Television 2.0 — “The $2.2 Trillion War for your Living Room Begins Now”

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The folks at the Motley Fool have pitched a lot of “big change” stock ideas over the years, from the “end of ‘Made in China’” (3D printing) to the “Death of Microsoft” (cloud computing), and these email campaigns always get a lot of attention from Gumshoe readers … both because they’re well pitched and because the big trends they describe often do, at least in broad terms, seem well-grounded in reality.

So it caught our attention when the floodgates opened over the weekend and thousands of readers (OK, dozens — but still) wrote in asking about the latest pitch from them, called “Television 2.0″.

It’s a long ad, as they always are, and it’s signed by one of the tech folks at the Fool because he tells a personal story about taking his daughter to school and having her throw the epiphany in his face that yes, teenagers don’t need traditional cable TV anymore … but it’s really an ad for Tom and Dave Gardner’s Stock Advisor newsletter, the flagship publication of the Motley Fool, and it’s about how content creators will be the winners of the “war for your living room.”

Here are a few excerpts from the ad about the big picture — which is basically just that more people are getting their video in untraditional ways and video and cable providers are losing leverage:

“Because the percentage of households with a cable or satellite subscription is now declining for the first time in the history of television.

“3 million Americans have already cut the cord, including 425,000 in the past 3 months alone.

“And according to Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anninger, those ‘cord-cutters’ are joined by a new group … the “cord-nevers.” A full 83.1% of new households are choosing to live without pay-TV.

“No wonder Business Insider reports that the cable/satellite industry is ‘starting to collapse’…”

And this about “how we got here,” including comparisons to old monopoly businesses like the music labels, phone company, etc….

“We started paying more and more good money to get less and less good programming.

“And we put up with it for too long.

“I mean, millions of Americans dropped newspapers, long-distance telephone service, bookstores, traditional stockbrokers, record companies, travel agents, and department stores, even though they were actually quite happy with those businesses.

“It’s just that something better came along.

“But here we are still clinging to this outmoded television delivery technology that we’re all really unhappy with.

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“And now that something better has come along for this too, it’s time to act.

“Not just as consumers, but also as investors.”

And then he preemptively covers that concern that’s probably popping up in your head right now: In most cases, the fastest internet service you can get is from … your cable company (or another hated monopolist with bad customer service, your local phone company), and won’t they find a way to shut down those pipes if you stop paying for the content they sell through their cable box?

“… another big problem had occurred to me.

“Even if I quit cable, won’t I still be paying those same #$!&(&*$ for my internet service?

“You can use your imagination to figure out the actual word I said.

“But it turns out that Tom has been researching this same puzzle for months. And he’s already found the solution….

“Google Fiber. And it could be just as revolutionary as Google’s search engine was when it debuted…

“Making our internet connections 100 times faster (fast enough to watch TV and record 8 other “streaming” shows in high-definition all at once, with no herky jerky download delays). And all for the same price most of us pay our cable companies for internet right now.

“In other words, it will completely break down the wall between television and the Internet. And put the cable companies out to pasture.

“CNN Money is calling Google Fiber an ‘audacious bet.’

“But Tom says it just makes sense. (And he should know…he recommended Google in Stock Advisor on July 20 when he found out about the Fiber project, and has already made a 18% gain.)”

What is Google Fiber, as we go off on this tangent? It’s Google’s effort to push for better data service by buying up unused fiber optic cable and offering up a test bundle of tv/data/phone at a set price — it’s very much a test, here’s how the ad describes it:

“… other companies … tried to build a fiber-optic information superhighway over the years (including the cable companies) [and] left a lot of unused wiring. It’s called ‘dark fiber,’ and Google is quietly buying it for pennies on the dollar.

“Meanwhile, they’re plotting their next move — now that Google Fiber reaches more than 90% of Kansas City, they’re cutting deals with ESPN, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, plus (you guessed it) the NFL Network. And placing help-wanted ads for national sales representatives on their company website.

“Which is leading some technology watchers to conclude that the Google Fiber experiment in Kansas City ‘is not a test’ but rather ‘a takeover plan.’”

It’s hard for me to imagine Google pouring trillions of dollars into wiring the entire country, my assumption would be that this is all part of an attempt to push other people (the telcos and cable companies, mostly) to improve connection speeds by giving them a little frightening taste of competition, but that’s just my guess. Right now it doesn’t cost Google that much because it is literally only available in a few “fiberhoods” of two cities, and those two cities are Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. Still, I must admit that if they had this service available in my town I’d be tempted to jump on it — resentment of incumbent providers runs high, though unfortunately it’s pretty much in inner cities where there’s enough population density and “dark fiber” to make new startup services feasible on the cheap.

More from the ad:

“I was starting to think that Google would be my big winning investment in ‘Television 2.0.’

“But David’s research has now convinced me otherwise….

“You see, Google Fiber isn’t the biggest immediate threat to the cable companies. Because it might take a few years to complete its nationwide roll-out.

“What would really make me sweat if I was the CEO of Comcast, Time Warner, or DirecTV, is a tiny detail buried on page 555 of Steve Jobs, the best-selling official biography of the Apple CEO written by Walter Isaacson.

“(David’s been watching Apple closely for years — he pointed Stock Advisor members to the company in 2008, right when the iPhone was gathering steam. And they’ve made a fantastic 336.9% return on that investment already.)

“This is the key quotation, from Steve Jobs himself:

‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’

“So while some say Apple’s announcement next month will introduce a smaller version of the iPad… the truth is, Apple needs a bigger splash than that to justify the sky-high stock price that comes with being the most valuable company in the history of the world.

“That’s why Barron’s calls the announcement ‘an event well worth watching.’

“Why Computer World thinks that Apple is preparing a ‘sneak attack’ on the TV market. And why The Atlantic says ‘Apple wants to be in your living room. And it doesn’t want to settle for being the screen in your lap while you watch TV. Apple wants to be the TV.’

“It’s also why you may need to act NOW if you want to position yourself for maximum profit in the ‘holy war’ for control of television that will be waged in 2013 and 2014.”

Which, as you read through, might make you think he’s recommending Apple again — but that’s not the case either. He lays out the competitive landscape for TV viewership:

“There’s the cable and satellite companies clawing to hold onto their trillion dollar revenue stream.

“Meanwhile, there’s Google attacking through its fiber optic wires underneath the street.

“And now Apple opening a new battlefield in the living room.

“Not to mention other industry heavyweights that already offer popular ‘Television 2.0′ services with a far greater toe-hold than Google Fiber or Apple TV.

“Like Amazon, which has more than 10 million video on-demand subscribers in its Prime service.

“Or Netflix, which has more than 27 million subscribers watching movies and TV shows through its interface.”

And then gets to his “content is king” realization:

“David and Tom sorted it all out for me with something they called ‘The Cheerios Test.’

“And sent me running to my online brokerage…NOT to buy Google, or Apple, or Amazon, or Netflix…but to buy two stocks I had never heard of before, and a third one I would have never even considered…

“You see, with the brilliant strategy they gave me, it doesn’t matter which corporate giant gains a decisive advantage in this war…or when.

“Because as long as you know how to invest in these 3 stocks, you’re in good position for any outcome.”

So what the heck is the “Cheerios Test?” Here’s what he says on that:

“I love Cheerios. (Better than Raisin Bran or Froot Loops.) I eat Cheerios. (Every morning!) But I don’t really care that much about who I buy them from or what kind of package they come in; I just care about convenience and price.

“That’s when it hit me.

“They were saying that TV was basically the same.

“What we really love are TV shows. Right?

“My daughter likes Glee. My son likes Family Guy. My wife likes Top Chef. And I like football.

“It doesn’t really matter what screen we watch them on, or what time of day…or what network, cable company, satellite dish, website, app, or gadget delivers them to us.

“Our shows are our shows!

“A recent Forbes magazine article agrees. It starts with an alarming headline: ‘The Death of Television’!

“But it goes on to explain that rather than dying, TV is about to be reborn.

“And in the world of TV 2.0, we’re in control.”

So yes, it’s about who owns TV shows and can get them to you. This has been a matter for investor debate for many years, and you’ve probably heard the “content is king” argument before, though it’s held a bit stronger for video content than it has for newspapers, magazines and songs so far.

They give a rundown of some of the major content showdowns between content owners and distributors in recent years, many of which have led to better payouts for content owners:

  • “Like the AMC channel (home of Breaking Bad and Mad Men) staring down the Dish satellite network.
  • Fox playing chicken with Cablevision and almost blacking out a 2010 World Series game.
  • Viacom (which makes The Daily Show, Jersey Shore, and Spongebob Squarepants) strong-arming DirecTV.
  • The Starz movie network pulling out of Netflix.
  • And the Madison Square Garden channel taking its New York Knicks games away from Time Warner cable during the height of “Linsanity” this spring.”

And there are plenty of other examples — this is a flip from where things where 10 or 20 years ago, when upstarts like ESPN or Fox News were paying cable companies or providing free or very cheap content just to get distribution. Now that content is often what drives cable and satellite subscribers to renew, so the fees content providers are charging are climbing dramatically, and cable companies are chafing… but the loss of the cable monopoly is hurting them, since so much of this content can also be accessed online and the providers of genuine hits have leverage both to get better deals for those hit shows and networks, and to force more “bundling” of their weaker offerings that are trying to gain traction.

So that’s a long bit of chatter to get through as we finally start to get some hints about which companies they’re picking:

“Why you need these 3 stocks NOW

“We’ve seen that on-demand direct distribution to the customer changes everything.

“Just like it did for online airplane and hotel bookings with Priceline.com, and online purchases of books (and just about anything else) on Amazon.com….

“Which gives content providers the upper hand — regardless of whether they’re going through traditional carriers like Cablevision or Time Warner, or new challengers like Google, Apple, and Netflix….

“Tom and David think these three winners are about to go on the kind of epic run we only see once every 10 years or so.

“And it’s hard to disagree. Because as you’ve seen in this report so far, the next revolution in television has only just begun.

“Once more people find out about Google Fiber and the new Apple TV set over the coming days and weeks…the war for the living room will be what everyone’s talking about.

“And that means even the Wall Street skeptics will finally come around…

“Which gives you a short buying window. Fortunately, there’s still time to join those Stock Advisor members and cash in — but you may need to act NOW.

“I wish I could tell you the name and ticker symbol of these 3 uniquely positioned stocks. And if it were up to me I’d probably just spill the beans.

“But my friends in the Motley Fool customer service department tell me I can’t, out of respect to the members who are already paying for our Stock Advisor service.”

Which is where your friendly neighborhood Stock Gumshoe jumps in, of course — I can’t give you their full report on these stocks or tell you exactly what advice they might be giving, but I can at least sniff through their clues and tell you the stocks and the tickers and give a little basic info so you can go forth and researchify on your own.

So let’s get to it, shall we? First!

“Company A is an $89 billion powerhouse that owns more than 100 global television networks, plus 7 movie studios, 4 video game companies, and hundreds of websites. Not to mention a little-known research laboratory that’s developing the next generation of TV technology. (Like a new system that lets you use any object in your house — including your couch, your coffee table, even a glass of water — as a remote control). In fact, this company’s growth potential is so strong that legendary hedge fund investor George Soros just snapped up a million shares.”

Well, probably no surprise to you there but this one is clearly Disney (DIS) — and yes, you probably also know that it’s an entertainment and content powerhouse as well as a travel and technology company, owning huge content-spewing brands like ABC and ESPN as well as the eponymous studios and cable networks and relatively recent acquisitions Marvel and Pixar, among many others. They’ve gotten so big now that it’s hard to pick just one “crown jewel” from their assets, but ESPN has probably been the single most powerful content provider in the cable/content wars, with what seems like almost unlimited power to raise per-subscriber fees — after all, ESPN gets both huge live viewership (sports is watched live, mostly) and a strong “young guys” demographic that brings in huge advertising dollars from the film studios and beer and car companies (among others).

And yes, it’s hard to argue with an investment in Disney — it’s got a fortress balance sheet, it’s a blue chip company that’s incredibly profitable, it has become a dividend growth company over the past decade, and it’s reasonably priced even after the stock has gone up about 50% in the past year. I guess the only real argument against building a position in Disney at times like these is that it’s also a tourism driven and hit-driven company, so there have tended to be opportunities to buy the stock cheaper in years when theme park visitors are down, or when they have a big flop year with their movies — though it can be hard to nimbly watch and take advantage of those things. The John Carter film was a huge flop for Disney relative to expectations over the winter, but even the announcement that they would book a $200 million loss on the film in the Spring failed to keep the stock down for very long, largely because that news came right around the time they announced that mega-hit The Avengers made over $200 million in ticket sales on its opening weekend.

I’m sure no one will get fired for recommending Disney, but this is one that, were I to buy it as a long-term hold, I’d probably nibble now but try to scale into it over a couple years and hope for a couple bad tourist seasons or a lousy Christmas movie slate to bring dips in the stock. I did own Marvel Entertainment years ago, which was a hugely successful recommendation of David Gardner’s back when they were on the verge of bankruptcy and the first Spider Man movie had yet to be released (and years before Iron Man and The Avengers made the Marvel stable of characters look like such a no-brainer goldmine, but I don’t think I’ve ever owned Disney.

Still, if you feel like there will be a full-fledged “war for your living room” with several companies vying to provide live TV, it’s hard to picture a company having more leverage in this than Disney, since they bring with them ESPN, ABC and their own Disney Studios content, and there isn’t a single cable provider in the country that could sell their service effectively if they cut ESPN. That leverage might not impact a $90 billion company that much on an earnings per share basis, particularly as this “war for your living room” will likely be waged over many years and through many test locations, but it’s still leverage.

Oh, and yes, they do have a research division that came up with a crazy cool technology that could turn your houseplant (or other stuff, I guess) into a remote control — there’s a story on that here if you’re curious. It’s not going to be financially significant in the next few years, I would bet, but it is cool.

Next?

“Company B rose from the ashes of a declining newspaper empire. Now it’s cultivating a niche TV audience that’s especially attractive to advertisers. Allowing this company to generate more than $2 billion in revenue from just 1.7 million viewers…At $1,290 ‘revenue per viewer,’ that makes its programming 76% more profitable than the average television network.

“According to Investor’s Business Daily, even though the entertainment industry is extremely lucrative, it actually has ‘a puny number of high quality stocks.’ And those are two of them.”

This one is a company I don’t know well at all, other than being quite familiar with the fact that they’re responsible for the celebrification of the interior design, real estate brokerage, and cooking industries — this is Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI), which owns the Food Network, HGTV, the Travel Channel, etc. Scripps did indeed start as a newspaper company, and was one of the dominant newspaper publishers in the world for the second half of the 20th Century (you know, back when newspapers made money), as well as a major local media company through a network of local TV stations and cable companies, but about 20 years ago they started spitting some of that prodigious newspaper cash flow into content creation, building and buying those now-well-known niche cable brands, starting with HGTV. Four years ago they split the company, so the original E.W. Scripps (SSP) still owns the 20 or so TV stations (mostly ABC affiliates, coincidentally) and 13 mid-market newspapers around the country and is a stagnant, barely profitable $600 million company, and Scripps Networks Interactive owns the five cable channels and is a rapidly growing, highly profitable $10 billion entertainment force. Or farce, if you’re feeling cynical about our desperate desire to watch other people saute onions and declutter their mud rooms.

You can certainly argue that Food Network and HGTV are strong enough, with loyal enough viewers, that they should command premium and growing fees from cable and satellite providers — if you’d asked me, I would have thought that this celebrity chef fascination was a flash in the pan when Emeril Lagasse was the standard-bearer five years ago, but even though he has moved on there are still dozens of stars being made like Guy Fieri and Paula Deen (who are, in turn, turning themselves into chain restaurant brands). So I’m the last person to suggest that I can tell where this trend goes, but these cable networks seem to have a pretty good thing going — they have low-cost content, they build celebrities who must, I presume, work cheap as they build their personal brands, and when those fizzle or the stars demand more (a la Emeril, I suspect), they move on and build the next star. It looks like it’s be working pretty well — they did quickly end disputes with AT&T and Cablevision when they were briefly shut out of those networks for a few days during contract renewal talks a year or two ago, and I presume that it was pressure from subscribers that led to those resolutions, so this does seem to be a content provider that has a fair amount of leverage over the distributors — and, of course, a solid web presence.

