Media Stocks Start Year Higher on Fiscal Agreement

Cliff less likely to affect ad revenues in 2013
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Updated 5:20 p.m. ET

Media companies were among the beneficiaries as the stock
market rallied on news that the White House and Congress forged a deal to avoid
sending the economy over the dreaded fiscal cliff.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 308.41 points, or
2.35%, to close at 13.412. Many programmers registered even bigger gains
because there had been concerns that falling over the fiscal cliff could lead
to decreases in purchases by consumers and lower spending by companies,
particularly on advertising. TV networks are starting to gear up for another
upfront season, and not having to revise already fairly pessimistic outlooks
for ad spending created a more positive atmosphere.

Among media stocks, Viacom was the biggest gainer on a
percentage basis, jumping more than 6% to close at $56.01. Last year, ratings
and ad revenues were down for some of Viacom's key cable networks and some
analysts are expecting a rebound. A last-minute agreement on New Year's Eve
with Cablevision Systems also prevented Viacom networks from being blacked out
in parts of the New York market.

Other big gainers were Time Warner and Crown Media, rising
more than 4% each to finish at $49.76 and $1.93, respectively. Up more than 3%
were Comcast, closing at $38.52; CBS at  $39.30, News Corp. at $27.19; and
AMC at $51.00. Also racking up bigger increases than the Dow were Discovery
Communications and Scripps Networks.

Netflix bucked the positive trend. Shares of the streaming
video provider were down 0.63% to $92.01.

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