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Media Money Not What it Used to Be

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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LEADER OF THE PACK Viacom's Sumner Redstone (Photo: Getty Images)

Between the writers' strike and a lukewarm advertising climate, 2007 was not such a great year for entertainment conglomerates. The numbers seem to support this hypothesis: Of the five biggest media companies—CBS, Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, and Viacom—only Viacom ended the year with a higher share price than it started with. Time Warner fared worst: A share trading at $16.67 today was actually 23.46 percent more valuable last year. CBS's stock is down nearly 14 percent, Disney's is down 4 percent, and News Corp.'s is down 3.41 percent.

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How did Viacom, up around 7 percent, buck the trend? By being really cheap, for one. Also, they own MTV, the network that airs The Hills, which is seemingly the only lucrative show on television these days. We're only sort of kidding. Says the Post: "Viacom had improved ratings at its cable networks and a turnaround at movie studio Paramount Pictures."

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