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Media stocks fall for a second day amid cord-cutting fears

Media stocks fall for a second day amid cord-cutting fears
Stocks fell for the Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox and Viacom Inc. (Handout)

Major media stocks fell for a second day in a row Thursday amid investors' worries that pay-TV cord-cutting and cord-shaving could eat away at profits.

The Walt Disney Co. shares fell $1.98, or about 2%, to $108.55 after taking a 9% tumble on Wednesday.

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Investors were spooked earlier this week after executives at Disney told analysts that its key cable networks group would fall short of previous earnings estimates for next year. The warning led to a broad sell-off for the entertainment industry.

"The market seems to have interpreted Disney's comments as a signal that the rate of change of sub declines is increasing, potentially ushering in the collapse of the pay-tv bundle," said Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger, in a note to clients.

Wednesday's drops wiped out $37 billion in market value among the major publicly traded media companies, Juenger said.

Viacom Inc. shares plummeted 14% after reporting disappointing third-quarter earnings before markets opened on Wall Street. Viacom is the company behind film studio Paramount and cable channels Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.

The business has been struggling with lower ratings across its networks, coupled with a thin film slate from Paramount.

For the April-June quarter, Viacom saw its revenue slide 11% compared with the year-earlier period. Viacom generated $3 billion in revenue in the quarter, missing analysts' estimates of $3.2 billion.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox was down about 6% after reporting earnings after the close of trading Wednesday. The downturn also affected "Walking Dead" cable company AMC Networks, which declined 4.5%.

The two-day period marked one of the biggest declines for the overall media business since the Great Recession.

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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