Here Is What Wall St. Experts Are Saying About These Media Names Ahead Of Results

Comcast (CMCSA) is scheduled to announce quarterly results on July 27, while Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and Paramount (PARA) are expected to report earnings on August 3 and 7, respectively. What to watch for:

REITERATES BUY AHEAD OF RESULTS: In a research note ahead of quarterly results, BofA said it anticipates Warner Bros. Discovery's Q2 results to reflect the company's transition to Max in late May, a choppy macro environment, particularly in advertising, as well as softer Studio results. Following the rollout of Max, the firm believes the company can now go on the offensive to accelerate subscriber growth and drive additional monetization. This coupled with a more robust film slate, programming momentum at HBO and incremental synergies makes Warner Bros. Discovery's risk/reward highly attractive at current levels, in BofA's view. The firm reiterates a Buy rating on the shares with a price target of $21 as it remains bullish on long-term potential and views the current valuation as very compelling. Upcoming catalysts include a more robust film slate in the second half of 2023, incremental merger related synergies, and Max launches in international markets, it adds.

TARGET RAISE: On Monday, Morgan Stanley raised the firm's price target on Comcast to $50 from $48, while keeping an Overweight rating on the shares. Fundamentals will drive cable equities in the months ahead and broadband trends appear stable, limiting downside risk for Overweight rated Comcast and Equal Weight rated Charter (CHTR), the firm told investors in an earnings preview note for the group.

ACHILLES HEEL UNDER ATTACK: Earlier this month, Wolfe Research downgraded Paramount Global to Underperform from Peer Perform with a $14 price target. Paramount's linear advertising exposure "is an Achilles heel under attack," the firm told investors in a research note. With the highest exposure to non-sports linear advertising revenue in Wolfe's diversified entertainment coverage at 28%, Paramount is worst positioned for a secular downturn in the linear ad market, with every ad dollar lost materially eroding OIBDA. Wolfe sees downside to estimates and an opportunity for the Paramount shares to underperform into the back-half of the year.

Wolfe Research also downgraded Warner Bros. Discovery to Peer Perform from Outperform without a price target. The risk of a significant TV advertising downturn is imminent, and Warner Bros. is "highly geared to it," the firm told investors in a research note. Wolfe says the stock's near-term performance relies upon the company achieving near-term guidance "that looks challenging" with the linear advertising industry under pressure. The firm finds Warner Bros. attractive on a relative basis but wants no Outperform ratings in the sub-sector at this time given rising TV advertising risks.

TARGET CUTS: On Monday, Evercore ISI lowered the firm's price target on Paramount to $15 from $18, maintaining an In Line rating on the shares. The firm, which is cutting estimates for second half of 2023 and 2024 linear advertising revenue by about 200-300 basis points given modestly weaker than expected trends in Q2 and reports that indicate the 2023 upfront is "shaping up to be weaker than expected," lowered its price targets for several legacy media names ahead of earnings. While legacy media could beat on free cash flow and costs in the short-term due to the strike and cost saving initiatives, linear trends continue to deteriorate, Evercore ISI added. The firm also lowered its price target for Outperform-rated Warner Bros. Discovery to $20 from $25 and keeps an Outperform rating on the shares.

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