I’ve never looked closely at SNI, but I did skim through the last quarterly report and note that while they are growing revenue pretty nicely, they’re expecting to grow expenses more quickly this year — I don’t know if that’s a sustained trend, but it’s an indication that their programming costs might rise faster than their advertising revenue and subscriber fees, which obviously would be a huge weight for the business to carry since they’re already carrying a premium valuation (about 20X trailing earnings). That could well be a temporary thing, I don’t know, but it’s something to keep an eye on — we’re certainly moving into an era of more distributed programming, with more online video … but my impression is that advertisers still tend to pay substantially more for targeted, timely mass attention through hit shows than they do for online advertisements, so that transition is closely watched by both advertisers and content owners. There’s also a competitive aspect to this space, since HGTV and Food Network have to maintain their brand positioning against plenty of other niche cable channels as well as against upstart online brands in their space, but they are clearly a leader in that competition now so they do have at least some advantage.

Next?

“Company C didn’t make IBD’s list…because it isn’t really an entertainment company. In fact, even though it operates some of the most popular channels on TV (reaching more than 1.5 billion viewers in 180 countries), its business model is completely different. Its most important customers are actually elementary and high schools. And now it’s entering another $25 billion education market with a breakthrough product that’s half of the price of the traditional choice. So you can see why this company has been able to grow its quarterly earnings per share by a fantastic 22.5% in the past year.”

Well, I don’t know if I agree with that summary of the company — but we fed it through the Thinkolator and this is pretty clearly Discovery Communications (DISCA and others, more on that in a moment), the other big cable network company that gets a fair amount of investor attention. Like SNI, they enjoy the benefits of all of the original “reality” shows — low production costs and niche marketability. They call themselves “The World’s #1 Nonfiction Media Company” and produce a bewildering array of programming for their popular channels, including Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, TLC, The Oprah Network, etc. And they are taking advantage of international distribution in a big way, partly because their documentary, reality and educational content is very easy and inexpensive (compared to fiction, at least) to translate to different languages and cultures.

But I don’t know that I agree that schools are its most important customers — or that their “breakthrough” will really turn out to be such in the “another $25 billion market.” They do have a strong educational offering, with streaming content that’s available in about half the schools in this country (replacing the beloved filmstrips of my youth on those days when the teacher has a migraine, he says cynically), and they are moving into “interactive textbooks” in an attempt to help shake up the $25 billion textbook industry, but when it comes to financial performance it’s all about subscriber fees for their networks from cable companies, and advertising revenue. In the US, they’re close to 50/50 ads and subscriber fees, and internationally subscriber fees are a stronger revenue generator at the moment — “education” is a rounding error when it comes to revenues and earnings at Discovery, though it’s certainly possible that they use that division to drive earnings or cover expenses in some other way. Their textbook initiative, called “techbook,” is yet another way for them to leverage their content into the education sphere — using the educational content they already produce to build interactive textbooks for schools, but I wouldn’t put too much weight on that. Education is a small part of Discovery’s income statement, and it’s not as though folks like McGraw-Hill or Pearson, dominant textbook publishers, have failed to notice that there are opportunities in technology-enhanced publishing for students… it may end up working well for Discovery, but I can’t see it being a major part of the business in the next five years, my guess is that in 2018 we’ll still care more about Bigfoot, River Monsters and custom choppers than we do about Discovery’s “techbook” business.

Discovery is also one of those multiple-class stocks — DISCA is the A shares, which get one vote per share, DISCB, B shares, gets 10 votes per share, and DISCK, C shares, gets no voting power. DISCK trades at a bit of a discount since it doesn’t get the voting power, which might be interesting for small investors who understand that they don’t get any corporate voting power anyway, though you can imagine a proxy fight or activist investor situation when voting shares should trade at a substantial premium, too, so those things are always a tough call — and really, though I hold shares in companies that have “lower class” non-voting or fewer-votes shares (like Berkshire Hathaway and Google), I don’t like to encourage that activity. The B shares are very illiquid, but currently priced about the same as the A shares.

Discovery is extremely profitable and growing nicely — their growth in the last quarter was not as strong as SNI’s, but they’re more than twice as big and have profit margins that are a bit stronger, and they are really the leaders when it comes to leveraging content internationally and across platforms, which helps to significantly increase profitability when they get their content right. I have more confidence in Discovery than I do in Scripps, though that may just be because they have a broader array of channels and hits and niches they can play to beyond Scripps’ core niches of travel, cooking, and home improvement… or it could just be a reflexive response to the fact that Vanilla Ice hosts a real estate show for Scripps on their DIY network, and I have a hard time believing in a world where that’s possible.

This is clearly an interesting time of transition for television and video entertainment — I don’t know if we’ll end up “giving up” on cable TV en masse in a surprisingly fast transition as happened with CD players and is happening a bit more slowly with printed newspapers, but there is a move to more online and streaming content and there are plenty of companies who are working to further that transition with hardware, software, and streaming libraries, including Netflix and Google and Apple and Amazon and hundreds of smaller players, but it’s also quite possible that the transition will be a lot slower, and there’s still a lot of power in the hands of the TV networks and the cable and satellite distributors … even if it’s not as much power as they had ten years ago. There are, for example, plenty of places to watch shows online — and even lots of increased investment in professionally produced “channels” online through Amazon, Google, Netflix and the like, all of whom are funding content development as well as trying to expand their distribution businesses … but traditional TV still has a very strong position with the people who care the most: advertisers. Online video ads are a very fast-growing market, but reports I’ve seen indicate that they’re only about 5% of the size of the traditional television ad market, and the strength of television has always been it’s power to create a mass market and homogenize society, urging essentially every single American, over the space of two or three days, to see the same movie or visit the same store at the mall that coming weekend.

It’ll be an interesting thing to watch, seeing if the increasing niche-ification of media and the distributed content continues to erode that mass market, but I have my doubts that it will happen all that quickly — car dealers and movie producers really want to be able to reach everyone, all at once, and they’ll pay a premium for it … with some exceptions it strikes me that it’s been the advertisers, not the viewers, who are willing to consistently pay for hit content.

But that’s just my squishy impression of the speed of the big picture transition, and it probably doesn’t mean anything. What we get from this teaser are three strong content-dominated companies, each of whom is very profitable and trading at a premium to the market, and each of which has shown enough growth and stability to (arguably, depending on what you think the future holds) deserve such a premium. Think Scripps Networks, Discovery Communications or Disney are right for your portfolio, or the best play on the revolution in video delivery? Let us know with a comment below.

Disclosure: I own shares of both Google and Apple among the companies featured above, I do not own Disney, Scripps or Discovery or other firms mentioned, and will not trade in any stock covered for at least three days.


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111 Responses to Television 2.0 — “The $2.2 Trillion War for your Living Room Begins Now”


  1. I have an educational question on the Symbol for Discovery Communications , “DISCA”. What is the meaning of ‘A’ at the end for Nasdaq four letter symbol? I know that if it is ‘D’ or ‘C’, don’t touch it because the stock is in some kind of trouble.

    Oh! I just checked on Yahoo it is not DISCA’, it is now ‘K’. So that’s going to be my second question.

    Would appreciate answers from anybody…………

    Like(0)

    • NanoTech Entertainment is into IPTV and 4k streaming into a 4D Seiki TV. interesting new company, ntek. IPTV seems to be growing stronger with younger generation

      Like(1)

    • Thank you so much for cutting through all that BS!!

      by 10 min in i was screaming GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!! And eventually just gave up and closed the link!

      Like(19)

      • You can cut this time greatly by skimming through the article and
        reading primarily just our Gumshoe’s summaries.

