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Time Warner, NFL Network Join Forces

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Time Warner Cable (TWC - Analyst Report) – the second largest cable Multi Service Operator (MSO) has entered into a multi-year pact with NFL network and NFL RedZone to offer these two channels to millions of U.S. customers.  

NFL Network, famous for airing Thursday Night Football, will offer all the 13 primetime NFL regular season games apart from telecasting other sporting extravaganza throughout the year. NFL Network will be available on TWC’s digital basic and sports tier packages, while the RedZone will be available to Sports Pass customers only. On September 27, this year, the company plans to roll out both the channels from its network.

This is a milestone deal for Time Warner, which was one of the very few cable companies not to have NFL Network under its stable soon after the previous attempts failed repeatedly on price negotiations. Recently, Cablevision System Corp. (CVC - Snapshot Report) entered into a similar deal with NFL Network to carry the two channels. However, none of the two parties divulged the financial terms and conditions of the deal.

The agreement will cover some of the most popular TV programs to the New York-based company’s cable offering, which includes every NFL Preseason games, the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and Super Bowl round the clock and will be a value addition for its customers. We believe the explosive popularity of NFL is inducing cable operators to add more football channels to its portfolio that will help them to attract new customers and reduce churn rate as a result.  

The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for Time Warner Inc. is pegged at $1.39 for the third quarter of 2012 with a growth rate estimate of 25.28%. For 2012, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $5.62 with a growth rate of 20.11% while for 2013, the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at $6.86 with a growth rate of 22.03%.

Recommendation:

We retain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Time Warner Cable Inc. Currently, it has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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