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BenzingaEditorial

The Media Sector Fighting for Survival Through Streaming

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Roku Streaming

Media companies produce and distribute the content we ended up consuming more than ever before when COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe. Whether it is in the form of film, television series, music, books or radio programming, these companies provided the world with the much-needed therapy during the lockdown.

Due to intense streaming wars ran by services a la Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), much of the media industry’s power has been consolidated in just a few names such as Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA), and ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC). Some have been acquired by telecom companies such as AT&T (NYSE:T), owner of WarnerMedia, and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), owner of NBCUniversal. By joining forces, they integrated quality content with powerful distribution. The competitive pressure is intense as even radio producers have turned to podcasts to capitalize on this opportunity.

Clear winners

As more people cut the cord and more advertisers shift their ad budgets away from TV towards direct-to-consumer platforms, Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are set to benefit from these trends. These two growing players will only get stronger as competition in the streaming space grows. As media companies need to stand out, this trend will directly support their long-term revenue growth.

Discovery – Olympics

Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) owns strong content and brands, including HGTV, the Food Network, and its namesake channel. But the main asset of the communications giant is its portfolio of sports rights that allows it to span all over the globe. Its main jewel are the Olympic Games. Over the last five years, yearly sales growth amounted to 12.20%. When it reported its latest quarter in June, earnings per share amounted to $0.77 exceeding consensus estimates by $0.07.

Netflix isn’t scared of competitors

Although Disney+ achieved a record pace of new subscribers, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) remained as the largest direct-to-consumer video service in the world. As of 2013, it even started its original production to be less reliant on others for content. Despite fears, it is doing more than fine. In the last quarter reported in July, Netlix delivered a profit of $2.5 billion on increasing revenues of $6.15 billion. It blew estimates and eased concern it could be crushed by upcoming competitors with free cash flow of $1.06 billion, EBITDA at $9.77 billion, profit margins of 11.90%, ROE of 33.30% and ROA of 7.80%.

Netflix’s massive scale provides it with a lot of data it can use to improve the user experience and optimize its content production. While it fuelled its content library expansion through increased debt, the company’s growing recurring revenue and improved operating margin should lead to improved cash flow and give the streaming giant the ability to self-fund content investments in the future.

Disney

When it acquired 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) became one of the biggest media companies in the world. The iconic House of Mouse has a portfolio of intellectual properties that goes beyond legacy Disney Brands as it now includes Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar. Moreover, it has strong television brands such as ESPN with long-term contracts to broadcast premium sporting events. Its push into direct-to-consumer streaming has gone well since it acquired operational control of Hulu and launched its streaming star, Disney+. Both are bolstered by its acquisition of BAMTech, a streaming technology provider. Although its theme-park and cruise business slumped during the pandemic, streaming was a rare bright spot. Unfortunately, it will take a while before this segment reaches profitability. Theme parks produce a much higher operating margin and therefore, play a much significant role in company’s performance which was nearly wiped out.

But, its fiscal fourth quarter is about to end and with it, this brutal fiscal year. The figures won’t be pretty but there should be an improvement over the vicious 42% decline in revenue that it posted for its fiscal third quarter. After all, the current quarter is the period when theme parks reopened, sports programming returned to ESPN, and movie theaters started opening their doors. Fiscal 2021 can’t start soon enough for Disney.

Viacom

ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC) ensures a broad distribution and large audiences as its cable networks are well diversified across audience demographics. After all, it operates one of the four broadcast networks in the U.S. which has its perks. Although the company had many  carriage disputes with distributors, adding the CBS broadcast network should strengthen its negotiating power. Meanwhile, joining CBS and Paramount should result in sufficient content to feed its own networks, including direct-to-consumer services. During its second quarter, VIAC showed it was able to absorb the blow to its advertising business by reporting a profit of $2.79 billion with revenues increasing to $6.28 billion. With free cash flow of $1.02 billion from June, EBITDA at $1.41 billion which compares well with its peers, ViacomCBS Inc has strong fundamentals that helped it deal with a 27% drop in advertising and lack of sports. With a market cap of $18.15 billion, it is increasing its credibility in this sector as its digital revenue jumped 25%, boosted by a 52% increase in streaming subscription revenue.

Outlook

The COVID-19 pandemic was double trouble for pay-TV industry because advertisers reduced their budgets and consumers started cancelling subscriptions as sport events and TV series productions were delayed or annuled. eMarketer forecasted that around 6.6 million U.S. households will cut the cord in 2020 with ad spending dropping 15%, forcing media companies to focus on direct-to-consumer content. As more consumers cut the cord and advertisers move to digital platforms, streaming players are set to thrive. Moreover, Roku is well-positioned to benefit from them all.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

BenzingaEditorial

News From the EV World

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EV news keeps on coming. After leading companies like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and NIO (NASDAQ:NIO) now Subaru Corporation (OTC: FUJHY) has finally hopped on the EV train by officially releasing a few of teaser images of its first electric car that will be powered by the platform it has been co-developing with fellow Japanese automaker Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM). Renown tonneau cover designer and manufacturer that brought its revolutionary solar fusion TerraVis to the EV table, Worksport Ltd (OTC: WKSP) has announced this morning it entered pre-production and testing phase with TerraVis COR mobile energy storage system with which it’ll tap into a wider consumer market.

