Should Stock Market Swings For Big Digital Players Affect Legacy Media Companies?

Recent market swings for big digital media names aren’t bumping up or down traditional media companies' expectations. Should they?

Meta Platforms (Facebook) stock crashed a big 22% in after-market trading on Wednesday -- due to poor-performing fourth-quarter social media-user numbers (the first time ever posting lower results) as well as troubling metaverse expectations -- the latter yielding higher start-up costs for the company.

This came just after a week where Netflix stock went south by more than 20% -- also in after-market trading -- due to lower streaming/CTV estimates. At the same time, earlier in the week, Alphabet (Google) stock shot up 8% due to higher results from all kinds of advertising revenue.

What's the bottom line here? Should we read the tea leaves as to what signals and transitions are to come for all media sellers -- young and old? Some might say this is just an investor play. Still others suggest it’s where the media marketplace is going.



As it turns out, at least currently, there isn’t much spillage to other traditional media companies -- perhaps because many companies have been sitting at lower expectations to begin with. For example, Walt Disney was at lower stock price levels due to its lower streaming business projections.

Other traditional, TV/movie-based companies also have been trading at modest-to-low levels -- ViacomCBS, Comcast, Charter, and others.

Some of the most high-flying media companies -- at least in terms of investors' perceptions -- are Nexstar Media Group and E.W. Scripps, two companies with a local TV station focus.

Local TV advertising is expected to see soaring gains this year due to political advertising from the upcoming midterm election. Longer-term, local TV station operators are also getting some wind in their sails due to the steady adoption of the new NextGen ATSC 3.0 broadcast technology standard -- which intends to make them more competitive with local digital media.

For sure, there remain significant differences when it comes to how digital and traditional media companies perform.

Still, traditional TV-movie studio-centric companies may just offer a different profile: That legacy media isn’t going away -- at least right away. But at the same time, they still have a lot of work to do.

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