media-drenched blog

Who owns America’s movie screens?

Fade to black: The covid-19 pandemic of 2020 forced extended closure of more than 40,000 movie screens in 5,500 commercial movie theaters in America.  It is a devastating blow to an industry already facing long-term structural competition from stream-at-home movie services. How will the industry sort itself out when theaters re-open? Here are the major players to watch.

AMC Entertainment, since its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas in 2016, owns 8,380 screens in more than 600 U.S. theaters. The company is a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, which is owned by Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin. [ticker: AMC]

Regal Entertainment, a division of the British chain Cineworld,  owns 7,361 screens in the USA

Cinemark Theaters, which also owns Century Theatres and Rave Cinemas, operates 4,518 U.S. screens

Smaller movie exhibition chains include:

Sources: Company reports, via

Who owns the digital pipelines?

Cord-cutting continued in 2019 as U.S. consumers dropped pricey cable TV bundles in favor of internet-based TV and movie options. As the cable/broadband industry consolidates, three major players — Comcast, Charter and AT&T — now control most of America’s digital pipelines.

Subscribers to U.S. video and internet services (Q4 2019 or as noted)

Company Consumer Digital TV Consumer Internet  
COMCAST 21,250,000 28,600,000 Added 1.4 million internet customers in 2019; 9.9 million voice customers
CHARTER  16,140,000 26,670,000 9.4 million telephone subs
ATT (includes DIRECTV) 19,500,000 15,400,000 62.3 million consumer wireless devices; more than 4 million video subs lost from DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, and AT&T TV NOW in 2019
VERIZON FIOS 4,230,000 6,960,000 94.5 million wireless customers
COX 3,865,000 5,170,000 Q4-2019 estimates
ALTICE 3,179,000 4,187,000 Q4-2019 estimates: about 4.6 million voice customers
DISH 9,394,000  595,000 Includes Sling TV subscribers
CenturyLink n.a. 4,680,000  

Sources: Company reports, Leichtman research

Internet trends 2019 from Mary Meeker

Among the conclusions from the annual report by veteran internet analyst Mary Meeker:

  • Worldwide growth of internet users has slowed to 6 percent (3.8 billion people) as most of the world is already online
  • Americans spend 6.3 hours a day online, up 7 percent, with most¬† growth coming from mobile and other connected devices
  • The internet will become more of a “cesspool” as getting rid of problematic content becomes more difficult
  • Privacy is a growing concern and a bigger selling point.¬†
  • Telemedicine and on-demand health consultations will grow as health care become more digitized.

See her presentation here (via ReCode)