Media investors did OK in Q2, as long as they diversified — or were lucky. The quarter ended today with the industry, as measured by the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index, up 6.5% from the end of March. That gave investors a slight edge over those who stuck with the Standard & Poors 500, which was up 4.7%. Big Media companies were evenly split above and below the benchmarks, but mostly just making up for their Q1 gains or losses. Fox led the pack this quarter with shares +9.9% (up from a 9.1% drop in Q1) followed by Time Warner (+7.5% vs -6.3% in Q1), Comcast (+7.3% vs -3.7%), and Disney (+7.1% vs +4.8%). They handily beat Viacom (+2.0% vs -2.7%), CBS (+0.6% vs -3.0%), Discovery (-10.2% vs -8.5%) and Sony (-12.3% vs +10.6%).
More broadly, Charter takes the prize as the top performing media company on our watch list with shares +28.6%, reversing a 9.9% drop in Q1. Investors warmed to the company after it cut a deal with Comcast to acquire and swap subscribers, virtually guaranteeing that Charter will become the No. 2 cable operator if the industry giant buys Time Warner Cable. Others up at least 20% in the quarter include Sinclair Broadcast Group (+28.3%, vs -24.2% in Q1), Netflix (+25.2%,vs -4.4%), Cinemark (+21.9%, vs -13%), and Apple (+21.2%, vs -4.3%).
But WWE, the media leader in early 2014, hit the mat as the Street soured on the company’s new online streaming channel that seems to compete with traditional TV. WWE shares fell 58.7%, giving up its 74.2% gain in Q1. Other double-digit losers in Q2 include Redbox-owner Outerwall (-18.1% vs +7.8%), AMC Networks (-15.9% vs +7.3%), DreamWorks Animation (-12.4% vs -25.2%), and New York Times Co (-11.2% vs +7.9%).