Top 5 Media Companies For 2014

LONDON — After two sessions of losses in a row, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) is taking back some ground today, up 0.7% to 6,571 as of 8:10 a.m. EDT. Today it seems the markets are feeling more confident about worldwide economic-stimulus measures — though, in the long term, the economy will have to be left to its own devices, so Foolish investors should be looking beyond such things.

With such a modest start to the day, which shares look like they may beat the FTSE today? Here are two candidates from the various indexes.

Thomas Cook (LSE: TCG  )
Thomas Cook Group shares have picked up 0.6% to 144 pence after a vote at yesterday’s AGM supported the travel firm’s refinancing plans, and this morning the company announced that its capital reorganization, as announced on May 16, is complete. There is no change to the number of ordinary shares into which outstanding warrants may be converted, and there will be a further announcement regarding a recently announced placement in due course.

Top 5 Media Companies For 2014: Discovery Communications Inc(DISCA)

Discovery Communications, Inc. operates as a non fiction media and entertainment company worldwide. The company provides original and purchased programming across various distribution platforms. Its content covers science, exploration, survival, natural history, sustainability of the environment, technology, docu-series, anthropology, paleontology, history, space, archaeology, health and wellness, engineering, adventure, lifestyles, forensics, civilization, and current events. The company owns and operates nine national television networks in the United States, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel, Planet Green, Discovery Fit & Health, and Velocity. Discovery Communications also has interests in Oprah Winfrey Network, a pay-television network and Web site; The Hub that features original programming, game shows, and live-action series and specials; and 3net, a three-dimensional network. In addition, it o ffers network branded Web sites, and mobile and video-on-demand services; and distributes various national and pan-regional television networks. Further, the company develops and sells curriculum-based products and services to public and private K-12 schools, such as access to an online VOD service that includes curriculum-based tools, professional development services, and student assessment and publication of hardcopy curriculum-based content; and postproduction audio services to motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies, and interactive producers. As of December 31, 2011, it operated approximately 150 distribution feeds in 40 languages. The company is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Will Ashworth]

    Somebody will buy Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI), given that HGTV and Food Network are both in the top 20. It looked momentarily like Discovery Communications (DISCA) might be the suitor, but the company backed out of talks this past week, preferring to focus on overseas expansion.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe] d that precise strategy and now owns several cable networks available in over 200 countries worldwide. The national and pan-regional networks, distributed through 130 feeds and in 40 languages, have established this media firm in virtually every market. So, let’s take a look at what might have encouraged investment gurus Ron Baron (Trades, Portfolio) and Lee Ainslie (Trades, Portfolio) to add more of this company’s shares to their portfolio. 

    Working Through the Niche

    As the niche cable network provider in the media industry, Discovery’s flagship channel addresses topics like science, technology, history and exploration. With TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery as the three key domestic channels, the company reaches 100 million households, and despite the mature U.S. market, sales have grown 6% and revenue 10% in fiscal 2013. This is mainly due to the media giant’s unique content programming and line-up refreshments. Hit shows like Shark Week, for example, have become so popular through advertising that the network experienced in 2013 its all-time best viewership with over 50 million viewing rates during one episode. The men’s lifestyle cable network, Velocity, also experienced a 30% viewership increase in quarter four of 2013, and is now the fastest-growing network in that segment.  

    Furthermore, in addition to the namesake channels, Discovery also owns Investigation Discovery, The Learning Channel, a 50% stake in Oprah Winfrey’s new cable channel OWN, and The Hub, a children’s network created with Hasbro Inc. (HAS). The strong universal appeal of content which transcends cultures and languages, add a differential value to this company and has allowed international distribution across multiple media platforms. In fact, 100% content ownership gives this firm a competitive advantage, as it can seek benefits from non-traditional content distribution. With companies like Netflix Inc. (NFLX) or Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) looking to push t

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Consider the case of Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA), the world’s leading creator of documentary-style content. The company recently said it wants to upgrade to 4K for shows it runs on such networks as the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and Science.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    So yes, Disney is a Buy, and DiClemente’s $90 price target suggests another 19% of upside from yesterday’s close, though it should be noted he also likes CBS (CBS), Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) and Discover Communications (DISCA).

