Taking The Media Industry's Temperature

Forget about media disruption. Maybe we are looking at more iffy prospects, such as media uncertainty -- especially with marquee digital media companies.

A whipsaw stock market -- up 400 points, down 500 points, up 300 points -- may just be algorithms gone wild. Slowly rising interest rates, a potential slowdown globally and tariffs are other culprits.

Underneath all this are highly watched new media technology stocks -- Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google -- the FANG stocks that have witnessed crushing results of late.

Facebook is down 17% so far this year -- 15% over the last three months. While Google has been sinking 15% over the last three months, Netflix is down 16% over that period. Amazon is the lone big gainer since the beginning of the year -- up nearly 40%.

But it has also given back a lot, and is now down 15% over the last three months.



Media analysts and industry executives might be a bit worried. Will these stocks be the true bellwether that media companies' traditional media — TV networks, independent TV station groups, print, newspaper, outdoor — look to?

All this comes as the still-nascent TV streaming businesses, crucial to future TV networks carriage, appears to be slowing down.

No problem, says Brian Roberts, chairman-CEO, Comcast Corp. His company is in no rush to launch new TV streaming businesses, in contrast to aggressive efforts from big traditional TV-based media companies, such as Walt Disney.

One silver lining is that all Comcast traditional TV businesses are healthy and growing, says Roberts. Comcast continues to have a healthy 30% stake in growing digital video platform, Hulu, which has a video-on-demand service, as well as a newer digital live, linear TV service of networks.

In addition, much of its library product -- its TV networks programming -- is already performing well on Netflix, including its DreamWorks Animation content and reruns of “The Office.”

We now have two months to go before the end of the year. Two of three major stock market indices -- Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 -- are virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year. The technology-heavy Nasdaq is up 4% since the beginning of the year, but down 7% over the last three months.

Sounds kind of flat to me. Is this the new near-term modifier for media — the unchanged status?

1 comment about "Taking The Media Industry's Temperature".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, November 1, 2018 at 12:59 p.m.

    When I read that Comcast is not in a rush to get into streaming (beyond Hulu), I immediately thought about the nation's leading retailer in the 1990s, also not in a rush to offer goods online.  You guessed it:  Sears.

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