It seems hard to believe that the midterm elections are right around the corner, and with the Democrats last time suffering perhaps the bitterest defeat ever in the party’s long history, many experts are saying that they are going to go all in to win back control of the House of Representatives. They will need to win 25 seats to accomplish that. One of the ways that the Democrats, and the Republicans for that matter, will go about winning is to ramp up media spending big time.
RBC recently sat down with political ad experts who made the case that, despite increased spending on digital, and to some extent cable as well, TV station spending is expected to increase more than 10% from the amount spent in the 2014 midterms.
We screened our 24/7 Wall St. research database, and found four companies that look poised to benefit from this increase in spending, which should begin at the end of this quarter and ramp up bigtime as the third quarter begins.
This large cap broadcaster’s shares are down over 20% from where they were trading this time last year and could be an incredible value. CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) may be in the best position of all the broadcast networks with an outstanding prime-time lineup, solid sports franchises like the NFL, March Madness College Basketball, The Masters and other top programming, the venerable network could once again be an outstanding stock for shareholders.
The company is leading in the ratings and is poised to continue the network’s programming dominance in 2016. The broadcasting giant is now in the midst of a significant stock repurchase process, and many on Wall Street expect the company to shrink its share base by around 25% over the next two years.
The company posted fourth-quarter results that were ahead of consensus as stronger Entertainment and Publishing numbers offset softer Cable Networks and Local Media. CBS issued its first guide for revenue and earnings growth in the high single digits and high teens, respectively, in 2018 estimated.
CBS shareholders receive a 1.36% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a price target for the Buy-rated stock of $78. The Wall Street consensus figure is $69.92, and shares closed Friday at $52.84.
This broadcasting-related stock also could have solid upside potential for the rest of 2018. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is the largest U.S. provider of cable services, with over 22 million basic subscribers. It owns NBCU, which includes the NBC TV Networks, Telemundo, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, CNBC and several other cable networks, as well as Universal Films and Universal Theme Parks.
Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.
Investors receive a 2.23% dividend. Wells Fargo has a Buy rating and a price objective of $50, while the consensus target price is $47.36. Shares closed Friday at $34.12.
This is a top consumer media company with multiple streams of income to push revenue. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) stock continues outperforming on a near-term and long-term basis. With the movie studio business poised to improve, as with accelerating theme park business, the network programming continues to drive viewership with extensive sports programming. Combining that revenue growth with the company’s solid media networks and interactive presence, and 2018 revenue estimates could be conservative.
Many on Wall Street feel that the company’s distribution leverage and optionality, as well as its concentration of valuable intellectual property, will only improve with the acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets. Another plus is Disney’s continued impressive theatrical momentum.
Shareholders are paid a 1.67% dividend. The Merrill Lynch rates the stock a Buy, and its price target is a whopping $144. The consensus target is $119.95, and shares closed Friday at $100.35.
Sinclair Broadcast Group
This television broadcasting company is in the process of wrapping up the purchase of the broadcast stations that Tribune Media owns. Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. (NASDAQ: SBGI) focuses on providing content on its local television stations and digital platforms. Its Broadcast segment consists of its broadcast television stations. The content distributed through its broadcast platform consists of programming provided by third-party networks and syndicators, local news, it owns networks and other original programming produced by it.
Sinclair also owns digital and internet media products that are complementary to its portfolio of television station related digital properties. It focuses on offering marketing solutions to advertisers. Its other business consists of original networks and content, digital and internet solutions, technical services and other nonmedia investments.
RBC’s report indicated that Sinclair may have the most favorable footprint of all the media companies for the 2018 elections.
Shareholders receive a 2.4% dividend. RBC has a $46 price target on the Buy-rated stock. The consensus target is $50.71, and shares closed at $29.95.
These four companies all own broadcast stations across the country that could benefit from what is expected to be massive spending for the midterm elections. Add in the fact that the NFL season will be back in action, and the latter half of 2018 could be great for the top broadcasters.