        Like(5)

    • What makes more sense about the pump up is the bet with Aereo and it’s ability to win the streaming rights (which they just ended up losing in the Supreme Court Ruling) Had Aereo won this ruling imagine who the losers would have been? To me the pump was about building investors, only to swipe their cash on the quick dip had Aereo won the spot that could have changed it all!

      Like(0)

  2. TV viewing hours are declining, but the transition to fully interactive TV will take at least a decade. So I don’t know if the 3 content companies will take off like a rocket. The prize in this space remains an integrated, broadband, interactive, user-initiated delivery network, and Google will have the technology when a provider springs up. So I would buy Google.

    Like(1)

    • The variety of web-connected tablets and smartphones continues to grow, as well as the range of mutually incompatible standards available for viewing streaming media. For content providers, this means that they have to serve more platforms than ever before.

      You suggest Google, but are there other companies addressing/solving this problem?

      Like(0)

      • Litterally laughing out loud.
        Just a hint of advice: before asking a dumb question, and getting these kind of Dum Dum answers, MAYBE YOU SHOULD READ THE ARTICLE ABOUT THE QUESTION YOU ARE ASKING.
        I feel for your soul if you’re trying to invest…

        Like(1)

          • So you make mistakes, too? Who would have guessed? Perhaps you should not comment on the “dumb” questions of others. It never hurts to be polite, even online with strangers.

            Like(12)

  3. I don’t know if I would invest in these three content providers, or whether I would drop money on companies like Comcast. ( CMCSA & CMCSK ) Comcast has a good track record of a continually rising pps, as well as a majority share of a television network, and movie catalog with NBC and Universal.

    Like(1)

  4. There’s another reason people are dumping cable. Because you can download the movie/show/game or quite literally whatever and play it through your DVD from a USB stick. As soon as someone produces a creature that can stream content while seamlessly downloading 8 other shows I choose, I will be having one. I’ll even start paying for content again. And I bet half the planet will get one too . So the company that makes this creature is the one I want a piece of.

    Like(1)

  5. I always find this content argument difficult to swallow. I admit that this is totally based on my own experience. If there is anything that I find less than boring on a regular channel, I may well watch it. There’s usually something that falls in that category every day. If however I’m offered a DVD or a download then I’ll only buy it if it’s something I find really, really interesting/amusing. This means I buy “content” about once a month at the most. Perhaps less. And even then it might be some time before I actually get around to watching it. After all, I can watch it when I want to. From an advertisers point of view isn’t it better to have the audience that’s held captive by the limitations of time/availability? Someone who may not see your message for months isn’t interesting. Or am I atypical?

    Like(1)

    • You’re not atypical, you’ve just been brainwashed into thinking that you don’t pay for your content. What you’re essentially saying is that at least some (most?) of the content you consume on a daily basis is not “something you find really, really interesting/amusing”. Why would you pay the cable company (way too much money) to watch something that is merely “less than boring” to you? How has the cable company managed to lower your expectations to the point that you’re willing to plop yourself down in front of a TV and watch something that you don’t really like? And to make it worse, not only are you paying to watch something that you don’t really care for, but you’re also being forced to watch the advertisements that come along for the ride. It’s a dying business model that no longer makes sense and change is coming…

      Like(2)

      • Also, you assume just because you don’t directly pay for content
        that you aren’t “buying” it. This is a falsehood, the cable companies,
        Netflix and other providers are paying for it on your behalf and when
        you pay them, you indirectly buy the content….only you aren’t the
        one choosing what content gets purchased. Therefore, the content
        providers are the ultimate winners if they provide a product that
        sells.

        Like(3)

  6. Google and some of the other companies mentioned in your excellent report are good; however, if you want more bang for your buck , and a company that could double , check out GILT
    GILT is involved with Radio and Television Broadcasting and Communications equipment……WATCH THIS ONE!

    Like(0)

    • I feel that since Gilt is an Israeli company and things are currently so difficult vis a vis Israel and the Palestinians and that all sorts of conflicts have been developing in the middle east that investments there can be seriously affected by local happenings. As a result I tend to presently avoid the middle eastern countries.

      Like(2)

      • You are dead wrong. The best minds i the world for computer software technology are in Israel. Go visit the county. It is fantastic and you feel very safe there. Th smartest people in the world are there in medicine, engineering and computer are there. Their defense technology is better that the US.

        Like(3)

        • “.. and you feel very safe there ..”
          Unless you are Palestinian.
          ” .. Their defense technology is better that the US .. ”
          who they stole much of it from.

          Like(5)

  7. I wonder if Motley Fool is still holding Netflix? What does anybody else think about their short/long-term prospects?
    Travis, have you held GOOG and AAPL for years? I see from the stockcharts weekly chart that Google has had several stomach-wrenching dives in this time. I don’t think that you could call them dips. I am not anti-Google, though I did just read a story of them disappearing in five years! (CNBC via Yahoo). Did you buy and hold and hedge?

    Like(0)

  8. This has to be one of the most fun and entertaining news letters out there, you do not have that Joe B smile of Smiling Faces Tel Lies, it is your presentation that is a blast to read and by the way I know it was not the hospital Meds because they go to your pain and you have to come down when you get out, must be Obama’s new 15 person panel who knows your body better than you do, I hope it went well because it sounds like you are up to speed and I really mean that, I can not wait that when they just shoot a laser a you from the door and it tells your blood pressure unless you just like to be woken up every hour or so. But off of the smart tv multi screen and screens I bought all of those domain names for the write off ,especially after the San Fran, Calif convention next month ,I already had calls to sell them but as I said I might need the write off they where so impolite I would not sell the name that they said they would out advertise me by getting .net,.org .tv etc. I think they thought I just got .com and they called back again, this should be good for a few dollars on domain names greed is every where all the sites are under const. but they got my name somehow and they are big boys with there own they just do not want any competition, I told them go to my spacecloudboy.com and make an appt. there when Idecide what to do with them, I always did like the song SPACECOWBOY BUT NOW IT IS SPACECLOUDBOY.COM,etc any thoughts let me know because if we can not smile we should not be here. Back to business when Romney got on the coal miners against Obama I thought who ever wins will get some coal moving again dirty but cheep and it just blows across the Atlantic Ocean not like we where attacking China they use the heck out of it with SOLYNDRIA JUST A TAX PAYER JOKE , BUT REALLY iPICKED UP SOME COAL AFTER THAT SMART TV REMARK AT THE DEBATE TICKER (ARLP) any thoughts on that market or other plays on that energy that you think are in the money, I live in Oklahoma and Obama won’t even let the clean NAT/GAS go without the EPA and China’s approval. Really hope you feel good from hosp. and it is a blast reading your article’s , kind of like watching Johnny Carson and Ed in the old days and then making a buck off of your views which is a show I do not watch (VIEW) Obama goes on there and it is all women and talks about some video why does he not let his mother in law go instead at least she could tell us the colors the curtains are that Oprah wanted and now they don,t even talk. All in good fun what about coal and keep up the great work I should have to pay for this,good job!!!!!!

    Like(3)

    • Cathy, the death panel is a fairy tale, sell your coal stocks (nat gas is a better way to go at least in the short run) and get some sleep tonight.

