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Macquarie Media Ltd & Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd: 2 media stocks are at the top of their game

The environment is perpetually volatile for Australian media companies, with a dog-eat-dog atmosphere among the main players, but these two media stocks have managed to reach 52-week highs despite the odds.

Macquarie Media Ltd (ASX: MRN)

Share prices in radio and media stalwart Macquarie Media opened steady today to $1.41 at the time of writing – a 52-week high for the stock.

Macquarie has been trending upwards steadily in the last 12 months from a 52-week low of just 91c per share and a noticeable upswing in price since the release of favourable half-year results on February 15.

Macquarie recorded a 2% increase in total revenue, largely driven by an increase in core radio revenue of 3%.

Underlying NPAT was up 11% on the previous corresponding period, with EBITDA up 21% also.

Macquarie has outlined positive growth opportunities to round out FY18, with the focus on core radio output revenue generation and new initiatives in the digital space currently on trial.

Investors have stood behind Macquarie despite difficult times in the industry with a fully-franked 3c per share dividend coming their way tomorrow on top of a special dividend that was paid out in October 2017.

Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd (ASX: NEC)

Nine Entertainment Co is back in the news this week alongside brothers Macquarie Media, Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as the contingent filed a joint motion to intervene in the case against German magazine published Bauer Media on a defamation payout for Australian actress Rebel Wilson.

Shares in Nine Entertainment slipped off a 52-week high today to sit at $2.28 at the time of writing, after reaching a 12-month high of $2.33 on March 6 up from just $1 per share at this time last year.

Nine reported a very positive first half of FY18 in February, putting itself back in the black with a NPAT of $116 million – up 55% from the previous corresponding period.

The result was partly due to the sale of Nine’s Sydney North Shore Willoughby site, but a joint venture with Fairfax and Stan and a lift in profits for Nine Digital also contributed to the result, which included a 9% rise in revenue to $720 million.

Nine has announced it will continue to harness its strengths in providing “premium content” across various platforms in the future, but the recent results have been enough to keep shareholders happy in the meantime with an interim dividend of 5c per share fully-franked due to be paid out on March 18.

Despite the success of its peers Fairfax Media shares continue on their decline, down 1.3% at the time of writing to 71c per share, a drop from $1.26 at this time last year.

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Motley Fool contributor Carin Pickworth has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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