Verizon Becomes A “Significant” Media Player With Yahoo Deal, CEO Says


Verizon is “a small player today” in internet media compared to Google and Facebook — but with its $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo should “take more than our fair share” of the market’s growth, CEO Lowell McAdam told analysts today in a scheduled call to discuss Q2 earnings.

Yahoo will help Verizon to become a “significant player” in addressable media — which McAdam says could be a $180 billion market by 2020.

The addition of Yahoo’s mail, media, and ad analytic businesses enhance “our competitive position and value proposition to advertisers,” he adds. It will make Verizon “a top global media company and give us a significant source of revenue growth for the future….We’re determined to lead the next growth surge.”

Verizon will position itself as one of the few companies that can offer content and ads in the home, mobile devices and the internet. Big advertisers have already “come to us saying that they have more ads to place than good places to put them.”

Verizon was “the only significant bidder [for Yahoo] with synergies” as a result of its acquisition last year of AOL, the CEO says. But he’ll wait until he can look more closely at Yahoo before he puts a number on how much he expects to save by blending its operations with Verizon’s.

McAdam sees potentially important streaming opportunities in sports and says he’s speaking with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NFL’s Roger Goodell.

“Over the next few months you’ll see more details about the plan of what we can do with their content” both in and out of season.

Verizon may make additional deals even after making “an exponential leap in capabilities” with Yahoo, McAdam says. “We should be looking for additional things to address customers’ needs.”

The CEO vowed to vigorously expand wireless broadband capabilities. “‘Can you hear me now?’ has moved to ‘Can you see me now?’,” he says.

Questions about Yahoo dominated the review of Verizon’s Q2 performance.

The company reported that FiOS lost 41,000 wired video customers, bringing the total at the end of June to 4.6 million, which it attributes to  a 45-day strike that ended June 1. About 40% of new video customers took one of its smaller bundles. It also lost 13,000 wired broadband subs, for a total of 5.5 million.

Verizon says that while subscriber growth will improve in Q3, it will be soft compared to previous years as it revs up its marketing.

In addition to the strike, Verizon’s earnings were whipsawed by a re-measurement of its new labor contracts, the sale of local landline businesses to Frontier, a reduction in accounting for pension and employee benefits, and early debt redemption.

With all of the one-time charges, the company reported $831 million in net income in Q2, down 80.9% from the period last year, on revenues of $30.53 billion, down 5.3%. Analysts thought the top line would be a little higher, at $30.94 billion. Without the one-time charges, earnings would have come in at 94 cents a share, ahead of the Street’s 92 cents consensus forecast.

MoffettNathanson Research’s Craig Moffett says that while the Yahoo deal will “capture all the headlines” for Verizon, it won’t significantly move the needle for the telco — which is still mostly about selling wireless and wireline services.

“Even if every part of Yahoo’s business doubles, it would still only add about a dollar to Verizon’s warranted share price,” he says. “The media’s intense focus on what is ultimately a tiny transaction owes to the size of our collective memory of what Yahoo used to be, not what it is today.”

Verizon shares were down nearly 1% in this morning’s early trading.

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