      Like(1)

    • Jimmy L thanks for the death panel fairy tail . you know sell your coal stocks and get some sleep and that nat gas is better in the short run , your advice is impressive because I did short the coal stock you are a mind reader, and as far as the short term nat gas you might want to reconsider that or say who this short term wonder nat gas is , I kind of been doing okay on HFC AND THAT EXTRA DIVY and CVI AND JUST PICKED UP SDRL WHO HAS A NICE TWO DIVY MONTH IN DEC FOR 1.70 WHICH COMES IN HANDY ON DEC 21ST ,YOU MIGHT LOOK INTO THAT BECAUSE I have NOT FOUND A NAT GAS SHORT TERM LIKE YOU SUGGESTED MAY BE YOU WANT TO PUT A NAME WITH YOUR COMMENT as far as sleep that comes with Cancer and a broken neck but if you are such a good person as your comments seem you can go to my website usabaygreen.com and get something from amazon or one of the other affiliates on there. I do not keep 1 cent of that money it all generates and goes to the childrens cancer and leukemia via the BANK OF OKLAHOMA WHO DID NOT TAKE YOUR TAX DOLLARS FROM THE MAN WITH OUT A BUDGET CALLED OBAMA you seem like a person who would help a child in there last days , sleeping might be easy for a hard worker who stands in line to get his Obama check cashed MAYBE THEY WILL GET SOME COTS AND A NATURAL GAS HEATER WHILE THEY WAIT BUT IF THE KEYSTONE OPENED THERE MIGHT EVEN BE A JOB and the Navy would not be forced to buy there fuel from DYNAMIC FUELS AT 6 TIMES THE PRICE OF A GALLON AND WHO OWNS DYNAMIC FUELS THE BILLION DOLLAR CHICKEN MAN TYSON FOODS WHY WOULD THEY HIDE THAT AND THEN RIP OFF THE COUNTRY TO GET THE CHICKEN BUTCHERS UNION VOTE AND CUT THE NAVY who happens to let you vote and keep this country safe on 6 times the price of fuel from TYSON FOODS better yet go fill up at 6 times what a gallon cost the Navy, go ahead and look up the modern day SOLYNDRA RIP OFF MAYBE THEY COULD GET ON YOUR SHORT NAT GAS RUN , Do you think the DRONES OBAMA JUST BOUGHT FROM CHINA AVIATION RUN ON NATURAL GAS look on that Web Site how patriotic for Obama to buy Drones from China and bring them here, they are on there way some to the ports in CALIF. SOME TO TX, AND THE REST TO NEW YORK so the union guys can unload them, go ahead and pull the China aviation web site up Obama forgot to tell the voters he likes watching those Drone Movies FROM THE WHITE HOUSE now that is the USA embassy death panel FAIRY TALE and don’t you worry they will be watching you so maybe you can get some sleep. Well have a good rest

      Like(0)

      • Man that sounds like the whole of America is being run by Obama! or it is just paranoia rapped in that nice rant wrap!

        Like(3)

        • Yes He is in fact the great dictator…or at least he thinks he is. BTW the death panels are a myth in NAME only. Read that part of the bill. When a third party decides on your treatment based on predetermined factors(which we are not privy to) what would you call it. I really wish Obama’s minions would read his books. Why would they; the bandwagon is still rolling!

          Like(1)

          • You are crazy. The third party you are talking about NOW are the insurance companies accountable to no one. Under so called Obama care the panels, which are not death panels BTW, are accountable to US. They simply choose the most efficacious treatment based on best practices, not deny coverage like insurance companies simply based on cost! And the panels don’t prevent you from paying out of pocket for whatever treatment you want!!!!

            Like(2)

      • Cathy sounds like one of the flag-waving Right Wingnuts who has gone off her meds big time–either that or she’s a Teabagger suffering from paranoid delusions. She probably needs Obamacare, so she can get access to some psychiatric help. LoL.

        Like(2)

        • She has more of a lefty-loony Obama supporter tinge to her ramblings if you substitute “Bush” for every “Obama” she typed. Sort of like the progressive wackos in the Occupy movement shouting their drivel in front of the bull. Different team, same playbook, as perfected by the Leftist morons from 2000-2008.

          Like(3)

          • I love how the right-wing nut balls refer to end of life planning/help as “Death Panels”. No one is telling anyone what to do or controlling their lives! Conservatives are afraid of all change, that’s the definition of a conservative. They are also generally older, generally more religion dependent and generally less educated. Just look at FOX News – High on scare tactics, short on facts with lots of editorializing and comments like “what If…”, You never Know”, “Pretty soon…” and “mark my words…” Not a truly fact-based presentation like all the respectable networks. It’s really too bad that so many people are afraid to embrace change. Which has gotten America to where it is today. The world leader in just about everything!

            Like(1)

  9. I believe that content is king and that it is becoming very more hard to monetize. The internet and TV will be eventually be one. Many kids today download their TV programs commercial free from torrent sites or stream them on the internet and view them on their laptop, tablet or their TV screen. I like the content provided by owners DIS, TWX, NWSA and SNI but think that their current stock valuations are too rich.

    Like(1)

  10. I can come to terms that content is king but haven’t we seen content companies loose their way and become shadows of the their former glory. So I would probably buy some shares in any of these companies but I’d keep an eye on them for management changes that would affect the future earnings. Look at MGM, Marvel or how Rupert Murdoch built his media empire.

    Like(0)

  11. Ok I’m willing to admit that content is king but… this is a multilayered issue.
    You have content then distribution but finally you have personal delivery; ie your player. This is the bottleneck. Tv gets a finished product, video and audio fully rendered. All other systems get data and that requires a player such as adobe, the dominant player in this space. The player is required because of the excessive volume of data. This leads to the current problem of too much bandwidth.
    These content providers may well be good long term plays but short term capital gains will almost certainly be in tech companies dealing with the bandwidth issues such as Destiny Media Technologies (DSY on the TSX). They have created a new player that plays through your computers browser instantly and reduces bandwidth by 95%.
    Thank you for all your hard work Travis and well done with the charitable work.

    Like(0)

  12. I just watched the Motley Fool video today and then read the analysis above.

    I must say that I’m not convinced that they’re right on this one. To use their Cheerios example, granted, it doesn’t make sense for me to go across town to buy a box of cereal if the store across the street from me sells the same box for the same (or lower) price. But, what they’re trying to say is that I should go out and buy General Mills stock just because a new store opened up across the street, which will take business away from the store across town. In the end, I don’t think General Mills’ profit is going to change if I buy the cereal from one store or the other.

    Likewise, I don’t see how a content provider’s profit necessarily increases just because their TV shows are distributed via the internet instead of television. If anything, I could see this hurting some of them, because with the internet, the array of available content is much larger, meaning competition is much higher. For traditional TV, the production companies’ competition was each other. On the internet, their competition is each other, PLUS all of the other stuff you can find on the internet (no, not just THAT stuff, get your mind out of the gutter). You can kill an hour just browsing through Youtube videos that people took with their own cell phones (hell, you probably killed a half hour just watching that long-winded Motley Fool commercial).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if low-cost TV productions, using nothing more than a couple of high-end digital cameras and some good editing software, become hits with their own followings on Youtube and similar online content distributors. In the past, it took a lot of expensive equipment to create a good video, and there were very few opportunities to get that video broadcast since the only real way to do so was through a TV station. Now, anybody can make a video and the whole world can see it within a few minutes.

    To look at it another way, who really profited from the downfall of the record industry (weren’t they also “content providers”?)? It was Apple, through iTunes. Who profited from the downfall of the book publishing industry? It was Amazon, through the Kindle. (Those are just examples. I’m aware that there are others who have also been able to similarly profit through digital content delivery.) Who has really profited from the death of newspapers? Has anyone? I can’t tell you the last time I actually paid for news content (I just get it all online, for free), so if anybody, it’s the internet service providers who were already getting money. Otherwise, you just have the news companies selling ads, just like they’ve always done, so there’s really no new revenue/profitability there.

    So, if the Amazons and the Apples (and the Googles) of the world have been the ones to have profited off of all of the other phases of the internet revolution, why should it be any different for television?

    Yes, the content providers will always be there, and it is the demand of the content that drives everything, but I just don’t see how getting rid of cable and replacing it with internet distribution suddenly makes Disney more profitable. You’re just replacing one revenue stream (TV advertising and cable carriers paying to broadcast their shows) with another one (online advertising and digital content licenses). But, as I noted earlier, the internet brings much more competition to the table, and a lot of that competition is free to the end viewer.

    When the cable companies go down, it will be whoever controls the new distribution channels that will profit.

    Like(4)

    • Absolutely agree with your comment. I don’t see the leverage tilting in favor of the content providers. If any, whoever has the best delivery mechanism will hold the edge over the content providers. You are right, it doesn’t affect GM at all if I buy my box of cereal from Walmart of CVS Pharmacy! I can’t see Google laying fiber optic cables throughout the country and the world. Apple could revolutionize “how” you consume your content, just like how they revolutionized how you talked on your phone. Unless Google has something up their sleeve on this front, in the next 5 years, Apple (and perhaps Samsung?) has the edge…and all of the smaller companies that make Apple technologies work.