Top 5 Media Companies For 2014: Thomson Reuters Corp(TRI)

Thomson Reuters Corporation provides intelligent information for businesses and professionals worldwide. The company allows market participants to connect, access content, and trade in a secure environment through Thomson Reuters Eikon desktop, Thomson Reuters Elektron network, content integration and management technology, content feeds and databases, and transactions infrastructure solutions that support buy- and sell-side customers to trade in foreign exchange, fixed income and derivatives, equities, exchange-traded instruments, and commodities and energy markets. It also offers information, analytics, workflow, and technology solutions to buy-side and off-trading floor customers; access to liquidity in over-the-counter markets, trade execution, and connections for market participants and financial professionals? communities; and a suite of solutions offering informed outcomes to regulated industries and law firms. In addition, the company provides critical information , decision support tools, and software and services to legal, investigation, business, and government professionals; integrated tax compliance and accounting software and services for accounting and law firms, corporations, and government professionals; intellectual property and scientific resources that enable its customers to discover, develop, and deliver innovations; and data analytics, and performance benchmarking solutions and services to healthcare sector. Further, it offers coverage of global, regional, and national news in 20 languages covering politics, business, finance, entertainment, lifestyle, technology, health, science, and sports; and engages in advertising-supported direct-to-consumer publishing activities of Reuters.com and its network of Websites, mobile applications, and electronic out-of-home displays. The company was formerly known as The Thomson Corporation and changed its name to Thomson Reuters Corporation in April 2008. The company is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Wolfe]

    Thomson Reuters (TRI)

    On Feb. 11, Thomson Reuters declared a dividend of $0.330 per share, representing 3.80% dividend yield for the company. This dividend is payable on March 17 to shareholders of the record at the close of business on Feb. 24, 2014.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense, and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines feature an upgrade for Thomson Reuters Reuters (NYSE: TRI  ) , a new buy rating for Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX  ) — but for Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP  ) , a downgrade. Let’s get that bad news out of the way first.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    It’s been a solid year for Thompson Reuters (TRI); since the calendar flipped over to January, this $30 billion financial media firm has rallied more than 22%. But don’t worry if you’ve missed out on the move — TRI looks well-positioned for higher levels thanks to the pattern that’s been setting up in shares.

    Thompson Reuters is currently forming an ascending triangle pattern, a bullish setup that’s formed by horizontal resistance above shares at the $35.50 level and uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as TRI bounces in between those two technically-important price levels, it’s getting squeezed closer and closer to a confirmed breakout above that $35.50 price level. When the breakout happens, it’s time to be a buyer.

    TRI closed above the $35.50 level in yesterday’s session, but it’s a little early to call it a breakout just yet. If shares can hold above that breakout level all through today’s session, then the buy signal is worth heeding.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI  ) has acquired Canadian trademark search, monitoring, and screening firm Onscope, Thomson announced Tuesday.

Top 5 Media Companies For 2014: News Corporation(NWSA)

News Corporation operates as a diversified media company worldwide. Its Cable Network Programming segment produces and licenses news, business news, sports, general entertainment, and movie programming for distribution through cable television systems and direct broadcast satellite operators primarily in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The company?s Filmed Entertainment segment produces and acquires live-action and animated motion pictures for distribution and licensing in entertainment media, as well as produces and licenses television programming worldwide. Its Television segment operates 27 broadcast television stations in the United States. The company?s Direct Broadcast Satellite Television segment distributes programming services via satellite and broadband directly to subscribers in Italy. Its Publishing segment provides newspapers and information services, such as publishing national newspapers in the United Kingdom, approximately 146 newspapers in Australia, and a metropolitan and a national newspaper in the United States; book publishing services, including the publishing of English language books worldwide; and integrated marketing services comprising the publishing of free-standing inserts, which are marketing booklets containing coupons, rebates, and other consumer offers, as well as provides in-store marketing products and services, primarily to consumer packaged goods manufacturers in the United States and Canada. The company also sells advertising, sponsorships, and subscription services on the company?s various digital media properties and outdoor advertising space on various media primarily in Russia and eastern Europe; and provides data systems and professional services that enable teachers to use data to assess student progress and deliver individualized instructions. News Corporation was founded in 1922 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sue Chang and Saumya Vaishampayan]

    News Corp (NWS)   (NWSA)  added 8.4%. The media company said late Thursday its fiscal second-quarter profit slid to $150 million, or 26 cents a share, from $1.4 billion, or $2.42 a share, a year ago. Last year’s earnings were affected by a $1.3 billion gain from an acquisition. But on an adjusted basis, it earned 31 cents a share, ahead of the 21-cent profit forecast by analysts. News Corp is the parent of MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.

  • [By Pato Kehoe]

    Quality video content has continuously increased in value over the past years, and this firm has a made a point of following the money trail by producing and broadcasting an ample amount of high quality products. From award winning shows like “Modern Family” or “The Simpsons,” to its popular sports programming, Twenty-First Century Fox has constantly satisfied the market’s thirst for entertainment. The News Corp (NWSA) spin-off, for one, was a highly beneficial strategy for this company, setting it apart as a pure-play entertainment firm. By concentrating resources and management on the cable network business and shaking off Rupert Murdoch’s print segment, the firm was able to boost its EBITDA growth as well as its return on capital (ROC). The current metrics of 28.80% and 154% respectively are quite impressive and will be highly beneficial for investors if they can be sustained.

  • [By Gary Bourgeault]

    Storyful acquired by News Corp.
    It was an excellent decision by News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA  ) to acquire Storyful for $25 million. The company now has the resources to scale out much quicker in what will become a crowded market.

  • [By WALLSTCHEATSHEET]

    News Corp. is a media and information services company that has recently spun-off of its very profitable entertainment segment. The company’s Chief Executive Lex Fenwick, has left the company after two years in the job. The stock has been trading sideways over the last couple of months and is currently pulling back. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been on the rise. However, investors have had mixed feelings about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its peers and sector, News Corp. has been a weak year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what News Corp. does this quarter.

Top 5 Media Companies For 2014: Gannett Co. Inc. (GCI)

Gannett Co., Inc. operates as a media and marketing solutions company in the United States and internationally. Its Publishing segment publishes 83 U.S. daily newspapers with affiliated online sites, including USA TODAY, a national, general-interest daily newspaper; USATODAY.com; USA WEEKEND, a magazine supplement for newspapers; Clipper Magazine, a direct mail advertising magazine; bi-weekly Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek periodicals; and military and defense newspapers. This segment also includes 17 paid-for daily newspapers; approximately 200 weekly newspapers, magazines, and trade publications; and approximately 600 non-daily publications, as well as involves in commercial printing, newswire, marketing, and data services operations. The company?s Digital segment owns and operates CareerBuilder, an employment Web site, which offers online recruitment and career advancement services for employers, employees, recruiters, and job seekers; ShopLocal, which provides multicha nnel shopping and advertising services; Planet Discover, which offers hosted search and advertising services; PointRoll, which provides digital marketing services and technology; and Schedule Star, which offers scheduling solution for high school athletic departments. Its Broadcasting segment operates 23 television stations and affiliated Web sites, which produce local programming, such as news, sports, and entertainment programming. This segment also includes Captivate Network, a national news and entertainment network that delivers programming and full-motion video advertising on video screens located in elevators of office towers and select hotel lobbies in North America. The company has strategic business relationships with online affiliates, including Classified Ventures, ShopLocal.com, Topix, and Metromix LLC, as well as strategic marketing agreement with Microsoft. Gannett Co., Inc. was founded in 1906 and is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mike Deane]

    Early on Monday morning, Gannett (GCI) had its price target raised to $35 from $34 at FBR Capital. The ratings company also affirmed that Gannett is a “Top Pick.” 

    Gannett, a publishing and broadcasting company that operates in the U.S. and the U.K., currently has a price of $29.76, and FBR’s new target suggests an 18% upside.

    FBR analyst William Bird had the following comments about GCI’s PT raise: “Based on our analysis, we estimate that Gannett’s spectrum is worth approximately $2.2 billion, or $9 per share, roughly doubling in value from the acquisition of BLC (i.e., pre-deal valuation of ~$1.1 billion). Separately, we are lowering our 2014 EPS estimate by $0.07 to reflect the previously announced sale of three stations to MDP (note: an expected midyear close means that the stations will not be in operating results from January 1, but the proceeds will not be received until midyear). We are increasing our price target to $35 from $34 to reflect shareholder accretion from the sale. We like Gannett’s improving business mix, growth profile, and ability to drive growth with its own propeller through higher retrans, synergies, and potential TV acquisitions.”

    Gannett stock was inactive in pre-market trading. So far this year, the company’s stock is up 0.61%.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Traditional media sites did unusually well, given that they are not the core products of their parent companies. Broadcaster CBS (NYSE: CBS) was in 9th place at 80.9 million unique visitors in November. Comcast NBCUniversal was 14th place with 64.4 million. Gannett (NASDAQ: GCI) sites were 16th at 57 million. Viacom had 54.3 million, and ESPN 38.7 million.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Gannett Co (NYSE: GCI) is expected to report its Q3 earnings at $0.41 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion.

    VMware (NYSE: VMW) is projected to report its Q3 earnings at $0.82 per share on revenue of $1.29 billion.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Earnings reports expected on Monday include:

    Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.48 on revenue of $1.10 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.13 on revenue of $905.09 million. Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.19 on revenue of $2.07 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.21. W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $1.57 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.61 on revenue of $1.42 billion. Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.44 on revenue of $1.27 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $1.31 billion.

    Economics

Top 5 Media Companies For 2014: Time Warner Inc.(TWX)

Time Warner Inc. operates as a media and entertainment company in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Networks, Filmed Entertainment, and Publishing. The Networks segment provides domestic and international networks, premium pay and basic tier television programming services, and digital media properties, which primarily consist of brand-aligned Websites. Its premium pay television services consist of the multi-channel HBO and Cinemax premium pay television services. This segment provides programming to cable system operators, satellite service distributors, telephone companies, and other distributors; sells advertising; and licenses original programming to domestic and international television networks. The Filmed Entertainment segment produces and distributes feature films, television and other programming, and videogames; distributes home video products; and licenses rights to its feature films, television programming, and characters. T he Publishing segment publishes magazines and books; and operates various Websites, as well as engages in marketing services and direct-marketing businesses. This segment publishes magazines on style and entertainment, lifestyle, news, and sports. The company?s brands include TNT, TBS, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, People, Sports Illustrated, and Time. Time Warner Inc. was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Moskowitz]

    Disney also stacks up well against entertainment giants Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) and Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA  ) . First, consider top-line performances over the past year:

  • [By Alex Planes]

    Established in 1985 with the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications, Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX  ) is a global leader in media and entertainment, with a similar operations profile as Disney spanning television networks, filmed entertainment productions, and publishing. Headquartered in New York City, the company operates pay-TV channels such as HBO and Cinemax, and it also owns a portfolio of cable TV networks including CNN, TBS, and TNT through its subsidiary Turner Broadcasting. Subsidiary Time is the publisher of major consumer titles such as People, Time, and Fortune in the magazine space. In the last decade, Time Warner spun off former acquirer AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Warner Music Group to increase shareholder value.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Starbucks currently has a market cap of about $57 billion, which is about the same as that of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). Schultz probably would argue that coffee is a more promising business than entertainment or car making. The challenge to that argument is the breadth of Starbucks’ competition and the modest annual improvement in its own revenue.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Minecraft was also the most popular paid download at the App Store, but a new puzzle game, Threes, rose to second place, and three new games replaced January’s leaders in the App Store’s paid download sweepstakes. Only one, Card Wars — Adventure Time, was delivered by a publicly traded company, Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE: TWX) Cartoon Network.