in the state of Washington — and third largest in America.

Amazon’s market value soared above $685 billion, making the Jeff Bezos-led giant worth more than Microsoft for the first time ever. Microsoft’s market value currently stands at $684 billion.

Amazon (AMZN) now trails only Apple (AAPL), which has a market cap of about $815 billion, and Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL), valued at $750 billion.

These tech giants are all in a race to the magical trillion dollar level, a height that no U.S. company has topped as of yet.

But Amazon clearly has the most momentum. Its stock has soared nearly 21% this year, well ahead of the gains of Alphabet and Microsoft. Apple’s stock has fallen year-to-date.

Bezos has already passed Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates as the wealthiest person on the planet back in October, according to Forbes and Bloomberg. Bezos is now worth $116 billion, nearly $25 billion more than Gates.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) CEO Warren Buffett and Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg rank third and fourth in the world’s richest rankings.

CNNMoney (New York) First published February 6, 2018: 10:11 AM ET




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Technology News – Crunch Report | Netflix is now worth more than $100 billion

Crunch Report | Netflix is now worth more than $100 billion


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Technology News – Netflix is now worth more than $100B

Netflix is now worth more than $100B


Netflix crossed a fun milestone today, crossing the $100 billion mark for its market cap as it once again surprised industry observers with better-than-expected growth in its subscribers.

We’ll get to the financial numbers in a minute but, as usual, the big story here is that it continues to wow Wall Street with impressive growth in its subscriber numbers. The company said it added more than 8 million new subscribers total after already setting pretty robust targets for the fourth quarter this year, giving it a healthy push as it crossed the $100 billion mark after the report came out this afternoon.

Here’s the rundown:

Netflix’s biggest challenge has been to aggressively invest in good original content that’s going to bring in new subscribers. While its shows may clean up at various awards shows like the Emmys, it still has to show that it can convert those awards into raw subscribers. But thanks to what appears to be continuing success with its original content like Stranger Things, as well other returning seasons for shows like The Crown, it’s been able to continue its staggering run.

While the company’s core financials actually came in roughly in line with what Wall Street was looking for (which is still important), Netflix’s subscriber numbers are usually the best indicator for the core health of the company. That recurring revenue stream — and its growth — is critical as it continues to very aggressively spend on new content.

And that aggressive spend only seems to get more aggressive every time we hear from the company. Netflix is now saying that it expects to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018 — which is around in line with what it said in October when it said it would spend between $7 billion and $8 billion. It’s the same range, but tuning up that bottom end is still an important indicator.

Netflix shows picked up 20 Emmy awards last year, but just having a shiny object on a shelf isn’t something that’s going to indicate that the company is going to continue to grow at a healthy clip. In the face of an increasingly crowded market, Netflix has to demonstrate its ability to continue to offer lasting value for subscribers — especially as it continues to grow abroad. The company, of course, has plenty of benefits in terms of how it handles its shows when it makes them itself.

Netflix also tucked another newsy bit into the report: the addition of new board member Rodolphe Belmer, former CEO of Canal+. As the company continues to expand internationally, bringing on people with experience like Belmer of course makes sense.

Here’s the final slash line for the company’s report today:

  • Revenue: $3.29 billion, compared to $3.28 billion estimates from Wall Street
  • Earnings: 41 cents per share, in line with estimates from Wall Street
  • Q4 US subscriber additions: 1.98 million
  • Q4 International subscriber additions: 6.36 million
  • Q1 forecast US additions: 1.45 million
  • Q1 forecast international additions: 4.90 million

Featured Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images




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Technology News – Menlo, Benchmark, First Round sold Uber stakes worth hundreds of millions


Uber finally got its secondary transaction done with SoftBank buying about $8 billion worth of shares last month. Now we’re learning more about who sold what.

It was already known that major shareholder Menlo Ventures was looking to sell shares, but we’re  hearing confirmation that it wagered the majority of its holdings and successfully sold close to half of its stake, which the Information reported was about 4%. Using this ownership percentage, we calculated that Menlo netted close to $1 billion from the transaction.

We’ve also learned that First Round Capital attempted to sell most of its shares and successfully sold close to 40% of them. They were also said to own 4% of the company, which would mean it cashed out $800 million.

Benchmark Capital gave up a sizeable stake as well. According to a report from Recode, the venture capital firm sold about $900 million in Uber shares in the secondary transaction or almost 15% of its 13% stake. Benchmark declined to comment.

Former CEO Travis Kalanick also sold 29% of his holdings, earning him $1.4 billion. He stepped down from his role in June, but remains on Uber’s board. Benchmark Capital is also dropping its lawsuit against him, after promising to do so if the SoftBank transaction got done.

The deal was significantly oversubscribed, meaning that sellers were only able to sell about 58% of what they attempted. This is despite the secondary transaction valuing Uber at roughly $50 billion, well beneath the close to $70 billion private market valuation in Uber’s last private round. Even though an IPO is said to be less than two years out, Uber shareholders must have been uncertain that the company would achieve a $70 billion market cap or even a $50 billion market cap on the stock market.

Uber has a fast-growing business, but has faced lawsuit after lawsuit, and regulatory obstacles throughout the world. There’s also been a public outcry about its company culture.

But not everyone opted to sell their stake. We’re hearing that Kleiner Perkins kept its Uber shares.

And it wasn’t just venture capitalists and founders selling positions, the transaction gave early Uber shareholders an opportunity to sell as well. For many employees, this was the first opportunity to turn their paper riches into cash.

In addition to the secondary transaction, SoftBank also invested $1.25 billion directly in Uber. This was at the previous valuation of close to $70 billion.




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Jake Gardiner proves the risk is worth the reward – Sportsnet.ca


Leo Komarov has just finished making fun of the size of Jake Gardiner’s head, and now Gardiner is sitting in his stall after an off-day practice, and he’s thinking. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman has been trying to explain what goes through that head of his — which, truth be told, is quite big — when he gets creative on the ice, when he decides to make a move just inside the opposing team’s blue line to evade one player, then bounces the puck off the boards to himself to get past another, instead of going a safer route, like, say, getting the puck in deep.
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/big-read-jake-gardiner-proves-risk-worth-reward/

I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.




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