Apple-Comcast Talks Shows Power of New Media

U.S. stock markets are down today, but Apple is up and it's showing how the Internet could change the future of media.

Mar 24, 2014 at 3:30PM

U.S. stock markets are mixed today after a reading of manufacturing activity slowed and fear of conflict in Ukraine increased again.

Markit's "flash" U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell from 57.1 a month ago to 55.5 in its first March reading.  

On the international front, Ukraine pulled its troops from Crimea, yielding to Russia, and President Barack Obama proposed excluding Russia from the Group of Eight nations. There's no imminent danger of military conflict, but the battle over Crimea isn't easing quickly and the market is at least a little concerned about potential escalation there.

Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) broke just above breakeven in late trading after a day in the red. What's interesting is that the S&P 500 remained down down 0.24% and the Nasdaq Composite had fallen 0.94%. Higher-growth stocks and higher-risk tech stocks are selling off more than blue chips, which isn't surprising given how growth stocks have dominated market returns over the past year.

Amzn Nflx Hulu Image Tmf

Streaming apps like this are the future of media, which Comcast can see coming a mile away. Image owned by The Motley Fool.

Changes in big media
Outside the Dow, the big move of the day is Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rumored discussions with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) about a new streaming service. The deal would give an Apple set-top box preferential treatment in ensuring its customers get their cloud-based streaming programs without disruption, much like the deal Comcast recently signed with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).  

This could be an important deal for all three companies given the clout Apple and Comcast could have over other distributors. Apple has the customers to make a streaming service work and has coveted a way to deliver streaming content to replace cable. Apple TV was a step in that direction, but the company has long tried to break the grip on cable with subscription content traditionally found on television. It's been adding apps that play live TV, but a deal with Comcast to provide preferential streaming could open up a larger offering to consumers.

For Comcast, this shows the value of the last mile of transmission that it owns and could provide a growth avenue now that cord-cutting is becoming more realistic for consumers. Remember that Comcast owns major content provider NBC Universal, so a deal for streaming with Apple could open new revenue options for NBC Universal as well.

For Netflix, any thought that Apple could offer expanded content or live sports to consumers is scary. Netflix has long been a leader in streaming, but Apple has the device reach and the balance sheet to challenge that dominance. A subscription offering would at least give consumers an alternative to Netflix, which primarily contends with Hulu's subscription service or one-time digital purchases right now.

Apple's shares are up on the rumors today and Netflix is down significantly, but the power in streaming will only shift if deals like this come to fruition and Apple increases its streaming offerings. That's not yet a sure thing, but I wouldn't bet against it right now.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple. 


Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers