Friday, August 11, 2017

U.S. ICT Information & Communications Technology in-Depth Study of Core Investment Trends

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AT&T's (T) Management Presents at Oppenheimer 20th Annual Technology, Internet and Communications Conference (Transcript)

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)
Oppenheimer 20th Annual Technology, Internet and Communications Conference
August 08, 2017 08:15 AM ET
Executives
Timothy Horan - Oppenheimer & Co Inc
John Stephens - Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Analysts
Erica Moffett - Associate Director of Research Oppenheimer & Co Inc
Timothy Horan - Oppenheimer & Co Inc
Operator
Erica Moffett
Good morning, everyone. My name is Erica Moffett, Associate Director of Research at Oppenheimer. Also the Head of Research Marketing Services also known as Corporate Access.
And on behalf of the entire Oppenheimer team, I would like to welcome you to our 20th Annual Technology, Internet & Communications Conference. So technology as you all know is ever present, it’s not something that’s new, but it was something that I was reminded of yesterday in very real way when I came up here and discovered that our conference [indiscernible] said the systems at FedEx had shutdown over the weekend. So none of our packages had arrived to the conference. So again, it’s like we are always with our phones and everything, but we forget how much the technology effects all of our lives. So that if you see the time, so we will get, we are hoping to get the boxes today to have our full complement assigned.
Anyway, so technology is ever present. But the big question always in front of us and from this audience is how is it going and how are we going to invest intelligently in it? We are not going to be able to provide the entire answer in these two days, but we hope to provide some insight certainly.
We have close to 150 companies attending this conference over the next two days and a number of panels and keynote speakers and as always to the presentation and one-on-ones, we hope that you have a productive two days in understanding technology and understanding where the attractive entry point are for investing or what the trends are that we need to be thinking about in the future.
I wanted to say a quick reminder that we do have a full day here and then after the last presentation and last one-on-one meeting we will be having. I would like to invite everybody to our reception, which is down the hallway and [indiscernible] today. And we also have broachers printed up with our technology events over the next year and I encourage everybody to take that.
Because technology is ever present and our lives, it’s something that our analyst and we as affirm continue to think about on an ongoing basis and so we would like to program not just this event, which is program our key event in the space, but we would like to program many other one-on-one events as well as [indiscernible] and we do have a large presence at a lot of the other tech conference. So we are out there every day, it’s not just a one year thing that we do in front of you.
With that, I would like to kick it off and hand it over to Tim Horan and John Stephens, CFO of AT&T.
Timothy Horan
Thanks a lot Erica. Thanks for coming John. Very exciting times in the industry and in the communications market and as usual AT&T has been leading the way with consolidation coming up new proxy services and I think kind of has a pretty good vision for where the industry is going to end up five, ten years from now, but you are clearly well ahead of that. But maybe you can describe your vision of where you think the industry is going and what is your strategy to meet that demand out there.
John Stephens
Sounds great. First of all thank you for being here. One housekeeping duty. We have the safe harbor statement I have to make. Today we will talk about forward looking items. The results from what we say may differ and you guys should look at our AT&T website and our filings with the SEC for further information.
We that being said, we are really excited about the future of the Company. Certainly we like our position with regard to a network provider that has choices to provide broadband either wirelessly either on broadband pipe anywhere, customers are able to work, we will have to be able to combine that with premium content to be able to deliver on that broadband anywhere to deliver whatever content they want, the high quality content. We believe that that is essential to the success and bringing that two together it's essential what Time Warner will bring to us.
As we move forward, we believe that the next generation products and services are going to be software focused, whether those be for business or for consumers and the ability to provide those on a next generation platforms is not only going to be able to attract, retain and serve customers well, but also be able to cut costs.
A couple of examples of things that we have got going on not only the Time Warner transaction which we think is going to be critical to our future success, but also our FirstNet contract with the Federal Government. All of those things are what we have wrapped together to this Company that we believe we will be able to provide broadband digital services anywhere people live and work, anywhere businesses operate in an efficient and effective manner including not only connectivity broadband, but entertainment.
Timothy Horan
Can you update us on Time Warner maybe what the process is, [indiscernible] DOJ might be the long pole in the tank, but any color there and may be just any thoughts of you have been working on this now for quite a while and may be revenue or expense synergies updates, thoughts on what you can do with the Company?
John Stephens
Yes, so first of all shareholders approved in February overwhelmingly we got approvals from the European Commission, Canada, from the Peoples Republic of China. We are currently with Latin American and Asian countries for their approvals. Certainly things are going as expected. We are in a process of working with the DOJ and that process continues, we continue to expect to close the transaction by year end.
With regard to that we have announced structure going forward Randall Stephenson will continue to be Chairman of AT&T and CEO of our operations, John Stankey is the is been asked to taking over our merger integration team leadership and he is going to be working with Jeff Bewkes, our transitional CEO responsibilities for AT&T Media. John Donovan is going to be responsible for AT&T Communications, CEO of AT&T Communications, that will include our Business Solutions Group, our Entertainment Group, both video - most people think about our video business and our wireless business as well as our network operations and technology.
Lori Lee will continue as our Global Marketing Officer, but will also take over responsibilities for international and then lastly we have recently announced Brian Lesser is going to join our team as CEO of our new Advertising and Analytics Team and quite frankly that's the next key for overall vision of our Company, is taking those network assets taking that premium content, taking the scale and scope, putting it together and then combining it with the real opportunity in advertising and data analytics to take us through the next step in the progression of the growth of AT&T.
That's where that organizational aspect stand Tim. With regard to the merger outlook, we are continuing to say that we expect this to be certainly revenue accretive and revenue diversification. Secondly, it will be free cash flow accretive and EPS accretive. So we continue to be very excited. We haven’t moved off our initial $1 billion costs savings target, feel good about that, we generally update those matters at the close of the transaction.
Timothy Horan
[indiscernible] something gives me a lot more thoughts of the revenue synergies and new products and services that you can create with this content. Will you be able to integrate this both on wire line more target of advertising new services and wirelessly, will you truly the integrated the services together I guess into a form of a quad play?
John Stephens
So the unique aspect here is [indiscernible] has if you will 750 billion opportunities to add, [indiscernible] towards commercial advertisements plus viewership. So they have this huge opportunity. We have that too, not quite as big because of our data or because of our opportunities on mobile and our video platform [indiscernible]. So this huge advertising opportunity while combining with a company that has actual viewer data and customer insights.
[indiscernible] the number for having that detailed complete knowledge, when we bring those two together, which is going to be Brian Lesser our new CEO of that group, just has to bring that together. We will have a unique opportunity to do much more targeted advertising to get higher CPMs. Possibly to take commercials out of shows, because you are getting more revenue per commercial that you are going to increase the quality of the viewing experience by reducing the number of commercials where you show.
So we are very excited about that actually, those revenue opportunities were not in our announcement, when we announce the Time Warner deal in our announced synergies they were all costs focused. So we feel very good about those opportunities. Once we have this opportunity and have our plans in place to take this on the linear video model. It’s easy to think about using these things, processes to these things, data analytics, piece of digital model, piece of our broadband platform.
Quite frankly to educate our creative talent on maybe how to market their products, how to deliver them, what customers really want, what they are reviewing. It has a very virtuous cycle of improvement, if you take marry this data in this opportunity. It something that we think makes it unique and provides a real growth opportunity for the Company going forward.
Timothy Horan
And at the end of the day, it’s all driven by new technology really and it seems like the networks are adopting a lot of the virtualization technology that we have seen, the cloud providers and you guys are clearly at the forefront of that and a very, very exciting time. Could you maybe talk about your experience with virtualizing the network, is it meeting your expectations in terms of I think you have to improve the quality service and reduce overall expenses?
John Stephens
Simple example I suppose is a cell phones, it’s a flash light, it’s a radio, it’s a computer, it’s a camera, it’s a whole host of things. They all sit in a little device that fits in your hand, because they have all been converted from hardware to software. It’s what we are doing with our core network that’s what we do with our products.
We are taking everything we can, a 2G box to a 3G box to a 4G box is now just a software upgrade for new technologies as appose to a change out of the boxes. When you do that you make CapEx more efficient and you make if you will truck rules and operating costs expense more efficient.
We have done this for some years now, the plans has been in place. At the end of last year, we were at 34% of our network functions, but we are virtualized and have been turned into software activities, we are at 40% at the end of June, we expect to be at 55% by the end of this year and 75% by 2020. That savings is what is driving a lot of our cost savings if you will.
Keeping our total hard iron costs, our network operation costs declining in real dollars, which is what is driving our margin expansion. We expect that to continue, our goal as I said was 75% by 2020 and we hope to beat that. But it's a real and it's an effective tool for us and then allows us to be very competitive with pricing and providing new products and services to our customers.
Timothy Horan
So expenses are coming down for a decade basically what for a long, long time and at a certain trajectory, is this making that trajectory more steep on both OpEx and CapEx or is it favoring one of the other?
John Stephens
So I think it's making more steep on both. I think what you are seeing is two piece. What you saw margins and on the cash operating side certainly showing up that is the really [indiscernible] margins. But secondly, if you will both for cash operating expenses and really for capital, we are taking the savings that we have and in cash operating expenses some part and capital most of it and reinvesting it to continue to the cycle.
We view it as the opportunity if we have this available to do it, let's go get it done sufficiently as possible, don't try to push too much down the road that makes them inefficient, but get it done. So, we are reinvesting those savings on CapEx side to continue this efficiency and when we get it to that 75% level, we believe we will see this real CapEx efficiency as well as continued cash operating expense efficiency.
Timothy Horan
So, I’m interested in kind of ultimately creating more quad plays our customers can get the full suite of connectivity that they need wireless and wire line and all the content kind of from one location. Related to this you need a lot of spectrum and a lot more sell sight to be able to really do this nationwide. And the FirstNet win seems to be a major, major win for AT&T, I don't think people fully understand that I don't think I fully understand it myself yet, but I think you have gotten 20 MHz really open front property of spectrum at this point and now you can start to build-out, I think you have about 60 MHz of LTE built out and it seems like you can go out and add another 60 MHz relatively quickly over the next couple of years and a lot of that's being funded by the government. So, it's very, very capital efficient. So, if we are sitting out here three, four years from now and you have the ability to have like a 150 MHz of LTE built out, is that enough to offer a wireless quad play product where may be areas you don't have a lot of wire line capability?
John Stephens
Yes its interesting you are hitting on all the right things. And so we are very proud of this business. FirstNet we were thrilled to win the contract and continue to have a great relationship and what we expected to have a largest and most successful of all time public, private partnerships. When you are doing business and you could help save lives it's a good day, it's a good thing to be involved with. Certainly the process is moving fast than we expected, we have 11 states and one U.S. territory that have elected in already and the election period has just begun. So it's very early and we are pleased with the results.
The opportunity is, we had some WCS spectrum, made I guess three spectrum that we had not yet placed in the service in any significant way and with the 20 MHz to 700 that we get from FirstNet and the funding from FirstNet to put in the service, we can put all three 2/10s or all 60 MHz of spectrum in the service at the same time. So it's a very efficient, one pay for one tower climb and get three units of spectrum put in service at the same time. You do it on a national basis, because of the requirement and the funding that comes from FirstNet, so you get tremendous coverage across the country.
So you take the 100 MHz of low and medium band spectrum and take it up to a 160 MHz, but all of the new spectrum is going to go in at LTE or eventually 5G speed. So it really has even more efficiency, more capacity creation than the historic 100 MHz service now, not just because the quality of the 700 spectrum, but also because in the technology, we still are running 3G in our networks.
That opportunity along with the continued development of 5G. We believe, will allow us to provide a tremendous broadband mobile experience. If you have seen in the last quarter, we went from 15 million of our wireless customers, buying our video to 80 million. And so we have dramatically increased, people are taking that combined bundle of wireless and video. So that’s the essence I think what you are seeing on kind of a national basis.
We believe that is a real opportunity and combined with our fiber build-out and our 5G build-out. We believe, we can have a national broadband play that could be very attractive, very successful and meet customers’ needs in a way that that’s for, we also think it’s consistent with what the SEC directions today with regard to providing more broadly opportunity across the country.
Timothy Horan
Well, you are the only company with the true nationwide video product, there is two of them and basically nationwide wireless product and you cover at least half a country in the wire line basis and probably the other half you have a huge amount of wire line infrastructure also?
John Stephens
We have a nationwide business wire line service, in a nationwide wireless service, we have a nationwide business service, we have a nationwide retail distribution system, so we are in a unique position. And when you add to that the premium content and capabilities that Time Warner bring. When you think about having a great mobile network and then think about what you could do to curate content in different ways, in short forms and snippets.
And if you think about the longer library of IP properties and being able to use that with your wireless properties. the opportunities are for people with great creative minds much better than mine, we will have the creative types really going to that, but there is tremendous opportunities by bringing those assets together and having this tremendous network to relay on for delivery.
Timothy Horan
And I think FirstNet has a $6.5 billion fund. Is that for CapEx or is it OpEx or both? How does that get distributed?
John Stephens
It’s really for both and we will go to process, I would expect that’s the majority of it, significant majority of it is going to be for CapEx. It’s a contract that has milestones and as we need those milestones get satisfaction payments for out of the contract. Goes with a course of over five years or covers five calendar years. And we would expect to begin to build this year, in fact on the state that’s have opted in, we try to get going in and start working on this as soon as possible. It’s something that’s good for all of us.
Timothy Horan
And do you think the vast majority can be done in the next three years or is it going to take more like five years to get it?
John Stephens
We will see have the opt-in process goes, the more quicker that goes, quicker we can get going on it. I always think that we would have a significant piece of this, possibly the most we done in the end kind of about three-four year period. But we will see, we are ready to go, we want to get it. It’s a very efficient build and ties well with everything else going on in the industry with carry aggregation improvements that we are making with minimal improvements we are making with LAA and LTE Assist and all the other different technology developments then combining it with the spectrum sort to speak expansion and then the opportunity to put 5G into a plan is really something that our network team believes can be a huge advantage on a long-term basis for the Company.
Timothy Horan
So, when you go to build-out - upgrade a sell sights now, are you going to basically future proof it that you have the full range of spectrum and even will you enable for LTE and LAA and the future bands that you can software upgrade it so can we expand a 3.5 GHz spectrum.
John Stephens
So clearly that's our intention too, we will take the box at that time and virtualized it such that we can do software upgrades, we will climb that tower once we get to WCS, the AWC, the 700 up we will do whatever financially we can at the tower controlling the antennas with software. All of those kinds of things, clearly that will be our intention.
I’m sure it won't be perfect, they will claim that it'll be perfect, but an opportunity for efficiencies are really significant and then because you take advantage of those efficiencies particularly with the $6.5 billion co-pay. What you have then is opportunity to deliver a phenomenal customer experience on a nationwide basis, then you open up things like internet-of-things and whether its tractors that are out in the farming countries, that states and monitoring how they perform, whether it's monitoring your UPS shipments on your materials for today's conference, knowing exactly where those are anywhere in the country, whether it's doing rural healthcare delivery and testing, whether its internet-of-things devices across, those all that have ubiquitous support across the country. Not to mention, anybody who is traveling suddenly has this - we have coverage that essentially covers all of Unites States it's a huge opportunity that this partnership provides for us and for the country.
Timothy Horan
And do you think at this point you will have basically the best coverage in the country when you are done with this program?
John Stephens
We certainly expect to, yes. That is certainly always our goal.
Timothy Horan
And clearly you are going to have to ability to prioritize for the first responders?
John Stephens
We have the ability today to prioritize.
John Stephens
Yes, and we have the ability today to give them preferential treatment so they get through. What we will have by the end of the year is what we call relentless preemption such that if a network has, if there is capacity for 10 calls and 10 calls are being used and fire fighter needs to get on, one of the 10 people gets muted off and the firefighter gets it.
Quite frankly it's probably a challenge with the net neutrality thought process, because you are getting prioritized service to please the fire TNTs, but quite frankly I think everybody would agree that that's probably a good thing, it's just one of the uniqueness, this is some of the other arguments that we have to deal with. But yes we will have that relentless preemption by the end of the year. We have priority treatment capabilities today and we are offering that today to first responders.
Timothy Horan
And just obviously net neutrality the rules are getting rewritten, the way the rules are written under the last administration would this have been allowed do you think, would they have given you an exception or how would the process be.
John Stephens
I don't how it worked out, quite frankly I don't think they thought about it, because the FirstNet process has been around since 9/11 it came out of the 9/11 event and so that had been out there for a long time. So I’m not sure that it was even considered, it's just one of the fact towards to be aware of them when we make this rules that are based on various legislation.
Timothy Horan
So I guess for this audience, I know they are reporting something different in the cash CapEx, but it's sounds like your cash CapEx could may be go up 10% versus where it’s been trending last couple of years some percentage to get this fairly large build-out John, is that the right way to think about it?
John Stephens
Well definitely, one way to think about is $6.5 billion over four years, let's just call it, excuse my math call a $1.5 a year it would be pretty easy these three things kind of going up because you are going to funded for that much. The question is one accounting side will be we will spend the money but then whatever of this $6.5 billion gets allocated to CapEx will be charges that counter CapEx, we expect and bring down the total, but we will lay it all out, we will tell everybody that.
Secondly is we will spend it in one year. But just based on normal process, it may, we may spend it in total November, December. But we may not submit the reimbursement or hit the build target until January and not get reimbursed until the following year. So there is a risk or a expectation I should say that the match of all the dollars going out and coming in from the government won’t be the same day. It’s just a process.
Timothy Horan
And so when this network gets done and you have DIRECTV NOW, which the product is massively improving and can you bundle this together where customers don’t have to worry about usage caps on DIRECTV NOW and it really is in product?
John Stephens
So we are doing that today with our choice customers and our plus customers. So we have the capability to turnout, they expect us to have that capability going forward. When you combined what we are doing quite frankly with this, but also with CAF II and some of the other programs. The ability to get that out into non-urban areas is really going to be a significant quality of service opportunity for our customers and really differentiate the coverage that we can give in combining those kinds of offering. So we feel really good about that.
Timothy Horan
And maybe while we are on the subject, your thoughts on 5G at this point. Obviously, there is a bunch of trials going on. Do you see it as more of a fixed line replacement, do you see it as a way to augment your fixed line, do you see it maybe as more of a mobile product and maybe just a timing in where we are at?
John Stephens
First of all we are agonistics to necessarily the type of network, because we have network capabilities of all sorts. We have the legacy landlines, we have the historic [indiscernible] assets, we have a lot of fiber not only form what we have put in what the LLS the former AT&T, the national network business, we have a tremendous wireless build-out and we have satellite delivery of video.
So for us, it’s about providing customer solutions that work best. When you think about 5G it’s just another opportunity to provide really high quality solutions. Whether you talk about it as millimeter wave, which we had test in Austin with some millimeter wave that we had from the SEC, we are getting 1-Gig speed deliver to a business in that test market.
If you think about 5G is upgrading your LTE network with carrier aggregation, MIMO, 256 Qam all of those types of things. San Francisco we ran a test where we are in 750 Megs on our most recent LTE test, it was an unloaded network. But if you can get 10% or 20% of that on a loaded network, that’s still tremendous wireless speeds in an urban area with high traffic levels. We have seen what we have done in upgraded our networks in Austin, now Indianapolis by the end of your 20 cities across. You can see that we are adding significant speed and capabilities with those new technologies.
The 5G standards are expected to be out in 2018 and expected to be widespread in the 2020 timeframe. We are working on that and testing that now. That was a reason for the FiberTower, it’s one of the reasons for our FiberTower millimeter wave purchase. So I view it as a part of an overall solution, because the customer, center, content, entertainment, communication capabilities products and services with this vast array of network assets that allows us to do it more effectively efficiently than anybody else.
Timothy Horan
So I have about 20 more questions to you, but just want to asking two more and we will open up to-. You had a lot of momentum in the last quarter in the business. Can you talk about what really drove that and how can you tweak that to make it even better in the second half of the year?
John Stephens
Cost savings drove the margin performance, great job across the board by our management and network team. Great product, great service quality network and quality service to really low churn on our postpaid phones, in fact a record and quality service, had a real good performance on our wireless business. We have got to continue that.
If you will, DIRECTV NOW is really taking a load off of the challenges but highly competitive challenges we are finding in the video space, for the broadband and the investments we have made in fiber continue to improve our position there, we have about a billion DSL type customers left out of about 15 billion. When I started this job a few years ago those numbers were inversed. So, we are through just like we are through most of the feature phone conversion, we are now through virtually all of the broadband conversion, we still have some left, but we will keep going.
So from all of those things, it's a good outlook by the same time it’s going to remains a competitive environment. One of our largest competitors is competing by giving away things free that’s at least not necessarily a fair price in my mind, but we are working through that we came through that. So, it's still highly intense environment. The quarter really was based on some really good solid work on the cost side that kept margins and profitability at very good levels.
Timothy Horan
And can that continue on the call side?
John Stephens
It can and it will come down to how much of that just like software network virtualization activity, how much of that we reinvest in the network functions and increase from 34% to 40% to 50% versus how much we invest in customers and how much we go back and say we were going to get more competitive on customers and that will develop as we go through the quarter and the rest of the year.
Timothy Horan
On that gives you the flexibility.
John Stephens
And we do have the flex - that's quite frankly what it tells, this long-term growth capabilities are clearly there because of this cost management.
Timothy Horan
And DIRECTV NOW had some growing pains when it first came out, what inning are we in terms of product development, in terms of the product being where you want it to be?
John Stephens
The platform is operating well and now we are adding features to it, we have announced a cloud DVR and a collection of other features that are coming out in the rest of this year. And we are also improving the platform so that eventually can be our basic platform for all over the top service delivery. So, not only DTV NOW, but also premium DTV and that will provide us as well as any of the over the top offerings we might be able to deliver once we have the Time Warner transaction completed.
So, we have got a great start, good solid foundation, we are building onto the house that's being built, it works well, we got pass that test phase, we wanted to pressure test it right away, its why we did what we did in December last year with the promos that's why we pulled back to see how it operated in the first quarter. Feel really good about getting that foundation built. Now we are adding features and capabilities and we will be able to add services on top of it so.
Timothy Horan
So it sounds like DIRECTV NOW, well you are saying it is your platform going forward.
John Stephens
It will be our platform for the over the top going forward and it will be the platform, it will be able to deliver premium DIRECTTV in spaces where some of these are broadband position that the customers wants to ride our video services over someone else's broadband.
Timothy Horan
So could this be material in five to ten years, it could be like half your video based or half your wireless bases on this.
John Stephens
I will stay away from predicting percentages Tim, but that certainly we have put this money into it to build it for the future and yes we do expect it to be extremely important part of our offering, extremely important part and significant.
