Transition to Digital for International Publishers Almost Complete: A Wall Street Transcript Interview with Claudio Aspesi, Senior Research Analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC

Wall Street Transcript

67 WALL STREET, New York - December 30, 2013 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Entertainment, Toys and Games Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Brick-And-Mortar Versus Online Retail Sales - Cautious Consumer Spending - International Paid Television Growth - Digital Advertisement Trends - Mobile Device Gaming Prospects - Toy Company Competition - Publishing Demand - Competition in Publishing

Companies include: Pearson plc (PSO), Reed Elsevier plc (RUK), Thomson Reuters Corporation (TRI), Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC), BT Group plc (BT), News Corp. (NWSA), Time Warner Inc. (TWX)

In the following excerpt from the Entertainment, Toys and Games Report, an expert publishing and media analyst discusses the outlook for the sector for investors:

TWST: Would you start by introducing yourself with an overview of your coverage universe?

Mr. Aspesi: I have been covering, since 2006, the European media stocks for Bernstein. Before that I worked at McKinsey and EMI. European media is obviously a very wide segment of companies with very different business models. I cover TV stocks, both free to air - like ITV (ITV.L), TF1 (TFI.PA), M6 (EPA:MMT) and Mediaset (BIT:MS) - and pay TV, BSkyB (BSY.L). Among the publishers I cover are Pearson (PSO), Reed Elsevier (RUK) and Wolters Kluwer (WKL.AS). I cover a North American company, Thomson Reuters (TRI), that's the legacy of the old Reuters listing. And then I cover two of the agencies, WPP (WPP.L) and Publicis (EPA:PUB), and I cover Vivendi (VIV.PA).

TWST: That is a broad spectrum of companies, but how would you describe current overall investor sentiment on the space? What is behind that?

Mr. Aspesi: Well, 2013 has been a very interesting year. It has been a year of rerating for most stocks, after a long period of steady decline in valuations, so it has actually been a happy period for once for media investors and for their shareholders. There has been a contribution from the hope that the European economy will stabilize. That has helped valuations, combined with the fact that we have seen management teams work hard at making investors happier than they have in the past.

Historically this is a sector that has often seen a lot of growth driven by investment, either organic investment in new businesses or through acquisitions. What we have seen in the past year and a half or two has been a renewed emphasis on returning cash to shareholders, and that has obviously been very well taken by the market.

TWST: What key trends are you following, particularly for the publishers and the advertising world? What are the important trends, and how are they impacting the companies and ultimately their stock performance?

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

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