Media Stocks Slipped In Q2 On Cord Cutting & Ad, Box Office Concerns


Reports of surprisingly high pay TV cord cutting along with low ad and box office sales took a toll on media stocks in Q2, based on the price changes over the three-month period that ended today.

The Standard & Poor’s Media Index dropped 2%, while the S&P 500 rose 2.3%. And the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index fell 1.9%, while the DJ Industrial Average appreciated by 3%.

Most of the media companies we track gave up some, but not all, of the gains they saw in Q1. Early this year, investors salivated over the possibility that the Trump administration would cut corporate taxes and clear the way for megamergers.

Among Big Media companies, Viacom was down 28% in Q2, followed by Fox (-12.5%), Discovery Communications (-11.2%). CBS (-8%), and Disney (-6.3%). Sony was up 13.2%, Comcast appreciated 3.5%, and Time Warner was +2.8% (its price is mostly tied to AT&T’s $85 billion purchase agreement).

Exhibition companies were badly bruised as box office sales came in 3.5% lower than last year’s Q2 and investors anticipated the advent of premium video on demand. Most major studios favor the change that would enable them to show new releases to home viewers in the 90-day period when theaters currently have them exclusively.

Cinema ad sales company National CineMedia was -41.3%, with Imax -35.3%, AMC Entertainment -27.7%, Cinemark -12.4% and Regal Entertainment -9.4%.

The quarter’s overachievers include IAC/InterActiceCorp, which appreciated by 40%, helped by its agreement to combine its HomeAdvisor with Angie’s List in a new publicly traded company. Behind it were Alibaba Group (+30.7%), the New York Times (+22.9%), Twitter (+19.5%) and Electronic Arts (+18.1%).

Companies at the bottom of the pack included Tegna (-43.8%), Time Inc. (-25.8%), Pandora Media (-24.5%) — whose CEO, president and CMO all stepped down this week — E.W. Scripps (-24%), Sinclair Broadcast Group (-18.8%), and Nexstar Media (-14.8%).

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