Disney May Announce Layoffs and 2 Media Stocks in Focus

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS): Current price $59.09

Deadline.com reports that roughly 150 employees at Walt Disney Studios will be laid off across all Disney Studios divisions, including the music and theatre departments. An overall reorganization impacting other divisions is scheduled for later in 2013 and that could include more cuts. The job eliminations are a result of an internal review ordered late in 2012 by Chief Executive Bob Iger and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo to identify superfluous positions and boost efficiency, but the company is already doing quite well with mega-blockbusters including The Avengers. Net profits for the fiscal year that ended in September soared 18 percent to $5.7 billion on revenues of $42.3 billion.

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News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA): Current price $31.31

News Corp’s flagship Fox network might end its broadcasting over the United States public airwaves if the firm’s dispute with upstart challenger Aereo is not settled, said News Corp. Chief operations Officer Chase Carey, who indicated that Fox might simply move to pay-for-TV cable as a result of its legal dispute with Aereo, which is a New York-based startup promoted by the billionaire media mogul Barry Diller.

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Viacom (NYSE:VIAB): Current price $65.05

Analysts Michael Nathanson at Nomura Equity Research and David Bank at RBC Capital Markets said that trends are getting better for Viacom, according to Deadline.com. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose by 1 percent in the first quarter and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves, Nathanson said that “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue.” Such a thing could pay off if, as analysts predict, studios increase spending to promote new movies later in 2013, adding that if that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network.”

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