      Like(0)

      • Exactly! You guys are right where I was after listening to the MF video. In addition to what you have shared about consumption devices/services, I also believe backend streaming technologies companies like AKAM will prove huge players. AKAM is cheaper now that most Fools have dumped in fear of further drops, but their fundamentals are solid and growth prospects on a global basis outstanding.

        Like(0)

  13. I have researched Disney and Scripps and Discovery and what I find is interesting. See http://www.secform4.com/

    All three show massive insider sales, no purchases. Some insiders have even sold out their entire positions!

    Why would I want to buy a company whose insides are bailing out?

    Like(2)

    • Many saw accelerating income/cap gains into 2012 to avoid the higher taxes they all knew were coming after the election. This is/was true for all taxpayers.

      Like(1)

  14. In this space (content providers and distributors) there are so many different scenarios that might emerge – all of them just about equally plausible – that I think any investment is purely speculative.

    Like(1)

  15. A backlash building. As content providers raise their rates cable bills getting out of control. Also cable sells ads also and much programming is decimated to make room for it.

    Like(0)

  16. You and Motley Fool both mentioned the new rabbit eared digital set top antennas that will pick up a great number of these channels without paying for cable. I suppose a great number of people could benefit from them, and even some poorer customers could dump their cable if they had them. Couldn’t the producers of these devices be a good investment?

    Like(0)

  17. Not only are they “not” right…they are dead wrong…
    i am retired from the programming industry

    Its a fundamental misunderstanding about cable and programming…
    cable makes a good margin on television…their broadband margins are in excess of 90%
    none of what he talks about can be watched without the broadband connection except through expensive wireless data plans…so the supposed antiquated networks are in total control…”Clawing to hold on”??? ‘attacking with fiber?? its laughable..

    i have been long comcast, aapl, goog, and disney for a while..im quite pleased and i expect both to thrive in the future …if google invests $100 billion in networks i’m selling GOOG…

    google fiber is a test…verizon spent 10 years building out FIOS in only a part of the country.. it will take 20 years or more for google to build out..and the costs would be literally $100 billion’s

    and in the meantime the cable companies will simply put the same tech in their networks…it makes absolutely no sense at all…and it highlights the vacuous nature
    of the “analysis”…he neglected to mention that comcast owns more dark fiber than google…its laughable..they bought it over 10 years ago!! they have been preparing for this since they bought ATT cable in 2001…

    my own sense is that folks at comcast are actually happy with this trend…it will take 20 years for this all to happen..and during that time, cable will ramp up data plans and we will paying the same $150-$200 bucks, maybe more….. without the margin hit from programming..

    also people do not understand that when disney loses their monthly sub fees, and advertisers can’t create value and subsidize programming and cable…the programs we think we get for free will be much more expensive…look at what wrestling and boxing can charge for niche programming unavailable anywhere else…and that will give you an idea of what it will cost to watch tv…

    i watched the video and i actually have motley fool newsletter…this video made me wonder if i should drop it..

    Like(3)

    • Cable companies are virtual monopolies within thgeir service areas. At some point this will change. Most people hate their providers. They don’t hate their content. Much of the existing fiber was government subsidized either directly or , in most states, where customers funded the networks via costs still included in local service charges. In other words a de-facto broadband tax. Read you provider bills and look at every line item. Somewhere there is tax meant for companies to use for broadband initiatives. They owe us.

      Like(2)

      • This is as hilarious as it is uninformed.
        There is no doubt that cable companies benefit from rights of way and access to public works..they pay for those rights, and pass those costs on to consumers.

        However, since the mid 90′s Comcast has spent over $100 billion building out their network….this is why Google Fiber is nothing but a test..they will never spend that kind of $$

        Cable companies “owe” us nothing except their fiduciary obligation to maximize the value of their company on behalf of shareholders, and i’d say they are doing a pretty good job.

        I subscribe to Motley Fool. However, this particular article is so idiotic that it makes me wonder about what they say regarding industries where I am less informed.

        Like(3)

  18. There are FEW companies that provide streaming protection against stealing content :). You should look for them.
    The rest is Netflix and Google.

    Like(0)

    • Google Fiber left me cold when it announced coming here to Austin. How can anyone be enthusiastic about jumping from frying pan into the fire in trying to pay monthly bills?

      I think this question of affordability will chill, if not kill, Google Fiber’s growth.
      For example: One year ago, I was paying $91 per month to my satellite tv provider.
      Now, for a one-time investment of $150 to buy a Roku ($100) and a top digital tv antennae ($50), I get all my local channels and whatever content I want. My out of pocket expenses are reduced to an annual $80 for Amazon Prime (which includes many other benefits) plus nominal monthly subscriptions totaling some $16 for Netflix and Hulu. I can buy one-time content when or if I desire, which is rarely, because I don’t have time for more than I already have from these sources. I did the same with satellite.

      So, that’s $20 per month now compared to $91 per month last year.

      I didn’t include internet service, which gives me fine downloading at $24 per month because I was paying for that anyway when I had satellite service.

      Now GOOGLE comes tooting its horn to Austin, offering super speeds and tv service for a MERE $120 per month (estimated, I’ve also heard $160, and remember that’s base price without taxes and fees).

      So, why would anyone except the most devout net techie or television addict go from a total of $115 a month down to $44 a month, then back up to $120+ a month for internet+tv?

      Google is ignoring the real world the majority of us live in. The word is getting out now that we don’t have to be debt slaves to these providers, and Google is just offering another form of the same old thing, if not worse from a pocket-book perspective.

      While I can’t deny Google is still a great stock, I have to side with those who think this changeover will be slower than touted, as cable and satellite providers scramble to adapt, and people realize they don’t need much of anything but a decent internet connection at an affordable price. For example, Time Warner has upped its speeds, slashed its prices and included WiFi, while ATT has made similar moves. Before it’s even functional, Google has had to announce it will build city-wide WiFi, too, to keep a competitive edge. And who’s to say other companies, already well-established, won’t morph to compete more directly?

      I like the idea above of companies providing streaming protection. Would you share details, Bogdan Storm?

      Like(2)

  19. The internet is growing as well as entertainment shopping, including streaming video on the internet
    Im very interested in companies who will prosper in the continued development and evolution of entertainment on the internet
    Motley Fool went through apple, google, netflix, amazon, all the giants and then recommended those three content providers, which were they???
    But i think a good point above is the question och streaming protected service providers

    I have a blogg and if someone would give me ideas about companies then im going to analyse and write about them in my blogg
    http://hankman-pme.blogspot.se/

    Like(0)

  20. Nanotech Enertainment has a 4D streaming player for content and 4D television coming in July. content is coming along. small company but starting to make a splash in the get out of cable now. Also they are compatable with Roku

    Like(0)

  21. So then, I wonder if the right play on this is just to short cable stocks. To limit potential losses, I would buy long-term puts…

    Like(0)

  22. What most of you have failed to realise, is that the delivery mechanisms are important, but the cost of implentation of any cable infrastructure is prohibitive. Wi-Fi, and Wi-Max, mean digital broadcasting by Cell-Masts will be the future.

    Therefore, my bet would be on the mast providers/owners.

    In Africa, and other developing markets, the distances are so great, particularly in the beginning. Cable is not an option. So, how do content providers reach those audiences? They build allegiances with cell-mast providers and stream content via 4th generation internet speeds.

    DISH, and American Tower, should be worth some analysis… (and I speak as a Brit)
    In the UK, there are just four networks I believe, and all digital content streamed to i-Phones, Android Phones, i-Pads et-al and soon to be i-TV I bet, and maybe down the road, i-Watches too…

    Apple will become a content provider and infrastructure platform all rolled into one I suspect, but the cell-masts will still carry the content, and once they are in place, providing they can cope with the Tsunami of content that has been and will be created, then it will be like a toll road, or Toll bridge.

    Profit from here to eternity!

    Like(2)

  23. I spent an hour watching this dude on MF only to be told that he couldnt give me the tickers of the companies out of respect for the paying customers? What about respect for my time. Does anyone know what the companies are?

    Like(4)

    • DO NOT WATCH these long form teaser commercials. Hit the Back button on your browser and a text version will appear. A box on top of it will ask you if you want to leave or stay on the page. Choose Stay on the page, the box disappears and you have the text. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see if he reveals the names of the teasers. If not, find them in this newsletter.

      Like(5)

  24. I’d like to see one of these commercials that start out: “We are _____________________, and we think that__________________________, is going to be a good long? short? term investment. If you want to know why keep listening. We hope you’ll make some money, and subscribe to our newsletter.”

    In particular, their suggestion that they can’t tell us the big secret stocks because it wouldn’t be fair to their paying subscribers is laughable because if their recommendations have a sound analysis behind them then their subscribers have already purchased these stocks and the “non-subscribers” purchasing them will only elevate the stock price to the benefit of the subscribers. But of course we’re too stupid to figure that out, or that they really just want to sell us something, which given the juxtaposition with the unfair to subscriber argument which is proffered makes them seem in my opinion, not credible.
    I guess this must be working for them because they have lasted many years.

    Like(2)

  25. MF is definitely using Buffets name to make money by pitching their subscription. MF is actuallyshort for muthafkrs.

    Like(0)

    • Hey Hansen

      You can spend the time to ask for the code but cannot first read the article which has the stocks listed.

      Or better yet pay for this service and the answer will be right up front for you.

      Like(0)

  26. Honestly, if you don’t have the five minutes it takes to read the article and learn for yourself what the three companies are (which are clearly identified in the article), then you probably shouldn’t be investing money in any of these stocks anyway.

    Like(1)

  27. As a former satellite dish tech, working in 10+ counties in my state; my understanding is that dishes will be/are dinosaurs. Everything will be wireless, cell (masts) towers will send microwave radiation to all. Just as WiFi and smartphones give unhealthy radiation levels also. Who cares about content or making good stock picks when you can have cancer, and death panels?

    Like(0)

    • As a wireless engineer, I feel the need to point out that you are exposed to more radiation from AM/FM radio signals and over-the-air TV than you are from Cell phones and wifi. Go read about it on WHO’s website.

      Like(1)

  28. Just as a general comment — most of these stock advice newsletters seem to have only one goal – sell you more of their services. Each time I subscribe to a service, I am bombarded by more emails to subscribe to more of their services…. that seems to indicate to me that the services I have subscribed to don’t have their best advice… anyone else experience this?

    Like(2)

  29. I agree with Stan. I’d appreciate it of they just skipped to the good stuff. I bought the “Mining Speculator” from McCoach, only to find out he holds back “the good stuff” for another “letter” that costs more. On principle I’m not going to give him more money and I’ll just let my subscription run out and not renew. I get more info here. Thanks Travis and all of you who contribute knowledge, not deprecating remarks.

    Like(2)

  30. I won’t watch anything on A screen smaller than 40 inches,the 55 I have now is ok……you will never get me to watch football on my phone or lap-top

    Like(2)

    • Where did anyone say anything about having to watch programs on a phone or laptop?
      A friend of mine has a 4K TV, and I recently watched a crystal-clear video on it…downloaded directly from Youtube.

      Like(0)

  31. I don’t know anything about this but I watched that Motley Fool thing and from what I saw I thought the up and coming company was Aereo. When I researched them a little they are going into markets and saturating them with the low cost pick and choose internet television spoken of in the video. What are your thoughts?

    Like(0)

    • Aereo is uninvestible until the legal issues are sorted out.
      If the legal issues allow them to operate they will be modestly problematic for cable in some areas because low value low margin customers may choose to go further down the product line..

      Full disclosure I spent a 20+ year career in programming and cable industry..

      Its funny this is an older article…let me ask the group..
      Comcast is at an all time high.. their internet subs are exploding and their cable subs are going down but very slowly…

      Competing with a $100 billion network (that’s about what Comcast spent in the last 20 years) that costs another $5 billion a year to maintain is IMPOSSIBLE…until some new unforeseen wireless technology can deliver 100mb service everywhere at low cost..

      The cable networks are getting faster and more sophisticated. The value they provide is increasing. There is an oligopoly in place in most markets…cable/Telco/dish..
      it is notoriously difficult to go into that kind of market when capital cost is high.

      Pls think about what business plan would say this…
      Lets invest $100b over 15-20 years to be a “me too” product with virtually no pricing power or competitive advantage??

      I mentioned in another post that I subscribe to motley fool…I bought some pretty good stocks off their basic newsletter..

      this video has to be the most idiotic poorly thought out investment “idea” I’ve ever seen and it makes me wonder about the stocks I buy where I don’t the industry except through research and MF

      Like(1)

  32. I enjoyed reading this forum especially the comments from some sound people who who seem to know technology and how it ticks; Roderk, pistol, Jahsuz, cabaokeguy and SR Dozier who hit the nail on the head! I’ve been in the technology field for over 25 yrs in meetings with all of these giant cable and networking companies discussing future and advance technologies, I was the telecommunications project manager responsible for implementing the network engineers platform designs fast, efficiently and cost effective in major coporations all over the country and sometimes out of the country. The first step was determining which cable company had fiber optic cable to reach my end point. Then measuring how much bandwith it would take and cost to download the information (media) and finally how fast and efficiently the service can be delivered.
    The most important components were; who has cable in the those areas. (Verizon and World Comm and Direct TV etc.) all bought / buy access from AT&T and Qwest Communications. The next important component is the hardware connections to make it faster and efficient. Thank god for the Cisco who are the best and world leaders at routing data and media to the right devices at the speed of light. I was in their labs in the 80′s watching demos of their routing technology. It was then when they said it would be an everlasting useable product that will change the world. They called it the world wide web (www) where people all over the world can connect to any one in the world. I laughed and the joke was on me. Adope is also a major player for developing the code to translate and present the information we send/receive so accurately on our computers and printers. I said all that to say, you’re all correct. What matters is the real hidden (hardware/software) players in the middle who will help provide internet TV, 3D, 4D and medical devices/treatments to us in the near future (ROKU, DDD, Nanotechnology) and many others will are the stocks to invest in. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your information with everyone.

    Like(2)

    • fiber optics came from the crashed ufos at roswell and the night vision goggles, micro circuit , kevlar and God only knows what more … check out this book the day after roswell
      happy new year

      Like(0)

  33. Consider broadband over power lines . Using power facilities or fiber as back haul to Wifi access points (cell masts???). The investment issue is not the backbone of a network or even the local network distribution points….it has always been the “last mile”….the cost of getting the service into your home. Coax cable has been a huge investment but if you use this aren’t you still paying the cable company? Who is the player for the local wifi technology that can provide fiber optic speed media and support many users within a geographical area….or would it be the company deploying all of these last mile solution devices?

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  34. Hi guys thanks you for the cool site , tips and all the good info I did get rid of my telephone land line since 1999 and got rid of cable since 2005 replaced by cell phone and INTERNET I just got me a smart tv at target on black friday and a roku 3 for Christmas and have been watching Internet tv programs and as you know most of students cannot afford to pay for cable so they will go for the least expensive method and that is my amigos streamed tv via smart tvs and or with roku 3, soon to be a roku tv this fall, so I will buy me some companies that have lots of CONTENT and I see a lot of more MILLIONS cutting off the pain in the a cable companies since you know when need them they you will be at your place between 8 am and 6pm and then just waste your time so this is the FUTURE of streamed tv is just starting buy your good stocks for the long haul and Happy new year 2014

    Like(1)

  35. I didn’t read through all your readers’ comments and someone may point this out to you already but they were not talking about Discovery. I too research the company and discover does not fit the profile. You should do more thorough research. They were talking about News Corp. the 180 territories and 1.5 billion viewers was alluded to Starsports news corp and espn collaboration for the ICC championship that hit 180 countries. The school books is Harper Collins who is as big as mcgrawhill that you mentioned.
    Company A are you sure they were not talking about TWC and not Disney worth more than 89 billion? I’m unsure and still doing research but TWC makes more sense and may be they were talking about the now somewhat contentious and may not go through deal with Charter. Regardless it was definitely News Corp and not discovery they are talking about. Check out the facts .

