29 March, 2010

Final Four ready for Indianapolis

For CBS (CBS), this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has been a resounding success. March Madness proved to be just that in the early rounds of the tournament, with several high profile upsets, Overtimes and nail-biting finishes.

CBS television ratings have generally been the victor, beating American Idol on the first night of the tournament and hardly looking back. Another success story for the College Basketball brand and network, it's online free-for-all. Each year, March Madness on Demand has exhibited exceptional growth. The completely free ad-supported streaming model had 30% growth over 2009, which is nothing to sneeze at. That equates to 3 Million unique viewers who watched 3.4 Million hours on the first day of the tournament alone. Consider also the streaming iPhone app was a top seller and this online thing is starting to really make a bit of money for the old network.

With the Final Four this year being a balance of known and unknown -Michigan State, Duke, Butler and West Virginia- CBS is hopeful tournament momentum carries it throughout the weekend games and National Championship for another successful and exciting College Basketball Championship.

Also on tap for this weekend, Apple's (AAPL) highly anticipated launch of the iPad, the table computer based on iPhone software that has been selling out pre-orders all over America. Analysts are increasingly bullish on sales prospects for the iPad with initial first year shipment targets moving from 3-5 Million into the 8-10 Million range.

According to one analyst, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley, who has been written about here before and let's face it hasn't had the best of records when it comes to Apple picking (Link), Apple's suppliers are on pace to build 8-10 Million units this year and each Million sold will represent an additional $0.25/share in earnings. It has been this bullish tone lately with the iPad that has pushed Apple shares to all time highs in the $230s.

Disclosure: Author owns AAPL.

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