End of the year: How News Corp ended up as the ASX's biggest media winner
Welcome to a final edition of Unmade for 2023, written on Friday evening at sunny Sisters Beach, Tasmania. I bet you didn’t even realise it was Saturday.
The ASX closed for the year yesterday afternoon, meaning it’s a good moment to calculate the biggest winners and losers among our listed media and marketing stocks. So let’s get straight in to it…
News Corp grows in 2023 as the Unmade Index claws into positive territory for the year
In the end, it was a year of treading water. The Unmade Index - which tracks the performance of the ASX’s media and marketing stocks - closed on 628.9 points, a rise of 3.04% for the year.
It was a contrast to the first year of the Unmade Index, which sank 39% from its 1000-point launch on January 4, 2022, to 611.58 points on December 30 2022.
There was, however, significant variance among those stocks this year, from a growth of nearly 40% at one end of the scale, to a decline of 55% at the other.
The best performing media or marketing stock on the ASX in 2023, was a dual listed one - News Corp, which along with the ASX, is also on the NASDAQ in the US.
The worst was B2B resources specialist Aspermont, which lost 55%.
To put it another way, $100 invested with News Corp at the start of the year is now worth $140. That same investment with Aspermont is now worth just $45.
Most of News Corp’s profits now come from its US-based Dow Jones information services segment, followed by Foxtel. Then company’s news division makes the smallest contribution to its annual profits. For the big media players, diversification has been the key to growth as traditional channels slumped.
Just four of the 14 media and marketing stocks on the ASX finished the year in positive territory.
Domain, majority owned by Nine, helped drag up its parent company’s valuation despite the collapse of the TV market. There was no such luck for the undiversified Seven West Media, stuck mainly in the business of television, which saw shareholders lose 32.5% of their investment.
Outdoor player Ooh Media also finished strongly, up by 27.31% for the year.
Meanwhile, despite the takeover battles consuming the radio sector, the three audio stocks all declined in 2023. ARN Media was almost, almost flat, losing 0.99% in value. Southern Cross Austereo lost 7.01% during the year, and minnow Sports Entertainment Group lost 12.5%
Also notable was the loss of value of The Market Herald, now rebadged as The Market Limited as the company tries to move on from its destabilising boardroom feuds.
Meanwhile, the final trading day of the year was low volume and low drama, with the index losing just a third of a percent on Friday
Most stocks didn’t move on Friday. Among the major stocks, Ooh Media did best, up by 1.53%.
Time to leave you to your new year prep.
Meanwhile, thanks for reading Unmade during 2023. If you’re a paying member, then an even bigger thanks for your support. And if you’re not yet, then please consider upgrading.
And we also offer our sincere gratitude to our advertisers and sponsors. Unmade would not be here without you.
Have a great New Year’s Eve.
See you on the other side.
Publisher - Unmade