ViacomCBS, Fox Corp. And Discovery See Improving Advertising Business

Three major TV network companies -- ViacomCBS, Fox Corp. and Discovery -- will see slightly improving advertising business over the next few months.

Results are from MoffettNathanson Research insights, from a recent Credit Suisse media investor event. 

In its analysis of remarks from company executives at the event, the research group says: “On a national TV basis, updated commentary from Discovery, Fox and ViacomCBS points to a rebound off the lows in the market in April with May seeing nice improvements and June so far seeing similar trends.”

The research group now expects a 14% decline in 2020 advertising revenues -- the total of U.S. national TV (broadcast and cable) local TV stations, and international cable --  to $18.4 billion, slightly better than the 15% expected decline in a previous projection. 



Much of this comes from improved second-quarter results -- a 27% decline versus a earlier 30% projection. COVID-19 disruption started at the end of the first quarter (beginning in early March), extending into the second quarter (April and May).

ViacomCBS’ CBS Television Network is now expected to decline 30% in 2020 to $3.1 billion -- as a result of disruptions in national TV advertising, which affected many parts of the TV business  as well as ViacomCBS' cancellation of the big March NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 

Compared to other TV network groups, the Fox Television Network is estimated to see a 5% rise this year to $2.8 billion. This comes from generally unaffected (so far) big live TV sports content -- especially the fall’s NFL programming.

At the same time, it expects CBS local TV stations to see a 23% decline to $630 million, and projects Fox TV stations will be 9% lower to $1.1 billion in advertising revenue.

MoffettNathanson expects these three companies' national TV cable networks to generally fare better than their other media businesses -- down 9% for Discovery ($3.9 billion) for the year, with ViacomCBS declining 8% to ($3.6 billion) and Fox losing 6% to $1.1 billion.

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