Weekly Media Stocks Roundup: The Sector Takes a Hit As Earnings Reports Stream In

Shares in media companies fell nearly across the board as the broader market lost serious ground thanks to the SEC investigation of Goldman Sachs and uncertainty over financial reform. The S&P 500 lost 2.6% to end at 1186.68.

Earnings season continued, offering investors additional insight into the health of the media space. Financial Times publisher Pearson (PSO) on Friday announced first-quarter revenue growth of 7%. Shares nevertheless lost 1.2% on the week to end at $15.97.

Shares of The Daily Beast operator IAC/Interactive (IACI) lost 4.6% to close at $22.45. The company on Wednesday announced a first-quarter loss that had narrowed compared with the first quarter of 2009. In a conference call with analysts, CEO Barry Diller said the iPad would play an important role in the company’s future. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), also posted a narrowed first-quarter loss on Wednesday. Shares fell 2.3% to $6.68.

Meredith Corp.
(MDP), which publishes Family Circle and other consumer titles, announced it made a fiscal third-quarter profit that climbed 31% year over year. Shares nevertheless fell 3.2% to $35.93.

Weekly stock results for The New York Times Co., Gannett, Lee Enterprises and more after the jump.

Shares of The New York Times Co. (NYT) got a 15% haircut over the past five days to finish the week at $9.92. The company elected Carolyn Greenspon to its board of directors on Friday. At the beginning of the week, News Corp.’s (NWSA) Wall Street Journal launched its “Greater New York” section, a direct assault on the Times‘ local coverage. NYT chairman Arthur Sulzberger this week discussed the newspaper’s metered model, which is due to debut early in 2011.

Shares of News Corp. dropped 4.3% to $15.43.

USA Today publisher Gannett (GCI). The company expanded the presence of its MomsLikeMe.com site in a collaboration with Bay Area News Group. The company also announced it ranked No. 1 in an Audit Bureau of Circulations study of the reach of U.S. print newspapers. Shares fell 6.9% to close Friday at $18.28.

Midwest newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises (LEE) announced Thursday a plan to develop mobile applications tied to coverage of local sports franchises. Lee shares dropped 12.8% to $3.78.

E. W. Scripps (SSP) was one of the only stocks to finish the week higher. It rose 5.5%, helped by a J.P. Morgan upgrade of the stock. J.P. Morgan analysts voiced approval at the company’s sale of the “Peanuts” comic’s brand and characters.