There never seems to be a lull in the entertainment industry. Whether we're going out to see a movie or a show, staying in and streaming a trending series, or taking a trip to the local amusement park, people have a primal need for escape, and the companies that cater to it churn out growing numbers of options for us every year. That's great for us as consumers of entertainment. But as investors, we can also benefit by cashing in on the diversions of others.

As we begin 2020, Disney (NYSE:DIS)Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), and Six Flags (NYSE:SIX) are among the entertainment stocks that investors should be seriously considering.

Fireworks over the Magic Kingdom's castle during a Halloween-themed show.

Image source: Disney.


It will be hard for Disney to top its 2019. The media giant released the six highest-grossing films of the year. It launched Disney+, a streaming service that topped 10 million subscribers on its first day. It opened Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attractions at both of its domestic theme parks, its most ambitious expansion effort for them in more than two decades. What will Disney do for an encore in 2020? 

Well, later this month, it will open its flagship Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride in Disneyland; the one at Disney World has been generating rave reviews since it opened in December. Disney+ will have a full year of operation in 2020, and with many of its subscribers locked into multiyear subscriptions, that means it should have something of a captive audience waiting to see how it plans to top the success of The Mandalorian. As long as the global economy plays nicely -- Disney's theme park revenues will always be vulnerable to recessions and economic slowdowns -- the month and year ahead should be strong for the resurgent House of Mouse.


If you feel like you're watching more and more streaming video these days, you're far from the only one. There were 32.3 million homes on the Roku platform by the end of September, 36% more than it was serving a year earlier. Whether you bought a Roku device that plugs into the back of your TV or you just happened to buy one of the growing number of smart TV models that use Roku as their default operating system, there's no denying the platform's popularity. 

Roku users spent a record 10.3 billion hours streaming video through its platform in its last reported quarter. That amounted to a 68% surge over the past year, and averaged out to a whopping 3.47 hours per household per day, so Roku's stickiness is not a matter for debate. The platform is free to use -- instead, the company makes money by selling ads it scatters across the hub, and also gets paid when folks sign up for many of the thousands of apps available on the platform.

Roku was one of last year's hottest stocks. Its shares more than tripled in 2019, so it's no secret that it has become one of the best ways to play the streaming revolution. However, given the likelihood that it will report another blowout performance (thanks in part to the recent launches of big-name new services) when it delivers its fourth-quarter results next month, now is as good a time as any to consider opening a position in Roku. 

Six Flags 

This amusement park operator may not seem as exciting as Roku or Disney, but there are some good reasons to buckle in and enjoy the ride this month. Let's start with the interesting nugget that in seven of the past nine years, its shares have moved higher during the first quarter. Most of its parks may be closed right now, but investors tend to gravitate toward Six Flags ahead of the springtime debuts of its seasonal attractions. 

Next, let's turn our attention to its generous payouts. A chain of roller coaster parks may not seem like fertile fodder for income investors, but Six Flags stock is yielding a hearty 7.5% at the moment. It also boosted its distribution size in November for the ninth year in a row, so this is a stock that deserves strong consideration from dividend investors

Turning to fundamentals, Six Flags' attendance levels rose 4% through the first nine months of 2019. Guest spending dipped 1%, largely due to its traffic mix shifting toward more season pass holders, who don't spend as much per trip as one-time or infrequent visitors. However, that growing base of active pass holders will help Six Flags to serve up steadier results in the future. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.