2012 Was a Good Year for Media Stocks — So Which Big Media Conglomerate Did the Best?

Jan 2, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Media stocks performed well during 2012, with most of them beating the upswing in the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index, Deadline.com reports.

The S&P was up 13.4% during the year, the piece notes, but pacing the big media conglomerates was Comcast — the owner of NBCUniversal — with its share prices rising by a whopping 57.6% in 2012.

Other top performers, according to the piece, were News Corp. (+43.0%), CBS (+40.2%), Disney (+32.8%), Time Warner (+32.4%) and Viacom (+16.1%).

“Sony was the only member of this group to lose ground, falling 37.9% as it struggles to fix its global TV and electronics sales operations,” Deadline reports. “Within the universe of other companies that we track most closely, the biggest winners were Carmike (+118.7%), Lionsgate (+97.1%), AOL (+96.1%), Lin TV (+78.0%), and Sirius XM (+58.8%). The losers: Best Buy (-49.3%), Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (-44.3%), Sony, Rovi (-37.2%) and Facebook (-30.0% since it went public in May.).”

Movie theater chains did especially well, with the SNL Kagan Theater Index rising 46.8% during the year. “That partly reflects the turnaround at domestic box offices (2012 was up about 6.3% to a record $10.8B following a 3.8% drop in 2011),” the story notes. “Striking improvements at Carmike also significantly boosted the average in this relatively small group. It was followed by Cinemark (+40.5%), IMAX (+22.6%), and Regal (+16.8%).”

Cable and satellite operators posted an overall 42.2% improvement, the piece notes, citing SNL Kagan numbers. “Cable companies could point to growing broadband Internet subscriptions while satellite gained market share in video and improved sales of premium services,” Deadline reports. “After Comcast we see Time Warner Cable (+52.9%), Charter (+33.9%), Dish Network (+27.8%), DirecTV (+17.3%), AT&T (+11.5%), Verizon (+7.9%) and Cablevision (+5.1%).”

Cable networks also posted solid improvements. “In an uncertain economy, investors loved their dual revenue streams (ads and subscriber payments) and low exposure to some of the distressed economies in Europe,” the story reports. “SNL Kagan’s index for them was +34.3% including big improvements at Discovery (+54.9%), Crown Media (+52.9%), Scripps Networks (+36.5%), and AMC Networks (+31.7%).”

SNL Kagans index for studios was up 32.4%, with Lionsgate leading the way. “Lionsgate skewed the results in this small group following its string of movie and TV successes led by ‘The Hunger Games’ and (after its acquisition in January of Summit Entertainment) ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2,’” Deadline reports. “By contrast, DreamWorks Animation was -0.2% following the disappointing performance of ‘Rise of the Guardians.’”

TV stations got a boost from advertising associated with the Olympic Games, political spending and a resurgence in the automotive segment, posting a 24.0% improvement. Following the 78.0% rise for Lin TV, Gray Television was up 35.8%, Entercom rose 13.5% and Sinclair climbed 11.4%.

“What about the sexy new media businesses that are angling to take market share from traditional media? They did well, but didn’t dramatically exceed the Street’s expectations: Their stocks were +21.3% overall,” the story reports. “AOL was the standout here, helped by consistent revenue growth, and a $1B+ sale of its patents with much of the cash used to repurchase shares. It beat Amazon (+44.9%), Netflix (+33.6%), Apple (+31.4%), Yahoo (+23.4%), Google (+9.5%), and Microsoft (+2.9%).”

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