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Media Stocks' Earnings Lineup for May 10: VIAB, SSP, TRCO

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Media companies are witnessing a mixed earnings season. Legacy media giants like Comcast (CMCSA - Free Report) , Charter Communications (CHTR - Free Report) and DISH Network (DISH - Free Report) continued to lose voice, video and Pay TV subscribers due to persistent cord-cutting and stiff competition from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon Prime.

Moreover, increasing programming costs and retransmission fees are dragging down profitability of industry participants.

However, these factors were somewhat negated by increasing demand for high-speed Internet service. Also, increasing investments in original content and focus on providing quality entertainment helped media companies generate favorable results.  

For instance, Comcast lost 121K video customers and 53K voice customers in the first quarter of 2019. However, the cable giant added 375K high-speed Internet customers.

Charter lost 152K video customers in the first quarter.

DISH’s net Pay-TV subscribers declined approximately 259K. However, the satellite TV service provider added 7K subscribers for its Sling TV.

Let us take a look at three media companies that are set to report on May 10.

New York-based Viacom (VIAB - Free Report) is expected to benefit from MTV’s resurgence, Paramount’s turnaround and Nickelodeon’s solid content. However, sluggish domestic ad revenue growth is expected to hurt the top line.

The company is likely to deliver a positive earnings surprise in second-quarter fiscal 2019, as it has the favorable combination of an Earnings ESP of +0.12% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

According to the Zacks model, a company with a Zacks Rank #1, 2 (Buy) or 3 has a good chance of beating estimates, if it also has a positive Earnings ESP.  Meanwhile, Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) are best avoided. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Viacom’s second-quarter revenues is currently pegged at $3.03 billion, suggesting a decrease of 3.7% from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, the consensus mark for earnings has been steady at 82 cents over the past seven days, which indicates a decline of 10.9% from the year-ago quarter's reported figure.

Viacom Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

Viacom Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | Viacom Inc. Quote

Notably, Viacom’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters, delivering average positive surprise of 9.8%. (Read More: Viacom to Report Q2 Earnings: What's in the Cards?)

The E.W. Scripps Company’s (SSP - Free Report) first-quarter 2019 results are expected to benefit from higher retransmission revenues. Moreover, the Triton acquisition (completed in December 2018) has strengthened the company’s position in the fast-growing streaming audio industry, which is expected to boost the top line.

In January, Scripps completed the acquisition of three ABC-affiliated television stations in Florida and Texas owned by Raycom Media. The deal expands the company’s holdings to 36 TV stations in 26 markets and increases its U.S. TV household reach to 18.5%. The company also inked a new multi-year affiliation agreement with NBC.

Additionally, in March, Scripps announced that it will acquire eight television stations in seven markets from the Nexstar Media Group (NXST - Free Report) , related to the acquisition of Tribune Media Company (TRCO - Free Report) by the latter, subject to regulatory approval.

Notably, Nexstar has to divest certain television stations in order to comply with the FCC’s local and national television ownership rules. The divestitures will help it obtain FCC and Department of Justice (DOJ) approval for the proposed transaction.

The acquisition will expand Scripps’ local television station footprint to 59 in 42 markets, reaching nearly 30% of the U.S. TV households.

However, increasing network programming fees is expected to hurt profitability of the company in the soon-to-be-reported quarter.

Also, Scripps has an unfavorable combination of a Zacks Rank #4 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%.
 

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter revenues is currently pegged at $322.2 million, suggesting growth of 26.8% from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter.

Moreover, the consensus mark for loss has stayed at 18 cents over the past seven days. The figure is wider than a loss of 10 cents reported in the year-ago quarter.

Chicago, IL-based, Tribune Media Company also has an unfavorable combination of a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%.

Notably, the company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters, delivering average positive surprise of 102.2%.

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