Timothy Horan
Thank you. And if I would be remiss, people don’t know Mr. Stephens is a world-renowned expert, our U.S. expert on taxation. And I think you have been working with Congress fairly closely in testifying to Congress. So maybe your prediction of a probability against legislation this year and where we are at in the process on tax reform?
John Stephens
Yes. We are still working very hard and supporting every effort we can for tax reform. and I’m optimistic that we, should be able to get a bill out, I don’t expect it to have impact this year, expect to be effective going forward. What you will see is that the Administration, the House, the Senate leadership, the so-called gang of six leaders have gotten together and come up with some principles and tax reform and gotten that agreement.
They are now taking that out to the during this reset cycle taking out to the public. Chairman [Brady] (Ph) is leading some of those efforts. We are very supportive of that, it really comes down to lowering the tax rate on cooperation and getting us into a situation we are at least competitive with the OECD countries. We are at 35% OECD countries, average-ish about 20%.
Dramatic different finance guys makes their decisions on how much after-tax profit you get, that’s a huge differential. If you can lower that rate and get incremental investment coming back to the United States, you will generate CapEx investment. When you generate CapEx investment, you generate jobs. And when you generate jobs, you generate wage growth.
Unemployment is at a very low level right now, but wage growth is almost at a lower level, and so it’s really more of a function of participation rates and the quality of jobs and the quality of business investment. That is an occurring that we need this. We believe that there is a real opportunity for that to happen with a significant lowering of the rate.
Question-and-Answer Session
Timothy Horan
We have a question here.
Unidentified Analyst
[indiscernible]
Timothy Horan
Maybe you can repeat the question a bit.
John Stephens
Yes. I did not hear it.
Unidentified Analyst
What is your view on [indiscernible] band IoT and the IoT opportunity for AT&T?
Timothy Horan
IoT essentially, yes.
John Stephens
So make sure, I got it, so I don’t miss out on the question. Our whole view of the IoT, the Internet-of-Things capabilities is that having this widespread network, this FirstNet enabled national coverage network, and having this platform to deliver will dramatically increase the quality capability and as technology grows improve our opportunity in that space. If look in our total connected device numbers are well over 20 million customers. If you look at what is going on with driverless cars and automated cars and all of that activity, it’s all going be based on this quality of networks and we believe we are going to be lead on that.
Timothy Horan
Any more, we have one here. I think we have a mic two, if you want to hop over there now.
Unidentified Analyst
[indiscernible].
John Stephens
So well let’s say it this way. We are having great experience in our AT&T, basically the U-verse platform now adding too at the DTV platform and doing addressable advertising. Taking the viewership data, the data insights that we know that comes off our networks, because we are the delivery system. We deliver, so we know what goes to the homes, what is there. And our addressable advertising, we are getting close to 35%,40% now on our CPMs on our average, on our regular total advertising $12, $13.
So three times that amount that's the reason we are excited, we are getting that today albeit as a distributor you get four commercial slots an hour as a content owner you get 24 commercial slots an hour. So we are in the much smaller piece, but having those insights we feel really good about what is going on. If you have seen our advertising revenue they grew double-digits last year throughout the year and in the first half of this year I think they are in the 12% or so growth range. So, we are seeing that prove out.
When you take that and put Time Warner's content with it, [indiscernible] content with it you get really excited, because it's the opportunity to not only improve average revenues per CPMs, but may be it take some commercial units out and improve the quality and the stickiness of the content and so it's a virtuous cycle of benefits.
Additionally, you have this information on what viewers actually like and want because you have this content, so maybe you use that to help them market the next movie, may be you use that giving that information, [indiscernible] and use it and whatever way the curative guys won choosing their next product, all of that. So this is adjustable advertising is really important piece of it, it's just the scale that Turner has Time Warner has in advertising capabilities.
We don't today as a distributor, but we have the data, the customer insights that they don't have. If you guys were surprised by the Brexit election, if you were surprised by the most recent elections in the UK, if you were surprised by the U.S. presidential election based on the polling data that was provided before hand, you can understand why a content company would be really interested in the actual facts as appose to relying on that kind of that. So, that was misleading in some of those races, in some of those situations.
Timothy Horan
We have time for one more quick one I think, before I conclude? Hang on, we got a mic here.
Unidentified Analyst
What is your message to shareholders as to what how they share in the future of AT&T, is it less essences in dividends and more appreciation of stock price. What do have to say about that?
John Stephens
Yes, dividend is within the purview of Board of Directors but our Board of Directors have been sticking pretty clearly for close to 35 years and I have no reason to believe that they are going to speak differently in the future. So, we will leave that to them, but certainly dividends are strong part of the value equation and our ownership base, there is a large part of them that really value our dividend.
With that being said, we feel like really unique environment from a cost to capital perspective with regard to interest levels and so forth that we have accumulated a very significant collection of unique assets that will blend well together and that based on our cost initiatives we can make a very good story, but when you add to it these dramatic opportunities wireless broadband, 5G, internet-of-things the entire country covered, Mexico growing and Latin America growing quickly and then you add on to that this advertising opportunity we think we have real opportunity for growth.
So, we think we are in a unique combination, we are certainly a large company of scale, so growth opportunity is different, multiples might be different than a unique startup company, but we have a unique capabilities towards a strong dividend and capital appreciation.
Quite frankly, if you just think about tax reform we are a company that has a 34% tax rate. Just simply think about what if it goes down from 35% to 25%, what that would do to our tax rate, what that would do to our - you would have to change our multiple. Just think about what it would do to the EPS. So there is huge opportunities out there. So we believe that our shareholders can share in all aspects of it. It’s just our guys get a really great dividend in the meantime.
Timothy Horan
Thank you, John. Thanks everybody.
John Stephens
Thank you. Thank you very much.
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Friday Sector Leaders: Technology & Communications, Healthcare

Looking at the sectors faring best as of midday Friday, shares of Technology & Communications companies are outperforming other sectors, higher by 1.0%. Within that group, Tripadvisor Inc (Symbol: TRIP) and Autodesk Inc. (Symbol: ADSK) are two large stocks leading the way, showing a gain of 4.9% and 3.5%, respectively. Among technology ETFs , one ETF following the sector is the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (Symbol: XLK), which is up 1.0% on the day, and up 19.29% year-to-date. Tripadvisor Inc, meanwhile, is down 10.18% year-to-date, and Autodesk Inc. is up 46.79% year-to-date. ADSK makes up approximately 0.4% of the underlying holdings of XLK.
The next best performing sector is the Healthcare sector, higher by 0.8%. Among large Healthcare stocks, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Symbol: VRTX) and Perrigo Company plc (Symbol: PRGO) are the most notable, showing a gain of 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively. One ETF closely tracking Healthcare stocks is the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF ( XLV ), which is up 0.5% in midday trading, and up 15.09% on a year-to-date basis. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., meanwhile, is up 107.95% year-to-date, and Perrigo Company plc, is down 4.71% year-to-date. Combined, VRTX and PRGO make up approximately 1.6% of the underlying holdings of XLV.
Comparing these stocks and ETFs on a trailing twelve month basis, below is a relative stock price performance chart, with each of the symbols shown in a different color as labeled in the legend at the bottom: Dividend ChannelHere's a snapshot of how the S&P 500 components within the various sectors are faring in afternoon trading on Friday. As you can see, five sectors are up on the day, while four sectors are down. Sector % Change Technology & Communications +1.0% Healthcare +0.8% Industrial +0.5% Services +0.4% Consumer Products +0.3% Materials -0.1% Energy -0.3% Financial -0.5% Utilities -0.9%
10 ETFs With Stocks That Insiders Are Buying »
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