Money & media: Scorecard


The studio conglomerates are more diversified than ever, but how they fare during an economic slowdown could depend on the performance of particularly vulnerable divisions. Below are some strengths and weaknesses.

CBS Corp.
(-) With 75% of revenue coming from advertising, CBS is more exposed than its peers to an ad spending downturn. And foreign territories contribute only about 11% to overall revenue.
(+) Its 140 radio and 29 TV stations are mainly in larger markets, which might be more insulated.

(-) The theme parks division contributes about 25% of total revenue and could suffer if travel budgets are squeezed. Ads on ABC, ESPN and other TV networks contribute about 21% of revenue.
(+) Disney is less reliant on its theme parks unit than it was in past recessions.

NBC Universal
(-) Large TV network business could struggle in ad slowdown, especially after the boost of the Olympics in the summer.
(+) Growing digital and overseas investments might provide some cushion.

News Corp.
(-) Ad-dependent TV networks and stations, as well as newspapers, contribute 34% of total revenue.
(+) Rupert Murdoch has invested more internationally than his peers, as well as in high-growth digital assets like MySpace.

(-) Massive electronics business could suffer with a decline in consumer spending.
(+) Not exposed to ad cutbacks because it doesn’t own U.S. television networks.

Time Warner
(-) Only 19% of revenue comes from TV networks, but Time Warner Cable could face growth pressure if the troubled housing sector impacts its subscriber base.
(+) Key units AOL and TWC give it a more diversified bottom line. Newly acquired social network Bebo could offset soft TV ad market.

(-) Cable network advertising brings in 31% of total company revenue.
(+) Major advertisers on such youth-oriented networks as MTV and BET are in such recession-resistant businesses as movies, games, fast food and beverages.