With entertainment and consumer content seemingly everywhere, provided by a host of new players like Netflix, where are the best opportunities for investors in 2015? A new report from Jefferies maintains that the major companies that actually have fewer networks to water down offerings, and greater exposure to in-demand sports programming could be the best bets for those looking to add media stocks to a growth portfolio.
The advent of the DVR has made content viewing a breeze for busy Americans. The Jefferies report points out that while 62% of consumer time is still spent with TV, and that covers live and recorded programming, consumer media consumption is evolving, with time-shifted TV and alternative platform viewing taking share. While the top stocks to buy are somewhat more expensive than in the past, they remain a good value for investors.
This report was originally four companies, but one has been removed from the list due to name similarities. Here are the three media heavyweights rated Buy at Jefferies.
CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) may be in the best position of all the broadcast networks and was a large cap laggard in 2014. With an outstanding prime time lineup; solid sports franchises like the NFL, March Madness College Basketball and The Masters; and other top programming, the venerable network has been an outstanding stock for long-term shareholders. The company showed tremendous fall ratings and is poised to continue the network’s programming dominance in 2015. The broadcasting giant is now in the midst of a significant stock repurchase, and many on Wall Street expect CBS to shrink its share base by up to 25% over the next two years.
CBS investors are paid a 1.1% dividend. The Jefferies price target on the stock is $65. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is $63. Shares closed Monday at $54.85.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) is a top consumer media company with multiple streams of income to push revenue. Many Wall Street analysts see the stock outperforming on a near-term basis, with the movie studio business poised to improve, an accelerating theme park business and the network programming continuing to drive viewership with extensive sports programming on ESPN. Combining that revenue growth with the company’s solid media broadcast ABC network and stations, and its interactive presence, and the first-quarter revenues could be outstanding.
Disney shareholders are paid a 1.2% dividend. The Jefferies price target is $100. The consensus target is $96.50. Shares closed Monday at $94.56 a share.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA) is also a top media stock to buy at Jefferies, and the company boasts a wide silo of cable and network programming to go along with solid movie production revenues. The company’s “Taken 3” smash-hit sequel with Liam Neeson continues to lead the box-office race to start off 2015. Combined with dominant cable news programming, and the NFL on the network stations, investors have the advantage of owning a diverse and growing company.
Fox investors are paid a tiny 0.7% dividend. The Jefferies target price is $43, and the consensus target is $40.85. The shares closed at $35.38.
Time Warner and Time Warner Cable have been deleted from this list due to ticker error.
The advantage to owning these stocks is they are usually decent growth stories, and virtually recession proof. Entertainment is one of the few things people will stick with when the economy going gets tough. That actually appears to be slowly improving in the United States.