Twenty-First Century Fox Slips

Twenty-First Century Fox shares traded slightly lower after Nielsen published its December cable network universe estimates Monday, saying new data shows a median decline in pay TV homes of 1.6% and a drop in median cable network household penetration of 1.9% year-over-year, according to a note from Pivotal Research Group.

The gap between the +1.7% growth rate of TV households and households with pay TV stood at 3.3%, the worst in more than two years. The latter figure implies falling multichannel penetration rates with traditional MVPD services, the report pointed out.

Not explicitly included in the data, but implied by the growth in the TV household penetration rate, “an underappreciated positive story from the data relates to broadcast networks, whose growth in penetration effectively matches the rise in TV households,” Brian Wieser of Pivotal wrote in the note.

Furthermore, Wieser noted affiliate fees are not necessarily affected in the short-term as distributors will often be obliged to pay for certain minimum subscriber levels. “Still, over longer time horizons we think that the trends captured by Nielsen are likely to be reflected in the subscriber numbers that programmers get paid for.”

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