Weekly Media Stocks Roundup: News Corp. Advances, Washington Post Declines

wall_street_cover03262010.jpgShares in media companies showed mixed results this week, as the broader market edged up slightly — the S&P 500 added 1.4% over the past five days to end at 1167. In news business headlines, a report by the Newspaper Association of America revealed that newspaper ad revenues suffered their worst plunge in decades.

Shares of the New York Times edged up 0.5% to close at $11.11. The Boston Newspaper Guild took Chairman Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Janet Robinson to task for accepting hefty compensation packages for 2009 even as workers at the Times-owned Boston Globe suffered declining wages and benefits. The company also agreed to pay $114,000 in damages to Singapore political leaders over a story in Times-owned International Herald Tribune about Asian political dynasties.

Weekly stock results for News Corp., The Washington Post, Time Warner and more after the jump.


News Corp. shares advanced 3.4% to close at $14.46. The company reportedly plans to charge $17.99 per month for iPad subscriptions to The Wall Street Journal, which it owns. Fellow News Corp. papers, London’s Times and The Sunday Times, are planning to set up pay walls for their Web sites by June. We also learned this week that CEO Rupert Murdoch’s wealth nearly doubled from 2008 to 2009.

Shares of The Washington Post lost 1.3% over the week to close Friday at $440.22. An SEC filing this week revealed that CEO Donald Graham’s pay package dropped by nearly half from 2008 to 2009.

Time Inc. parent Time Warner added 3.1% to $31.50. This week’s financial news concerning the company largely related to its rumored bid to take over Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studios.

Today’s upgrade of by J.P. Morgan analysts to neutral from underweight gave Southeastern newspaper publisher McClatchy a boost, but the stock still ended the week down 2% at $4.97. The analysts cited recent debt restructuring as one of the reasons for the upgrade.

USA Today publisher Gannett jumped 4% to $16.54, after Standard & Poor’s analysts said Tuesday that ad-revenue declines were softening and the operation was running more smoothly.

Financial-news Web site TheStreet.com dropped 7.1% to $3.42. Chairman and host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” Jim Cramer apologized on his TV show for his bad call that stocks would plummet if the House of Representatives passed hotly debated health-care legislation. Last week, the New York Post reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating TheStreet’s finances.