Shares of Disney, 21st Century Fox, Viacom and other media company stock fell sharply on Thursday, following flat earnings reports and the creeping fear of death rattles in the pay-TV industry.
Comcast, CBS, Time Warner, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks Interactive and AMC Networks were also subject to the sell-off.
Viacom was hit hardest after reporting disappointing ad revenue from its U.S. cable business, sinking shares more than 21 percent. Other companies hit hard were 21st Century Fox, which dipped 9 percent to $28.41; Disney shrank 5 percent to $104.60; Time Warner also lost 5 percent, down to $75.77; CBS was down nearly 4 percent at $48.59; Comcast fell 4 percent to both$57.39; and AMC dropped 3 percent to $29.54
The catalyst for the media-stock plunge seemed to two-fold. On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger acknowledged cord cutting has taken a toll on the company’s properties, particularly ESPN, which saw subscriber losses recently.
That, combined with a poor forecast from Disney, which cut its outlook for pay-TV affiliate fee increases from “high singles” to “low end of high singles,” were major factors in the mass market sell-off. This gloomy forecast essentially acknowledged the increasing impact of cord cutters, who increasingly appear to be making pay-TV obsolete.