Media companies’ first-quarter 2020 earnings are expected to have benefited from buoyant demand for online content and high-speed Internet service amid the coronavirus crisis.
This was evident from Netflix’s (NFLX - Free Report) solid first-quarter 2020 results, which gained traction from strong subscriber growth as more and more people were compelled to stay home due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown and social-isolation measures. The streaming giant added 15.77 million paid subscribers globally, which surged 64.3% year over year. This spurt in customer growth surpassed its guidance of 7 million paid subscriber addition. (Read More: Netflix's Q1 Earnings Miss, Coronavirus Aids User Growth)
Moreover, surging demand for broadband service benefited Comcast (CMCSA - Free Report) . The cable giant added 477K High-Speed Internet Customers in the first quarter.
However, Pay-TV providers including AT&T (T - Free Report) and Comcast persistently lost subscribers due to constant cord-cutting and stiff competition from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon prime video and Disney+.
In the first quarter, AT&T saw a migration of 897K premium video customers while Comcast’s 409K video customers departed.
Moreover, advertising revenues are expected to have been drained by lower ad demand due to coronavirus.
Sneak Peek Into Twin Releases
Investors interested in the media sector are eagerly awaiting the upcoming earnings releases of players, namely Charter Communications (CHTR - Free Report) and DISH Network (DISH - Free Report) .
Charter’s first-quarter earnings performance is expected to have benefited from skyrocketing Internet demand amid a mass shutdown and social distancing adopted by hundreds of housebound people due to the plaguing coronavirus.
Charter is the second largest cable operator in the United States. It served 29.2 million residential and small-and-medium business customers as of Dec 31, 2019. However, the small-and-medium businesses are worst hit by the coronavirus adversity, which might weigh on the company’s top line.
Nevertheless, Charter’s spectrum mobile products gained traction. The stay-at-home wave is expected to have aided its voice and video revenues in the first quarter. The company is scheduled to report earnings on May 1.
Moreover, Charter has the favorable combination of a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and an Earnings ESP of +1.60%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.
Per the Zacks model, the combination of a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 increases the odds of an earnings beat. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Further, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 0.7% north to $2.71 per share over the past 30 days.
Meanwhile, DISH is expected to have benefited from a strong Sling TV subscriber base. Notably, since Feb 24, Sling TV’s viewership in the top news channel category jumped 121%, primarily riding on the coronavirus volatility.
However, the company is likely to have taken a beating on the Pay-TV subscriber front to online video streaming and on-demand content providers. (Read More: What's in Store for DISH Network This Earnings Season?)
Moreover, the consensus mark for first-quarter earnings has been steady at 56 cents over the past 30 days.
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