    Like(0)

    • No, I’m afraid you’re wrong. A is absolutely Disney, C is certainly Discover. The facts in the ad match Discover exactly, and I don’t believe News Corp has had a quarter of 22.5 percent earnings growth in the past couple years, aside from the fact that it doesn’t fit the theme very well, — but more importantly, the teaser pitch from the Fool also included a comparison chart of their three “secret” TV companies. The chart shapes exactly match the charts of Scripps, Discover, and Disney. News Corp isn’t close.

      That’s not to say News Corp mightn’t be a better investment, that all depends on what you think of them. And they may have been featured in subsequent ads from the Fool — but as of a year and a half ago when this ad was sent around, and as of the version of the ad that you can still see here if you like, it was Disney, Scripps Interactive, and Discovery Communications.

      Like(0)

  36. Travis,
    How about you fellers subscribe to all of the other investment letters, or have a friend or relative do so, and then you will definitely have all of the answers. You can then pretend to reverse engineer or claim that you have developed the “Stock Investment Enigma Machine!!! It may seem somewhat unethical but heck, the other stock adviser services are generally manipulating us with half truths and etc. anyway. Your analysis of those suggestions is what we value from you the most. That is your forte, so to speak.

    Like(0)

  37. It seems to me that what is certain is that demand for ever faster broadband will soar and Verizon (VZ) is briliantly placed with their entire coverage of the USA with fast broadband. They have invested very heavily to be in position and has taken on considerable debt to buy Vodaphones 45% stake in its company. Watch them fly in 2014 and 2015 whilst their competitors scramble to catch up with the vast lead Verizon has. It seems as though they were very wise to do so.
    Is that not an even better bet then the content providers, since it is their customers who have more reason to switch from cable to fast wireless broadband and save a fortune to receive such content.

    Like(0)

  38. Interesting/disgusting that they have been recycling this article for at least 16 months (I just got the email/ad for it today). A is definitely Disney, as the market caps match exactly in Oct 12 and Feb 14 ($139B)

    I don’t know if it is the quirky way my browser is set up, but when I closed the tab which was playing the Motley Fool video, a dialog asked me if I really want to leave the page, and the video was replaced with the entire (text) transcript of the presentation. Coulda saved 45 minutes if I knew that in advance….

    Like(0)

  39. The only thing I am sure of when reading the article and all the above is that Internet TV is the future way content will be delivered to our TV’s cheaply. No one loves their cable companies and their charges,
    The cheapest and most effective way to deliver and receive content throughout the USA and internationally is through the internet when received by clients subscribed to a 4G LTE service. Thus the demand for high speed 4GLTE service will sky rocket. Verizon has by far the largest 4G LTE coverage reaching 97% of the population of the USA with AT&T in second place lagging considerably behind. I favour horizon at current depressed prices only because of the large amount of Verizon shares that shareholders in Vodaphone chose not to take up. The demand for 4G LTE will sky rocket in next to no time and Verizon is better placed to reap the benefits. Indeed it is not at all far fetched to expect US media companies to be interrested in buying Verizon so as to offer delivery of their content bundled with a 4G LTE full internet / TV / music/ film/ home shopping / phone service bundled.
    I see no surer way currently to profit from the delivery of TV content over the internet that is about to revolutionise our lives. The content kings that we will all scramble for, may well turn out to be a consortium of content media companies that will be able to provide us all with the best and most diverse content as well as the fast 4G LTE service that covers 97% of the USA population (Verizon) bundled. That would make perfect sense for all.
    The only worry with Horizon I have heard expressed is its debt level, following the vodaphone deal. Going into debt to be in prime position with your network to take full advantage of the demand that will explode for fast 4G LTE is of course a wonderful place to be. Having in effect borrowed to achieve a vast market lead for fast 4G LTE ensures you reap the benefits more than anyone else. Frankly it is dumb of Vodaphone and vodaphone shareholders to sell their horizon shares at a time when it would seem a certainty that TV via the internet will explode. Perhaps Vodaphone and AT&T wish to exploit the cost savings and wonderful fit globally that could be reaped when taken over by AT&T for the benefit of Vodaphone shareholders as well as AT&T shareholders. Owning 45% of Verizon may well have posed a problem for such a deal when even greater benefits are to be reaped globally under AT&T. I suspect we will see an agreed deal within six months in which AT&T buys Vodaphone at a price that is bound to be attractive for Vodaphone share-holders. This certainly makes sense as to why they chose to sell the wonderful investment they had made owning 45% of Verizon at a time when they were fully aware of the vast leap in demand for 4G LTE services that delivering TV over the internet would bring.

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  40. I remember when a 12 baud modem was hot stuff & www stood for world wide wait. I believe that for some time yet backbone won’t catch up to demand for content streaming of all kinds,TV, Netflix, communications,data in general & is going to demand huge increase in electric generating capacity. To fill that need I think either uranium or thorium reactors are an absolute must. The drawbacks can & will be solved. If the USA alone got serious about electric autos that would demand doubling our power grid. We will run out of sites for wind & solar long before they supply 5% of market demand. IMHO

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  41. Thanks for the insight. Yes the Motley Fool video was entirely too long. What was this about needing things faster? Would love to get an update as reader above stated. :-)

    Like(1)

  42. Really interesting reading the comments from about 2 years ago. All of the 3 stocks mentioned in this article are up approx. 75%,75%, and 90% when checking charts at a 2 year setting. Not to say they will stay this high for ever, but it is at least interesting to the nay-sayers.

    Like(2)

  43. I just received this Motley Fool vid today. I enjoyed reading everyone’s insight on WHAT ARE THE 3?! Sad news for me was that I owned Discovery when it came out as an IPO. Since it dragged. I got rid of it a few months later. OUCH! Maybe I can get my In-laws will invest in these 3. Or maybe they already have. I believe it’s time for a fresh new 3 stocks!

    Like(1)

  44. I came across this MF ad just today – I want my 15 minutes back! But I can see that this has been around for close to two years now. Did a quick check on DIS, SNI, andDISCA and more or less have doubled since first came out. Maybe I need to be on THIS website more often!!! I do love this site!

    Like(0)

    • Well, Discovery is 50% down since beginning of August and hasn’t gained anything after this report was created!

      Like(1)

  45. Wow….I was bored to tears! He seems like a nice guy but when the timer went away on the video I should have known it was a bait and switch. Hey I don’t mind commercials but keep them short and to the point. This was just painful!

    Like(1)

    • If you’d rather not watch the video and would just like to read the content when you follow one of these links to such a video, click Ctrl & W together (as if to close the window) (or apple W on a mac) and a screen will pop up and ask you if your want to leave or want to stay. Then choose to stay (click what ever button that defines that choice) and the video will be replaced with text of the video’s content instead of the video player. As fast as I read, these videos are like watching (and waiting for) a constipated dog taking a dump – it never seems to end. It’s why I only have a cat now – I never have to take a dog for a walk.

      Like(1)

  46. This idiot, actually expects us to believe , that in a few years there will be no more tv and that we will like it ? Seriously?! Give me an effing break , if tv were really going out the door people wouldn’t be spending so much money on making high tech movies and dvds etc. The next time this monkey wants to get people stirred up and believing something as stupid as this , he better target people who are severely challenged who have no ability to call BS when they see it . Sorry mister not everybody is as gullible and stupid as you would like them to be. Try again . NEXT !!!

    Like(1)

    • I know a bit about this industry… I worked in it for many years..
      Like I said, the video is so ridiculous I’ve followed it for years as people continue to watch it…

      I get a motley fool newsletter… if they can be this idiotic and uninformed about something I know about, it makes me wonder if I should take anything they say seriously??

      Like(1)

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