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Cable and other pay television services are virtual goldmines for investors – after all, the country has a reputation as a nation of “couch potatoes” for a reason, right? Okay. Maybe not. But, it is a fact that most Americans own a television and the vast majority have some type of cable service, and that translates into high returns for investors. For instance, Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) returned 7.94% from the first of the year through the 27th of December, whereas Viacom Inc (NASDAQ:VIAB) returned 15.35% for the same period. With numbers like that, it is no wonder hedge funds love the stocks on this list:

Comcast Corp (CMCSA): Of the 300+ hedge funds we track, 44 had positions in CMCSA at the end of the third quarter, compared to 43 at the end of the second quarter. Among those stocks, while the total number increased, the actual volume of their collective investment decreased, moving from $2.05 billion at the end of June to $1.48 billion at the end of September. The bearish change of heart didn’t extend to the top funds, though. Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management upped its stake in CMCSA during the third quarter by +12%, for a total position of $470.29 million.

Viacom, Inc. (VIA.B): There were 40 hedge funds with bullish Viacom bets at the end of September. There were also 40 hedge funds in VIA.B at the end of June. The total hedge fund investment in the company was more than $2.2 billion at the end of September. Eric Mindich’s Eton Park Capital upped its stake in the company by +94%, bringing its stake in VIA.B to $800.46 million at the end of September.

DirecTv (NASDAQ:DTV): The number of hedge funds invested in DTV changed from 34 at the end of June to come in at 33 at the end of September. The volume of hedge fund investment in the company also decreased, going from $3.66 billion at the end of the second quarter to $2.72 billion at the end of third quarter. The decrease may sound significant but savvy investors are taking notice of the company. For instance, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway initiated a new $179.62 million position in the company during the third quarter.

Time Warner Cable, Inc. (NYSE:TWC): Hedge fund investment in TWC decreased from 29 hedge funds at the end of the second quarter to 27 at the end of the third quarter, bringing total hedge fund investment in the company from $2.19 billion at the end of the second quarter to $1.44 billion at the end of the third quarter. Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global, John Shapiro’s Chieftain Capital and Jonathon Jacobson’s Highfields Capital Management had large positions in the stock.

Cablevision Systems Corp (NYSE:CVC): Hedge fund investment in CVC went from 38 funds invested in it at the end of June to 26 at the end of September, pushing the total volume of hedge fund investment in the company from $1.26 billion at the end of the second quarter to $458.12 million at the end of the third quarter. The decrease may sound bad, but several big name hedge funds actually increased their stakes in the company, including Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global Management, John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital and Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors.

Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR): Hedge fund investment in CHTR went from $1.68 billion spread across 25 funds at the end of the second quarter, to $1.37 billion spread across 24 funds at the end of the third quarter. However, not all hedge funds moved away from CHTR during the third quarter. As of the end of the third quarter, Howard Mark’s Oaktree Capital Management had $923.92 million invested in the company after holding its position, while Doug Silverman’s Senator Investment Group and Lee Hobson’s Highside Capital Management each increased their positions.

DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH): Hedge fund managers love this stock. Glenn Russell Dubin’s Highbridge Capital Management had 148.59 million in the company at the end of the third quarter while Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors had $62.29 million. However, not all hedge funds agreed. DISH had had 27 hedge funds invested in the company at the end of the second quarter, for a total position of $745.97 million. That number had fallen to just 24 funds invested in the company at the end of the third quarter, for a total position of $477.49 million.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 7 Cable And Television Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying