It may only be 2023, but coverage of next year’s presidential election is already overtaking newswires. Former President Donald Trump’s legal troubles are piling up but so far, the next race to the White House could still be between him and President Joe Biden.
Of course, the focus on Trump hasn’t done much for Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:DWAC), the blank-check partner of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG). Now, the merger between the two companies seems more likely than ever to fall through, as Digital World is set to return $533 million to investors. This past month, fellow Trump-related trades Fox Corp (NASDAQ:FOX) and Rumble (NASDAQ:RUM) have also plunged. Although Trump hasn’t stopped making headlines, that doesn’t seem to be boosting conservative media stocks.
Does this mean that media stocks aren’t worth watching right now? On the contrary, investors should be as focused as ever on the sector. However, media companies with far less political bias may be better equipped to ride the coming election coverage wave. Races with Trump have consistently proven to be excellent drivers for media profits. Indeed, reports indicate that Trump received $2 billion in free media coverage during the 2016 presidential election alone.
Let’s take a look at some companies that could ride this next wave to new heights in the coming year.
Best Media Stocks: Nexstar Media Group (NXST)
You may not know this company by name, but you definitely know its work. Nexstar Media Group (NASDAQ:NXST) has a vast portfolio of media outlets and networks including The Hill, NewsNation and The CW Network. The firm also owns many local TV stations sprinkled across the United States. This company bills itself as “the largest local broadcast television group in the United States and one of the world’s leading diversified media companies.”
Both The Hill and NewsNation are known for unbiased political coverage and Nexstar’s local TV networks reach most corners of the country. For that reason, Nexstar appears to be well-equipped to benefit from incoming demand for election coverage. Indeed, Americans will be demanding political coverage more then ever soon and the firm’s holdings can offer that at both the local and national levels. It’s the definition of “news for the whole family,” offering breaking news and expert opinions for everyone from grandparents to Gen Z.
NXST stock recently pulled back into the green after months of struggling. This means that the time to buy shares may be now, before election season takes the stock even further.
Like Nexstar, Gannett (NYSE:GCI) is a name that most people don’t know outside of the news business. However, many consumers across the nation are familiar with the company’s chief holding, USA Today and the USA Today Network. The outlet for which the network is named is a nationally regarded publication with a readership that spans the entire country.
That said, Gannett’s edge also lies in the fact that it owns popular newspapers in major cities across the States, ranging from the Detroit Free Press to The Florida Times-Union. If all politics truly is local, this company will be at a clear advantage as the election spikes a demand for local news. Gannett’s media presence in key election battlegrounds like Iowa and Florida will be especially important.
Of course, GCI stock may be a penny stock, but Gannett has also been making key changes to reassure nervous investors. As InvestorPlace contributor Thomas Niel noted back in July:
“[W]hile dip-buyers have been burned buying GCI stock in the past, this may be changing […] [M]anagement is tackling the inflation issue with cost reductions. More importantly, the company has figured out how to further monetize its digital business through affiliate deals.”
Best Media Stocks: New York Times Co ()
We can’t talk about the best media stocks to buy for election season without mentioning The New York Times (NYSE:NYT). This newspaper of record needs no introduction. Indeed, NYT stock comes with the type of brand value that no amount of money can buy — the result of more than a century of top reporting. No matter how much heat it takes from the far-right, The New York Times remains a trusted name that readers around the world turn to every day. The upcoming election is also one that many Americans consider to be of the upmost importance, so demand for trusted high-caliber political reporting is likely to reach new levels.
True, it’s a difficult time for print media. But the NYT has done an excellent job weathering the storm. InvestorPlace contributor Will Ashworth recently offered a breakdown about the paper:
“Its total subscribers were 9.88 million at the end of the second quarter, up from 9.17 million a year ago, with digital-only accounting for 93%. Its average revenue per user (ARPU) was $9.15 during Q2 2023, 11 cents higher than Q1 2023 and 32 cents more than a year ago.”
The New York Times isn’t just surviving. It’s achieving slow, steady growth. This is also illustrated by the fact that shares of NYT stock are up more than 25% year-to-date (YTD). The NYT isn’t going anywhere — and neither are its subscribers.
On Penny Stocks and Low-Volume Stocks: With only the rarest exceptions, InvestorPlace does not publish commentary about companies that have a market cap of less than $100 million or trade less than 100,000 shares each day. That’s because these “penny stocks” are frequently the playground for scam artists and market manipulators. If we ever do publish commentary on a low-volume stock that may be affected by our commentary, we demand that InvestorPlace.com’s writers disclose this fact and warn readers of the risks.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.