Weekly Media Stocks Roundup: Mixed Results From a Slow Week

wall_street_cover03262010.jpgShares in media companies had mixed results in a somewhat quiet week for stock-moving headlines. The broader market was also fairly flat. Over the past five days, the S&P 500 rose less than 1% to 1089.

There were some glimmers of hope for the news business. A Newspaper Association of America study revealed that although print ad revenue for newspapers had declined overall in the first quarter, online ad sales rose for the first time since 2008. Meanwhile, overall ad spending has risen 5.1% year over year for the first quarter, according to a Kantar Media Study.

A few more details emerged about the The New York Times Co.’s (NYT) plans to implement a paywall next year. A Times spokesperson said that links to NYTimes.com from blogs and other third-party sites would count against a limited number of free visits, but outside links would still allow readers who had surpassed the limit to read Times stories. Some media pundits had floated the concern that a paywall would block inbound blog links, thus slowing traffic and perhaps display-ad revenues as a result. Shares rose 3.2% to $9.28.

An additional company joined the cohort of prospective buyers of The Washington Post Co.’s (WPO) Newsweek. Open Gate Capital, which bought TV Guide for $1 in 2008 and had been in the running for BusinessWeek last year, expressed interest in the magazine. The deadline for bids on Newsweek is June 2. Shares of The Washington Post dropped 3.8% on the week to end at $465.73.

News Corp. (NWS) unveiled a new iPad application for its UK-based Times newspaper, as the tablet made its debut in Britain. Outside the media titan’s print operations, reports emerged of the company shopping its Beliefnet social networking site and ringtone hawker Jamster. Shares dipped rose less than 1% to $15.36.

Weekly stock results for Time Warner, Meredith Corp. and more after the jump.

Ratings agency Fitch today reaffirmed its “BBB” credit rating on Time Inc. parent Time Warner (TWX) with a stable outlook. Time Inc. chairman and CEO Ann Moore also said this week that the publisher would be unveiling new iPad apps in coming months. Shares added 3% to $30.99.

Other stock results:

Media General (MEG) up 12% to $12.77

A. H. Belo (AHC) up 2.2% to $12.77

E. W. Scripps (SSP) up 7.6% to $8.83

Gannett (GCI) up 6.6% to $15.54

Meredith down 0.5% to $33.59