Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, departs; David Zaslav, CEO and President, Warner Bros. Discovery (center); and President and CEO, Paramount Worldwide Bob Bakish.
Companies and industries have their ups and downs. The traditional media industry is at a low point.
The first half of 2023 was a huge disappointment for media executives, who hoped the year would bounce back from a dismal 2022, when slowing streaming subscriber growth lowered media valuations Netflix, disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global about half.
Instead, investors are getting excited again about Netflix’s future as it cracks down on password sharing, which could lead to tens of millions of new sign-ups. Netflix stock has soared over the past five months, outperforming the S&P 500.
At the same time, traditional players cannot escape their own constraints.
Netflix vs. the S&P 500 over the past five months.
“It’s pouring when it rains,” said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed. “It’s only going to get worse.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger has had a bumpy journey since returning to lead the company late last year. disney recently completed Lay off 7,000 employees. Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy resigned last week.the company is pull programming Save money from its streaming service.Its animation business is on a major trajectory, with its latest Pixar film Elements documenting Lowest opening weekend The studio’s stock price has been falling since the original “Toy Story” premiered in 1995. The company’s shares have struggled for the past five months.
Disney vs. S&P 500 over the past five months.
Warner Bros. Discovery Channel vs. S&P 500 over the past five months.
Paramount Global It cut its dividend last quarter as streaming losses peaked this year and a weak ad market exacerbated its ailing cable network business. Wells Fargo released an analyst note on Friday saying the company’s bull and bear case is the same: selling components.Warren Buffett, perhaps the most lauded investor in history, tells us CNBC reports on Paramount’s streaming service “Fundamentally, it’s not a good business.”
Paramount Global versus the S&P 500 over the past five months.
Fox Corporation vs. the S&P 500 over the past five months.
NBCUniversal weathered the storm under the umbrella of its parent company, Comcast, whose revenue comes from wired and wireless properties. It also exploits the above bug.msnbc Be the No. 1 Cable News Network This month, Fox News replaced Fox News for the first time in 120 weeks in covering former President Donald Trump’s federal indictment.Universal’s Super Mario Bros. Movie is Highest-grossing film of the year so farbut the stock price did not change much.
Comcast vs. the S&P 500 over the past five months.
All of this is happening against the backdrop of a Hollywood writers strike, with no end in sight. Writers know that the longer the strike goes on, the more pain media companies will suffer, and they will eventually run out of scripts they have already produced.Zaslav recently given the start address to Boston University and was drowned in boos and the “Pay Your Writers” slogan.
This week may bring more bad news. Film and TV actors will strike along with writers unless they reach an agreement with Hollywood studios by Friday.
Greenfield said the likely beneficiaries of the Hollywood factory shutdowns would be YouTube, TikTok and Netflix, which would continue to produce international content unaffected by the strike.
If advertising picks up as the 2024 U.S. presidential race heats up, traditional media could get a little respite. But there’s still not enough evidence that investors will reward media companies that simply cut costs. Currently, there is no strong growth momentum in traditional media, and the prospects for consolidation are dim as regulators block media-related deals such as Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster.
The industry just wrapped up its annual advertising gala in Cannes, France. Traditional media executives still spend company dollars hanging out on yachts and drinking rosé. The background is still as beautiful as ever.
But the outlook is bleak.
Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.
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