Market Minute: Time Warner Enters Streaming Movie Business

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner center building in New York, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Produced by Drew Trachtenberg

There's a big new player in online movies, and Best Buy is expanding its connection with a major phone maker.

Time Warner (TWX) is jumping into the business of streaming online video, focusing on its vast library of classic movie and TV shows. A subscription will cost $10 a month – about two dollars more than Netflix (NFLX) charges. Still, Time Warner could present a challenge to Netflix, Amazon (AMZN) and others.

Rival entertainment giant Walt Disney (DIS) is closing down its video game-making unit, LucasArts. Disney paid $4 billion in December to buy the parent company, Lucasfilm.

Best Buy (BBY) is planning to set aside prime space in its stores dedicated to mobile phones, cameras and other products made by Samsung. Samsung, which will soon roll out its Galaxy S4 phone, does not have its own retail stores. Best Buy is also planning to sell the Apple (AAPL) iPad3 at a 30 percent discount.

Facebook (FB) is expected to unveil a deal with smartphone maker HTC that will feature the social network site as a possible homepage on the Android phones. The aim is to prompt users to spend more time on Facebook, which will result in higher ad revenue.

The chief product officer at Lululemon (LULU) is taking the fall for the see-through yoga pants fiasco that forced the company to issue a major recall: Sheree Waterson is leaving the company. As you may recall, the material became too sheer when the wearer bent over. The recall is expected to cost the company as much as $67 million dollars.

And the KFC unit of Yum Brands (YUM) will soon allow customers to pre-pay for food by using a mobile wallet when they call in an order. The program will start in the U.K. and soon expand to the U.S. McDonald's (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) already offer similar programs.

5 Companies Set to Cash In on America's Aging
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Market Minute: Time Warner Enters Streaming Movie Business

Medtronic is a maker of medical devices, specializing in cardiovascular products like pacemakers, valve replacements, and various items to help repair problems in the circulatory system. But Medtronic also serves a number of other areas, including ways to treat spinal problems, diabetes and chronic pain.

One downside for investors is the fact that beginning this year, Medtronic has to pay a surtax on medical-device revenue, which was imposed to help pay for the health care reform law. Even with the tax sapping its profits, though, Medtronic will benefit from the needs of more patients needing treatment for heart-related illnesses and other ailments using its devices.

This iconic drugstore chain has been around for decades, paying ever-higher dividends to shareholders. As prescription drug use grows, Walgreen stands to have more traffic in its stores, and that in turn should drive more sales of the unrelated retail goods that the company stocks on its store shelves.
In addition to benefiting from older Americans, Walgreen has made a big push recently for international growth. Aging populations in economies around the world represent a great opportunity for Walgreen to expand beyond its domestic stronghold.

MetLife is one of the biggest providers of life insurance in the country. Insurers have gone through hard times in recent years, as poor investment returns and high payouts on certain types of insurance left them reeling from the financial crisis five years ago.

But for investors, MetLife's moves have made it a stronger stock. It's decision to stop offering long-term-care insurance has been tough on older Americans seeking protection from high health care costs, but its core insurance business benefits from the longer lifespans of an aging population. With some favorable products tailored to retirees, MetLife stands to make big strides forward in the years to come.

The scope of Johnson & Johnson's business is wider than many people realize. In addition to its well-known consumer brands like Band-Aid, J&J also has sizable pharmaceutical and medical-device arms. Though many of its rivals have broken themselves up into smaller businesses to let the individual parts focus on their respective specialties, Johnson & Johnson still sees value in its conglomerate status.

Unfortunately, J&J has had problems with its hip replacement products, which led to recalls of certain devices. But the company has overcome similar short-term problems in the past. Given the size of J&J's orthopedics business, which by itself dwarfs many of the companies that specialize in orthopedic devices, Johnson & Johnson still stands to gain from rising demand once it addresses any safety concerns.

Omega Healthcare is a real estate investment trust that specializes in owning and operating health-care-related properties, with an emphasis on skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, and rehabilitation facilities. A growing pool of retirees seeking the community environment that these facilities offer has led to higher demand in recent years, and those trends are only likely to continue as these communities benefit from the network effect of having older peers recommend them to (relatively) younger prospects.

For investors, the real estate investment trust framework ensures a steady stream of income for your portfolio. On that score, Omega's dividend yield of 6 percent stands out as particularly attractive, topping several other similar health care REITs.
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