After a note by a rival media-investment analyst last week sent Viacom shares spiraling on fears of a pending blackout on Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Michael Nathanson responded with his own memo, dismissing the speculation.
Nathanson takes to task the notion that smaller pay-TV operators, including Cable One, which dropped Viacom last April, are thriving without the programming conglomerate.
"Industry executives suggest the experience at Cable One is much worse than meets the eye," Nathanson writes. "Over the past year, we believe Cable One has lost about 18 percent of its expanded basic customer base and is being forced into making very difficult programming choices."
Nathanson also undermines the argument that Dish, which has seen its own stock price shoot up of late, mainly on the strength of its wireless holdings, has some newfound leverage in regard to program-licensing negotiations.
"Dish has gone to war with everyone in recent months as they try to source content for their new Sling TV OTT bundle," Nathanson states. "Yes, they have gone dark with CNN, Cartoon Network, CBS, Fox News, Comcast RSNs and broadcast station owners. But they have also come to agreements with many of these networks after a few weeks, and we don't believe the balance of power has shifted that dramatically from any of the major programmers."
- read this Moffett Nathanson report (subscription required)
Viacom gives Dauman another raise amid Dish blackout fears, falling stock price
Cable companies push back on spiraling program costs
Viacom misplays its renewal negotiations with Suddenlink
Sony unveils pay-TV service PlayStation Vue... sans ESPN