Subaru’s first EV

No pricing or specs have been released but the Solterra EV will be coming to the US, Canada, Europe, and Japan in 2022.  Like its automotive peers, the Japanese automaker will use its first electric vehicle as a clean slate to refresh the way it designs the interior of its vehicles. Solterra was created from two Latin words, “Sol” standing for the ‘Sun’ and “Terra” standing for the ‘Earth’ to represent the automaker’s commitment to deliver traditional SUV capabilities in a way that is in harmony with the environment, which does sound refreshingly harmonic for corporate naming conventions. Like other vehicles that will be built on this platform which Toyota calls the e-TNGA and Subaru calls e-Subaru, Subaru’s first EV will benefit from its expertise in creating good all-wheel drive systems and Toyota’s mastery in developing battery technology for its hybrids. Solterra certainly seems more pleasing to the eyes than “BZ4X,” the first SUV Toyota will build on this shared platform that is also due out next year.

Worksport’s TerraVis COR has entered the production prototype phase

After signing deals with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its groundbreaking TerraVis™ system for their upcoming electric pickups and the company’s most recent news about the expansion of its manufacturing capacity and Private Label customer base, Worksport reported it has entered the pre-production and testing phase of its mobile energy storage system, TerraVis COR.

In the coming weeks, the company will soon launch a TerraVis™ website to provide more information on this revolutionary line. TerraVis COR™’s first pre-production prototype is expected to be ready during the early stages of the third quarter. It will be fully operational and is expected to reflect the final product that will be commercially available by the end of the year. However, extensive testing is required to receive certifications for it to become a commercially viable global product. This independent mobile energy system is the ideal integration of user-friendly simplicity with clever and multi-dimensional functionality. It is an extension to its TerraVis line that will allow the company to go beyond pickup trucks and tap into a wider consumer market, appealing to any everyday consumer who needs mobile power- and that is pretty much everyone.

Worksport is also in in the process of getting its uniquely designed sold through several large, automotive-focused, online retailers to expand its footprint nationally.  Simultaneously, discussions are being held with various distribution channels to get the company’s innovative branded products in many brick-and-mortar stores in the coming year as the company is working diligently towards becoming a household brand known for its unique offering of affordable leading-edge technology that enhances everyday lives.

New EV models are coming, the world’s first electric pickup will see the light of the day this year with exciting technology developments also on the way as after all, EVs are more about software than hardware.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Ride-hailing Seems To Be Making a Comeback But Drivers Seem Hesitant

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Last week, Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft Inc (NASDAQ: LYFT) showed they are seeing improvement in ride hailing that was strangled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uber was saved by its food delivery business

Uber’s first-quarter results come after it announced March was the best month in the company’s nearly 12-year history, as its mobility business reported the most bookings since the start of the pandemic and delivery demand exceeded driver supply.

Q1 figures

Revenue for the quarter came in at $2.9 billion which was below analysts’ estimates. Uber had to deal with a $600 million UK charge, which is merely a glimpse of the costs it could face if it were it is forced to treat its US gig workers as employees. This time, it had to settle with its more than 70,000 UK drivers. During the first quarter, Uber had 3.5 million active drivers and food-delivery workers on its platform, the majority of whom work in the United States.

Excluding that charge, Uber reported $3.5 billion in revenue, up 8 per cent YoY. As has been the case for most of the pandemic, its delivery division accounted for the bulk of sales, at $1.7 billion, a 230% increase from the first quarter of 2020. A one-off, $1.6 billion windfall from the sale of its self-driving division helped the company come within touching distance of a profitable quarter, recording a net loss of $108 million, compared with $2.9 billion in the same quarter a year ago.

Uber recorded $19.5 billion in gross bookings which is the total value of all transactions, marking a 24 per centincrease compared to the same period last year which was marked by the early days of the pandemic.

Uber’s preferred measure of performance and the one it promised to be profitable on by the end of the year, adjusted EBITDA, also came in ahead of analysts’ expectations, with a $359 million loss, 41 per cent better than a year ago.  Narrowing losses by nearly $100 million from the previous quarter, it is important to note this figure excludes one-time costs such as stock-based compensation.

Ride-hailing improvements

In April, Uber’s gross ride-share bookings in the US increased 5 per cent month on month. Also, executives shared data from two of its largest markets for rides and delivery, namely Sydney and New York, that revealed delivery gross bookings were still elevated even after reopenings, which boosted rideshare demand. Uber recorded 98 millionactive users, whether for rides or food which is a 5 per cent increase from the previous quarter but 5 per cent lower than the same period last year.

Incentives for drivers

In addition to distributing free personal protective equipment, Uber announced last month it would spend $250 million as a one-time stimulus to get drivers who are hesitant to ferry passengers over food back on the road.

Lyft’s first quarter results exceeded expectations

Lyft is handing out similar incentives as it will use its cut from elevated pricing to fund investments to bring back more drivers. But, unlike Uber, it managed to beat on the top and bottom lines and exceeded Wall Street’s rider expectations for its first quarter.

Purely ride-hailing company generated $609 million of revenue that resulted in a loss per share of 35 cents. After deducting $180.7 million of stock-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, net loss for the quarter amounted to $427.3 million whereas net loss margin was 70.2%. One year ago, it amounted to 41.7%.

Adjusted EBITDA loss was $73 million whereas the adjusted EBITDA loss margin was 12%, compared to 8.9% in the same quarter in 2020 and 26.3% in the previous quarter, fourth quarter of 2020.

It is important to highlight that YoY comparisons don’t adequately show the company’s progress since Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the world and severely restricted travel. For example, revenue is down 36% YoY but it increased 7% from the fourth quarter.

Outlook

Lyft reaffirmed its expectation that it will reach sustained adjusted profits on an adjusted EBITDA basis by the third quarter of the year. It also issued guidance for its second quarter, with revenue expected in the range between $680 million and $700 million, which is a 12% to 15% increase quarter over quarter and YoY growth between 100% and 106%. Adjusted EBITDA loss is expected in the range between $35 million and $45 million.

Strategic move to advance the profitability timeline

Lyft sold off its self-driving car unit to a subsidiary of Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM), Woven Planet, for $550 million in cash. This deal is great news for its profitability timeline as it is expected to eliminate $100 million of annualized non-GAAP operating expenses on a net basis.

Outlook – driver supply shortage

Although recovery will take time, as Covid vaccines roll out, state restrictions are lifted, and people feel more comfortable returning to work or traveling, transit companies are slowly showing signs of recovering. Moreover, Uber is confident that its business will benefit from the complementary nature of two of its large core opportunities even in a post-pandemic world as it intertwined its ride-hailing app with its delivery business.

With a resurgence in users, both companies are facing a growing need for more drivers. Lyft executives said they expect issues around supply and demand to continue in the second quarter and ease in the third. Uber executives expect ride-hailing business to bounce back as vaccinations pick up but they also acknowledged the business isfacing the same imminent challenge: not enough drivers.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Updates From the EV World

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EV news just keep on coming. Hyundai Motor Company (OTC: HYMTF) confirmed several new models in an investor presentation. But, in the EV world where software is more important than hardware, equipment makers are just as important as automakers, with a few players even promising to bring the game to a whole new level or change the rules entirely beside well known companies like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) or General Motors (NYSE:GM). One such player is Worksport Ltd (OTC: WKSP) which has partnered with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its revolutionary solar fusion technology TerraVis for their upcoming electric pickups. The company has just issued a progress update this morning to its investors, shareholders, and supporters about how it continues to expand its customer base.

Hyundai provided more details about its ambitious EV plans

Hyundai’s ambitious new-product launch cycle continue going forward with an investor presentation that confirmed several new EV models and updates to existing vehicles due next year.

The Genesis GV70 compact crossover is getting its electric version.  After the established template as theElectrified G80 that looks nearly identical to the gas-powered sedan, the GV70 EV will likely also resemble its gas-powered peer. Hyundai’s EV subrand will also gain a new Ioniq 6 sedan that will join the Ioniq 5 hatchback.

Mid-cycle updates will also be applied to various models beginning with the 2022 Genesis G90, full-size luxury sedan, that will probably arrive later this year. It will likely adopt the same “two lines” styling motif seen on the rest of the luxury brand’s models. Visual updates for the 2023 Hyundai Sonata mid-size sedan and the 2023 Hyundai Palisade three-row SUV have been announced for next year.

Worksport is strengthening its footprint

Following up its announcement from March 16th, Worksport announced this morning that it has officially secured a deal with a new brand in the automotive sector for its Private Label unit.  The innovative designer and manufacturer of tonneau covers is pleased to report that it has a queue of additional customer orders pending as a result of overwhelming product demand. When Worksport realized profitability back in 2019, it was able to do so with just one customer. With three private label customers the Company has gained along with two additional ones that are in the process of being secured, Worksport is on track to achieve profitability once again even after the havoc the COVID-19 brought to supply chains and operations across the industry. Worksport is also reporting that the first shipment from its last signed Private Label brand has already been scheduled for delivery. This major milestone speaks loads about the company’s delivery capabilities. Worksport’s CEO Steven Rossi commented  that strengthening the company’s manufacturing footprint will ensure demand is being met, bringing opportunities previously out of reach and propelling the company to new heights.

These business developments speak volumes to Worksport’s relentless determination and successful execution. It is important to highlight that the private label segment makes non-competing products both in terms of type and cost for Private Label customers, meaning that Worksport provides bespoke products for each customer that do not directly compete with neither each other nor the Worksport brand.  As always, the company isn’t disclosing customer identities to respect its Private Label agreement.

In 2020, we charged towards electric vehicles. By the looks of it, 2021 will be the year of the electric revolution.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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