Media Stocks Open Year Higher on Fiscal Agreement

Cliff Less Likely to Affect Ad Revenues in 2013
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Media companies were among the beneficiaries as the stock market rallied on news that the White House and Congress forged a deal to avoid sending the economy over the dreaded fiscal cliff.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 200 points, or almost 2%, at midday and many programmers registered even bigger gains because there had been concerns that falling over the fiscal cliff could lead to decreases in purchases by consumers and lower spending by companies, particularly on advertising. TV networks are starting to gear up for another upfront season, and not having to revise already fairly pessimistic outlooks for ad spending created a more positive atmosphere.

Among media stocks, Viacom was the biggest gainer on a percentage basis, jumping more than 5%. Last year, ratings and ad revenues were down for some of Viacom's key cable networks and some analysts are expecting a rebound. A last minute agreement New Year's Eve with Cablevision Systems also prevented Viacom networks from being blacked out in parts of the New York market.

Also rising more than the overall market were News Corp. and AMC, showing gains in the 3% range, and Disney, Time Warner, Comcast, Discovery posting 2% increases or better.