Wall Street Expectations Rise For Fox

With improved reality ratings at its broadcast TV network and its recently approved merger with DirecTV, Wall Street analysts are boosting their outlook for Fox.

In a report released last week, analysts at Blaylock & Partners said Fox, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, has excellent long-term prospects for growth. Blaylock said that Fox has the almost the best prospects among the major media companies.

"Fox's asset mix is weighed to higher-growth media segments such as cable programming and filmed entertainment, and we believe the company should continue to take share within these segments in the foreseeable future," Blaylock & Partners said in its report. "We also expect Fox to use its control of DirecTV to launch new networks and leverage the costs of expensive sports programming."

The report predicts that Fox's overall revenues will rise 7 percent in 2004, led by strong CPM increases at its ad-supported networks and its owned-and-operated stations. While the report acknowledges that Fox's broadcast TV ratings have been lackluster so far this year, it expects things will begin to improve. It cites the success of "The Simple Life," and notes that next month Fox's blockbuster "American Idol" will return for a third season in the back half of the season. Yet Fox's strong start to the 2003-04 TV season (helped by strong baseball performance) have slid since then, down 12 percent in adults 18-49.



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