Media ETF Buoyed by Rising Ad Revenue

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The media industry will face the spotlight this week as major players, including Viacom (VIA.B), DirecTv (DTV), Time Warner (TWX) and Comcast (CMCSA) will be reporting their earnings.

A number of consumer-focused ETF products provide investors with ample coverage of the media industry. For instance, the PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Portfolio ( PEJ) lists companies like CBS ( CBS), Viacom, and Discovery Communications ( DISCA) within its top 10 positions.

Investors looking for pure exposure to the media industry, however, should turn to the PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF ( PBS).

PBS is designed to cast a wide net, exposing investors to the leaders in TV, newspapers, publishing, and radio. This week's media-heavy earnings calendar will have an especially heavy impact on the performance of the product. The fund's top five positions can be found slated release their quarterly earnings numbers and outlooks for the remainder of 2011.

In total this media goliath quintet accounts for over a quarter of the fund's index.

Heading into the earnings flurry, forecasts for the media industry are already looking promising. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that analysts from this sector expect that the companies on tap will report gains, buoyed by strength in the advertising industry. Although fears of an economic slowdown still exist, many feel that this is a trend that will continue as we head further into the second half of the year.

Still, despite this rosy outlook, it is hard to ignore the fact that over the past few weeks, public sentiment towards big media has faced harsh criticism as hacking allegations cast a thick cloud of controversy over Rupert Murdoch's media empire, News Corp ( NWSA).

In the days ahead, New Corp could feel additional pain as more is uncovered regarding the firm's questionable acts. This may, in turn, deter some investors from considering PBS. Any direct impact from New Corp, however, will likely be contained. As I explained in this week's video , PBS is particularly well-positioned to defend against the threat of continued upheaval at this firm. Shares of NWSA account for a less than 5% slice of the fund's index.

Instead, in the days ahead, I feel that earnings will play a far more significant role in directing the fund's performance.

While the earnings results from top media companies will make PBS an exciting fund to watch over the course of second half of this week, it is important to note that investing in this product is not an ideal strategy for everyone.

On the contrary, because it is dedicated to tracking such a small segment of the marketplace, it tends to behave in a volatile manner. Cautious investors, wary of seeing steep rises and falls on a day to day basis may find a more-heavily diversified option more to their liking.

By keeping exposure small and focused, it is possible to mitigate some of the risks inherent of this fund. The media industry could see strength during the next few days. However, any investor trying their luck with PBS will require a strong stomach and plenty of patience.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any equities mentioned.

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