Friday, May 01, 2009

Big Media: Big Yawn

The advertising market continues to be severely weak. Yet, the fact that we're not in freefall has caused some of the most beaten down and debt-laden companies to be bid up in the last 6 weeks.

Names such as Harley Davidson (HOG), Royal Carribbean (RCL), Cemex (CX) and Lamar Advertising (LAMR) are all up big since March 6th (65 - 167% vs. 25% for the S&P).

Comparatively speaking, Big Media's returns over that time period look more modest. Yes, CBS is up 70% since early March, but it's still trading at less than $6, giving it -- to put it in perspective -- only a little more than double the market cap of what it agreed to buy CNET for last year.

News Corp (NWS) and Viacom (VIA) are up 35% since early March but lag the S&P over the last 6 months. Disney's (DIS) return since March 6th is 2 points less than the S&P's. And Time Warner (TWX) stock price (not including the dividend from the spin-off of Time Warner Cable (TWC)) is only up +2% since the great Bull Run began 6 weeks ago. Memo to Jeff Bewkes: where did my rally go?

The truth is that, although Big Media has been pummeled since this bear market began, it was never really priced for extinction (except maybe CBS, which is why it has bounced back as much as it has) like some of the other consumer discretionary plays. This "rise from the dead" rally hasn't let them participate.

Big Media is left priced for a severe long-term painful future, which is probably accurate.
Therefore, it's a space I'm avoiding.

Position: None.

Originally published in on 4/28/2009 11:30 AM EDT

To get Eric Jackson's real-time updates, subscribe to

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus