This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Tune In TV's Comeback

Editor's Note: Jon D. Markman writes a weekly column for CNBC on MSN Money that is republished here on

The most addictive visual entertainment around these days is not on YouTube, wireless phones, Google Video or in theaters. It is good old-fashioned television, updated and reinvigorated for the late 2000s like no other mass medium on earth.

Hello, artful, compelling and free Lost, 24, Prison Break and The Daily Show. Goodbye, reality-show geeks, video-cam amateurs and overpriced movies. Contrary to dire predictions of its imminent demise, scripted television is not dead yet, or even sleepy, as it enters a new season this week.

Emerging from a do-or-die battle against the exodus of its audience to ad-skipping digital video recorders, iTunes and DVDs, episodic and comedic TV is in fact staging a dramatic comeback to reassert itself as a great moneymaker.

And it's providing a nice pile of loot for corporate parents at broadcasters CBS (CBS), Walt Disney (DIS) and News Corp. (NWS), and cable operators Viacom (VIA), Time Warner (TWX) and Comcast (CMCSA).

In tandem, the shares of most are rebounding after years in the wilderness. The good news for investors is that media stocks still have a long way to go to restore lost credibility and value, so there is still time to sock them away while ratings and earnings results are less attractive than they will be in a year or two.

See It Now

What's changed? A few years ago, inexpensive, easy-to-operate digital recorders such as those from TiVo revolutionized viewing habits. But now television executives have rediscovered their sense of creativity and generated a new round of shows that beg to be watched fresh, not off a hard drive or DVD. The secret has been to create dramas replete with enough real mystery, quirky story lines, edgy acting and buzz that they function more like sporting events than predictable sitcoms. Much as you don't want to time-shift a live NFL playoff game, you wouldn't want to miss an episode of Lost. The idea isn't to create just "must-see TV" but "must see right now TV."

1 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs