There are some of us who just can't live without some form of entertainment. Because of this, some companies have the innate ability to turn a profit regardless of economic conditions. I have selected five media related companies to see if any are worth an investment.
DIRECTV Group, Inc. (DTV) - As a provider of digital entertainment, DIRECTV has the ability to reach a number of consumers, not only local but also in Latin America. The stock currently has a beta of 0.82, making it slightly less volatile than the market. Although the stock does not offer a dividend to investors, it does still have attractive numbers. Currently, the company's earnings per share are $3.19, which give it a price to earnings ratio of 13.4. This is slightly less than the industry ratio of 16.5. Comparing the company to competitor Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) in regard to the price to earnings growth ratio, DIRECTV has an attractively low ratio of 0.53 which is more than half of Comcast's ratio of 1.24. Looking at the company's financial strength, DIRECTV has a quick ratio of 0.80 and a current ratio of 1.0. In speculating talks of acquisitions, it could be rumored that the company could purchase Siruis XM (SIRI). If this occurred, the company could experience growth in overall services and membership by offering bundled packages to subscribers.
DISH Network Corporation (DISH) - One of DIRECTV's direct competitors is DISH Network and both have similar numbers at first glance. The company has a beta slightly higher than DIRECTV at 0.91, but is still considered less volatile than the market. The company's earnings per share is $3.24 give the stock a price to earnings ratio of 8.9. This is almost half the industry average of 16.5 and well below the ratio of the S&P 500. Looking at the price to earnings growth, DISH has a ratio of 1.18 which is higher than DIRECTV but still lower than Comcast. One concern for DISH is the amount of the debt to equity ratio. Although the quick and current ratio is 1.0 and 1.3 respectively, the total debt to equity ratio is 82.63 meaning the company has $82.63 of debt for every $1 of equity. DISH, like DIRECTV is another company with speculation of possible acquisition. However, in this case, DISH could be the company purchased. With AT&T's (T) failed merger attempt with T-Mobile, the company has been looking for another merger possibility to help compete with Verizon (VZ). If DISH ends up becoming the target, AT&T may have to pay a premium for the stock, which could end up in a nice profit for current investors in the stock.
The Walt Disney Company (DIS) - This media giant, unlike the previous companies, currently offers a dividend to investors. The stock's yield is 1.50% or $0.60 annually. Also unlike the previously listed companies, Disney has a higher beta at 1.37; making is slightly more volatile than the market. The company has earnings per share of $2.52 which translate into a price to earnings ratio of 15.6 which is right in line with the industry average. When comparing Disney to competitor Time Warner Inc. (TWX) both have similar ratios. Time Warner has a slightly lower price to earnings ratio of 14.21 as well as a lower price to earnings growth ratio of 0.97 compared to Disney's ratio of 1.0. These ratios give Disney the appearance to be reasonably priced current levels. One unique opportunity that Disney has to continue growing profits is its ability to take a movie from its current portfolio and re-master it in a 3D format and have it re-released in theatres and DVD. Although the movies may not lead box office sales, they still have the ability to reach the top 10. Given that the company doesn't need to pay for new animation or voice-overs, this appears to be a lower cost way to make a profit.
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE) - Knowing what this company's main business model is, many investors find it hard to take the stock seriously. However, the company does have numbers worth looking at. The stock currently has a beta of 0.86 making it slightly less volatile than the market. At the current price, WWE is closer to the 52-week low around $8.50 than the 52-week high just below $15 per share. One attractive aspect of the stock is the dividend yield of 5%, or $0.48 annually. Although this number is definitely attractive, it is substantially lower than previous levels which had to be altered to better fit the company's cash flow. The company's earnings per share of $0.55 give the stock a price to earnings ratio of 17.3 which is slightly higher than the industry ratio of 15.6. One interesting aspect for WWE is the company's ability to turn a profit regardless of which way the economy is going. In the past the film department is either shed from the rest of the company or starts to turn a profit, the company's earnings would easily grow from its current numbers.
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) - The leader in satellite radio is the last stock on the list and is the most volatile with a beta at 1.51. One of the most attractive aspects of the company is not only the wide range of music and talk radio available, but also the company has Howard Stern under contract. Some of the numbers of the company are a little less attractive. There is no dividend offered to investors. The company has a high amount of debt with a current ratio of 0.50 and a total debt to equity ratio of 4.40. The company's earnings per share of $0.05 give the stock an extremely high price to earnings ratio of 60.7. Although the industry is also high at 49.1, Sirius' ratio gives it the appearance it could be overvalued. Even the price to book value is rather high at 13.49. Looking at analysts estimates, the stock has a mean target price of $2.29. Based on current levels, this would be an increase of about 9%. However, many investors do not like the stock's high debt combined with volatility, but do look to the stock for its growth potential.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.